This 13 day tour visits a number of the top birding sites on mainland PNG including Varirata National Park on the Sogeri Plateau above Port Moresby, Kumul Lodge in the Highlands and the lowland and hill forest destinations of Kiunga and Tabubil in Western Province.
While we will be concentrating on getting as many species of Birds of Paradise as possible, we will also be looking for other New Guinea specialities particularly the brighter and more colourful parrots, pigeons and kingfishers. There are excellent photographic opportunities at various locations during the tour.
In Port Moresby and Tabubil we use comfortable, western style hotels of a good standard. Kiunga Guest House is a small but comfortable locally run guest house. Kumul Lodge is a comfortable landowner lodge made of local materials and situated in the Highlands of New Guinea near Mt Hagen at an elevation of about 2600m. It can be cold at night at this altitude so warm clothes are advised. At times there are problems with hot water, but the staff really look after you well. There have been some issues with local landowners in recent years and we have to be aware of this. In the past, while it has meant that some areas are out of bounds it has not impacted on the overall success of the visit. Kwatu is a very basic lodge with pit toilets and bush showers. However the excellent birding in the vicinity of the Lodge make it a very worthwhile destination.
Participants need to be in good health and of a reasonable fitness level. Papua New Guinea is a country of steep rainforest clad mountainsides and while we try to keep them at a minimum there can be steep muddy trails to be negotiated somewhere during the trip.
Expect rain at various locations and while the area around Kumul at 2600m will be quite cool and even cold at night around Port Moresby and Kiunga it may be hot and humid.
- 12 nights accommodation
- Meals as itinerary (check PDF itinerary)
- Airport transfers within Papua New Guinea
- Transport including driver and fuel where required
- Site Fees
- Guide services of the tour leader
- Travel insurance and other emergencies
- Visa fees and entry clearing fees
- Flights (Domestic & International)
- Drinks & Snacks
- Items of a personal nature
Day 1 - Arrive Port Moresby
Arrive in Port Moresby. A short tour of the Port Moresby area can be arranged for those who arrive in time to take advantage of it.
Day 2 - Varirata National Park
Full day guided birding at Varirata National Park. Located on the Sogeri Plateau above Port Moresby this is a great birding spot. The Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise have a lek tree here, there are 6+ species of kingfisher including Brown-headed Paradise-Kingfisher and Yellow-billed Kingfisher, plus at least 7 species of dove not to mention Red-cheeked Parrots, Barred Owlet-nightjar and perhaps a Chestnut-backed Jewel-babbler or Painted Quail-Thrush.
Day 3 - Varirata National Park (2) & PAU Ponds
A second morning up at Varirata should prove very rewarding with an afternoon visit to the PAU ponds,where Wandering and Spotted Whistling Ducks, Papuan Frogmouth and Fawn-breasted Bowerbird are amongst the species which can be seen.
Day 4 - Port Moresby to Kiunga
We take the early plane over to Kiunga on the Fly River in Western Province. Located in the midst of a huge area of lowland rainforest this is a great birding destination. Palm Cockatoo, Greater Bird of Paradise, Trumpet Manucode and Obscure Honeyeater are all possibilities here.
Day 5 - Kwatu
Taking a boat up the Fly and Elevala Rivers to Kwatu landowner lodge we enter an area of pristine rainforest. We will be looking for 12-wired Bird of Paradise and King Bird of Paradise, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Common Kingfisher, Little Paradise Kingfisher, Hooded Pitta, Red-bellied Pitta, Blue Jewel-Babbler and the huge Southern Crowned Pigeon. Nightbirds can include the almost unknown Wallace’s Owlet-nightjar, Starry Owlet-nightjar and Marbled Frogmouth.
Day 6 - Kwatu birding
Full day birding the Kwatu area.
Day 7 - Kwatu & Kiunga birding
After spending the early morning birding around the lodge looking for spectacular species such as Southern Crowned Pigeon we will take the boat back down the river where the balance of the afternoon will be spent birding locally.
Day 8 - Drive to Tabubil
With an early morning stop at the Flame Bowerbird lek, travel up the narrow winding road we will head towards the mining town of Tabubil in the foothills of the Star Mountains stopping at various birding sites along the way. Pesquet’s (Vulturine) Parrots can often be seen flying over the road.
Day 9 - Tabubil birding
Full day guided birding in the Tabubil area. Salvadori’s Teal, Greater Melampitta, Magnificent Riflebird, Carola’s Parotia and Obscure Berrypecker are amongst our target birds.
Day 10 - Fly to Mt Hagen
Taking the early flight over to Mt Hagen we will spend the next 3 nights at Kumul Lodge, a photographer’s dream where birds of paradise are amongst the visitors to the feeder. Brown Sicklebill, Ribbon-tailed Astrapia, Archbold’s Bowerbird, Brehm’s Tiger Parrot, Crested Berrypecker, Fan-tailed Berrypecker and Smoky Honeyeater can all be seen in the vicinity of the Lodge.
Day 11 - Kumul area birding (1)
Full day birding the Kumul area. Superb Bird of Paradise and Lesser Bird-of-Paradise likely.
Day 12 - Fly to Tari & transfer to Ambua Lodge
Morning birding the Kumul area, checking a site for the rare Blue Bird of Paradise and another trail for the spectacular King-of-Saxony Bird of Paradise with the afternoon option of a cultural tour to the local village, with birding on the way.
Day 13 - Fly Port Moresby & taken onward flights
Leaving Kumul on the early flight we take fly back to Port Moresby and then transfer across to the international terminal in time for our onward flights to Brisbane.