Huli tribesman in Tari (Dreamstime)
List Words : Wanderlust team | 10 April

Join the tribe: 7 extraordinary adventures in Papua New Guinea

Largely untouched by tourism, Papua New Guinea is a truly off-the-beaten-path destination. In this land of colourful festivals, wilderness jungle and exotic birdlife, adventure is guaranteed

1: Take on the Kokoda Track

Rain clouds over the Kokoda Track (Dreamstime)

Rain clouds over the Kokoda Track (Dreamstime)

Tackle one of the most notorious trails in the world on this exhilarating trek along the Kokoda Track with Intrepid.

The trail was the site of one of the bloodiest battles for Australian troops in World War II, and holds a special place in the Australian psyche. It’s a place where dedication, courage and friendship triumphed against the odds – qualities that you’ll need to conquer this demanding trail today. Accompanied by your own personal porter, and a local historian who will bring stories of the trail to life, it’s a trek that confronts your physical and mental limits, but rewards you like no other.

Are you up for the challenge?

Trip: The Kokoda Track

Who: Intrepid

When: Departures Apr-Oct

How long: 11 days

How much: From £2,290 (exc. flights)

2: Meet the tribe

Mask festival in Kokopo (Dreamstime)

Mask festival in Kokopo (Dreamstime)

Get ready for a heady mix of tribal encounters, jungle exploration, and pristine sandy beaches on this small group adventure to Papua New Guinea with Regent Holidays. 

You’ll begin your journey in the Eastern Highlands, immersing yourself in traditional life with colourful 'sing-sings' and a fascinating Asaro Mudmen performance in the Goroka district. You’ll witness an early morning Kinavai ceremony in Tolai and a Baining fire dance at the foot of Mt Tavurvur before finishing in East New Britain Province, where you’ll attend the enthralling Wagwagira Mask Festival. 

Trip: Cultures and Customs of Papua New Guinea

Who: Regent Holidays

When: Departures Jun-Jul

How long: 18 days

How much: From £6,380 (inc. flights)

3: Enjoy the world's best diving

Diving in Papua New Guinea (Dreamstime)

Diving in Papua New Guinea (Dreamstime)

Discover the colourful corals of Kimbe Bay and the pelagic fish action of New Ireland on this dive adventure like no other with Dive Worldwide.

You’ll encounter a huge biodiversity of marine life: Kimbe Bay is home to over half of the world's coral species, and many dive sites boast barrel sponges larger than divers.  

After Kimbe Bay, your diving adventure continues on a private resort island near Kavieng. Here you’ll enjoy exceptional drift dives with sharks, rays and swirling schools of pelagic species, as well as some fascinating wreck dives.

Trip: Dive and Discover PNG

Who: Dive Worldwide

When: Departures Apr-Jun & Sep-Dec

How long: 17 days

How much: From £4,995 (inc. flights)

4: Capture paradise on film

Bird of paradise in flight (Dreamstime)

Bird of paradise in flight (Dreamstime)

Travel deep into Papua New Guinea’s tropical forests with wildlife photography experts, and capture extraordinary images of its magnificent birds of paradise with Wildlife Worldwide.

Millions of years of isolation means that PNG is home to some of the most visually-spectacular and unusual wildlife on earth. The local tribal groups have each created their own expressive forms of art too, with a plethora of colourful dances, costumes, music, architecture and weaponry for you to document as well.

Every step of the way, your photography expert will be on hand to offer advice and help to develop your skills. A breathtaking portfolio of shots is guaranteed.

Trip: Birds of Paradise Photography

Who: Wildlife Worldwide

When: Departures Jun-Jul

How long: 17 days

How much: £8,995 (exc. flights)

5: Get behind the mask

Mask Festival in Toare Village (Dreamstime)

Mask Festival in Toare Village (Dreamstime)

Immerse yourself in Papua New Guinea’s spectacular tribal culture on this colourful journey to the nation’s annual Mask Festival with Intrepid.

The National Mask Festival is a spectacle of song and dance, rhythm and drama, costume and colour – and is a unique opportunity to witness Papua New Guinea’s diverse tribal tapestry. Catch the re-enacted canoe landing that kicks off the Kinavai Ceremony, watch men dance through flames in the astounding Baining fire dance, and – either side of the festival itself – discover the fascinating wartime sites, unique local markets, friendly island villages and volcanic hot springs that many visitors overlook.

Trip: Papua New Guinea's National Mask Festival

Who: Intrepid

When: Departures in Jul

How long: 9 days

How much: From £2,535 (exc. flights)

6: Book your seat at the Goroka show

Mudmen warriors clasp their weapons at Goroka Tribal Festival (Dreamstime)

Mudmen warriors clasp their weapons at Goroka Tribal Festival (Dreamstime)

Roll up, roll up to the Goroka Show – one of the biggest tribal festivals in the world – on this 8-day highlands adventure with Peregrine.

The show is held every year in September and sees over 100 clans gather in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Set to the beat of Kundu drums, thousands of painted, feather-adorned tribespeople come together in a huge 'sing-sing' to perform traditional songs, dances and rituals. Under the guidance of a local leader, you'll spend two full days at the show, as well as several days in the beautiful Asaro Valley, where you'll interact with friendly villagers – including the famous Asaro Mudmen and Simbu tribes. 

Trip: Goroka Show, Papua New Guinea - Limited Edition

Who: Peregrine

When: Departures in Sep

How long: 8 days

How much: £2,330 (exc. flights)

7: Climb Mt Wilhelm

Lake near Mount Wilhelm (Dreamstime)

Lake near Mount Wilhelm (Dreamstime)

Explore Papua New Guinea from top to bottom as you scale mountains and snorkel in azure seas with Regent Holidays.

This tailor-made adventure will take you into traditional villages where you’ll come face-to-face with colourful residents resplendent in local dress, and through lush rainforest in search of PNG's extraordinary birds of paradise. You’ll ascend Mt Wilhelm – the highest mountain in the country – then witness an incredible Asara Mudmen performance and cruise the crystal-clear waters of Madang Harbour. 

Trip: Papua New Guinea with Mt Wilhelm Climb

Who: Regent Holidays

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 14 days

How much: From £6,275 (exc. flights)