Sepik Highlands Odyssey

Travel Idea:

Sepik Highlands Odyssey

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Length of trip:

12 days

Approximate price of this trip per person:

from $ 4195

Best travel dates to go:

May, June, July

Detailed Description of this trip:

The Sepik Highlands Odyssey takes you through Papua New Guinea, allowing enough time in each place to be submersed in the culture and ecology of the area. You will be taken on a cultural journey through a few of Papua New Guinea's 700+ language groups, from the Melpa of the Wahgi Valley, to the Yokoim of the Karawari River, to the Iatmul of the Sepik River, and finally to the colorful and flamboyant Huli of the Tari Basin. Each destination has its own unique ecosystem - you may see the magical superb bird of paradise at Rondon Ridge, the bizarre twelve-wired bird of paradise at Karawari, the mysterious Sepik blue orchid in the Sepik area, or the stunning ribbon-tailed astrapia at Tari. This 12-day trip throughout Papua New Guinea will provide you with an unforgettable experience of this amazing "Land of the Unexpected."

Trip Properties:

Trip Itinerary:

  • Day 1 - Port Moresby

    Port Moresby/Mt. Hagen.
    Commercial Flight

    Upon your arrival in Port Moresby, you will be met by our local staff and transferred to your flight from Port Moresby to Mt. Hagen. Mt. Hagen is in the upper Wahgi Valley - a valley with some of the oldest evidence of agriculture in the world. Perched high on Mt. Kuta is Rondon Ridge, with unbelievable views of the Wahgi Valley.


    Stay overnight at the Rondon Ridge Hotel for the next 3 nights. (D)

  • Day 2 - 3 - Mount Hagen


    Two full days are spent exploring the Mt. Hagen area and Wahgi Valley. The Mt. Hagen area is the home of the Melpa people, a people with a strong culture, who, in the face of modernity, still live largely traditional subsistence lifestyles. In the mountains surrounding the Wahgi Valley lives a stunning array of bird, orchid, and plant life. (2B,2L,2D)

  • Day 4 - Karawari

    Mt. Hagen/Karawari.
    Commercial Flight

    As you fly by charter aircraft from Mt. Hagen to Karawari, the mountains start to give way until vast tracts of dense tropical lowland rainforest cover the landscape for as far as the eye can see.


    From the Karawari airstrip, you will be transferred by riverboat and by four-wheel drive vehicle to Karawari Lodge. Sitting on a ridge above the Karawari River, Karawari Lodge boasts a spectacular view over hundreds of miles of dense tropical jungle. The Karawari Lodge was inspired by local architecture and was built with traditional materials, yet still provides modern comforts. (B,L,D)

  • Day 5 - Karawari


    Wake up to the chattering of lorikeets and eclectus parrots. After breakfast, enjoy touring programs that provide insight into the amazing ecology and culture of the Karawari area. You will be in the middle of Arambak country, where locals pole dugout canoes, the drums throb, the wild birds call, and traditional village lifestyles continue unchanged. (B,L,D)

  • Day 6 - Karawari

    Karawari/Sepik River.
    Private Car Service

    You will be transferred by riverboat to the air-conditioned comfort of the MV Sepik Spirit.

    River or Barge Cruise

    Inspired by the architecture of the "haus tambaran," or spirit house, the MV Sepik Spirit has a truly unique design. With its shallow draught, it allows travel to rarely visited areas of the Sepik River and its tributaries, in total comfort. (B,L,D)

  • Day 7 - 8 - Sepik Plains

    Sepik River Cruise.

    Two full days are spent exploring the many waterways of the Sepik and its tributaries and visiting traditional Sepik Villages. In terms of flow, the Sepik River is one of the largest rivers in the world. Steeped in mystery, the people of the Sepik area have fascinated anthropologists like Margaret Mead since the area was first visited. Part of the mystery and attraction of the Sepik peoples is their amazing carvings, now famous throughout the world.

    River or Barge Cruise

    The MV Sepik Spirit is a floating lodge, and off the vessel, guests can participate in village and culture study, art collection, bird-watching, and canoeing. (2B,2L,2D)

  • Day 9 - Tari

    Sepik River/Tari.
    Commercial Flight

    Fly by charter aircraft to the Ambua airstrip over some of the most rugged and impressive landscapes in the world. The country between Ambua and the Sepik region is an amazing array of jagged limestone that seems to rise and drop at impossible angles.


    Ambua Lodge is high on the slopes of the Tari Valley, which is the home of the Huli Wigmen, a colorful and elaborate people, who are still largely living the same way that their ancestors did. These proud warriors have great reverence for birds, imitating them in ceremonial dances and decorating their wigs with feathers, flowers, and cuscus fur. The wigs are woven from human hair, and everlasting daisies are cultivated for use in the wigs, while their faces are painted with yellow ochre. The women, by contrast, wear black for their weddings and coat themselves with blue-gray clay when mourning. This is one of the few places where the traditional way of life can be seen in everyday living. Men and women can still be seen wearing traditional dress, tending to their gardens and pigs, and building their huts from bush materials.


    The afternoon is spent exploring the area surrounding Ambua, enjoying a landscape of high mountain forests with roaring waterfalls, and meeting the Huli Wigmen.


    Stay overnight at the Ambua Lodge for the next 2 nights. (B,L,D)

  • Day 10 - Tari


    A full day of ecological and culturally-based touring is sure to satiate those yearning for discovery. For the adventurous, there is an opportunity to have a bona fide village experience.


    Enjoy the day exploring the natural wonders of the Tari Valley area, which is home to an incredible 13 species of birds of paradise as well as numerous unique orchid species. (B,L,D)

  • Day 11 - Port Moresby

    Tari/Port Moresby.
    Commercial Flight

    As your odyssey draws to a close, you depart the Ambua airstrip on a flight to Mt. Hagen.

    Private Car Service

    In Mt. Hagen, you are transferred to the Highlander Hotel to enjoy a relaxing lunch by the poolside before you head to the airport for your flight to Port Moresby.


    You will be met in Port Moresby and transferred to the Airways Hotel for your overnight stay. (B,L)

  • Day 12 - Port Moresby

    Port Moresby/Onward.

    You will be transferred to the airport for your onward international flight.

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