Papua New Guinea: Featuring the Kenu & Kundu Festival

Starting From

$6,495/person

Number of days

11

Start Location

Brisbane, Australia

End Location

Brisbane, Australia

Operated by

MT Sobek

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Experience the energy of Papua New Guinea on this spectacular 11-day trip that includes the vibrant Kenu and Kundu Festival — one of the country's top cultural highlights! Once a year in November over 40 tribes paddle from their remote island homes to Alotau, where they gather to celebrate the region's drums and canoes. Hear the traditional beats of PNG as you witness canoe races, sing-sings, ritual exchanges, and vivid performances that combine ritual and revelry. This special departure also explores tropical Tufi and the scenic Western Highlands — home to the famous Asaro Mudmen.

Operated by:

MT Sobek

MT Sobek, the originators, innovators and leaders in adventure travel for more than five decades, crafts journeys to the world's most memorable places.

Itinerary

Arrive in Papua New Guinea


Meet your guide at Brisbane Airport for an early morning flight to Port Moresby. From here, catch your transfer flight to Oro Province and Tufi. Often described as "Scandinavia of the Tropics," you'll be amazed by Tufi's soaring tropical fjords as you settle in at Tufi Resort. Gather for a cocktail and a full briefing, then savor a welcome dinner surrounded by masks, sculptures, and carvings depicting village life in Papua New Guinea.

Explore the Wonders of Tufi

Over the next two days, cruise the stunning fjords and enjoy opportunities for kayaking, snorkeling and swimming in the Coral Triangle — known as the "Amazon of the Seas" for its incredible bio-diversity. Savor beach BBQs and the freshest seafood and tropical fruits, which grow in abundance in this paradise.

Cultural Encounters in Tufi

Go deep into Tufi's fjords, where you will be met by traditional warriors in outrigger canoes and taken to visit ancestral villages. See amazing wood-carving traditions and learn how the villagers survive living off the land and sea. There is also an opportunity to head out to McLaren Harbour Village and follow locals through their sacred spirit-filled land.

Fly to the Western Highlands

After breakfast, take a flight to the Western Highlands and check in at the Highlander Hotel, our base for exploring the scenic landscape over the next two days. This afternoon either relax by the pool at the hotel or take an optional visit to the local market. The market is the main place where all the locals in colorful traditional attire go to shop and trade.

Explore the Western Highlands

Step back in time as you unravel the mysteries of the Western Highlands, from Mount Hagen to remote highland villages. Encounter the Asaro Mudmen known for their eerie clay masks, hear tales of black magic from real witchdoctors, dine on muu muu feasts cooked in underground oven pits, and learn about traditional tool making. Be amazed by Papua New Guinea's history and traditions.

Birds of Paradise in the Western Highlands

See birds of paradise in the wild and marvel at the amazing color of the abundant birdlife. Also visit the bustling Mount Hagen Markets and taste an amazing array of produce grown in this tropical paradise.

Journey to Port Moresby

Fly back to Port Moresby and transfer to the Gateway Hotel, our base for exploring the city. First, take a guided walk in Port Moresby Nature Park, the nation's leading botanical and native zoological park and garden, and then explore the National Museum & Art Gallery — showcasing the history and national heritage of New Guinea. Visit PNG's Parliament House, built in the distinctive Sepik-style, and learn about Melanesian politics.

Kenu & Kundu Festival Experience in Alotau

Head to Milne Bay's Annual Kenu and Kundu Festival. Fast becoming a highlight for locals across the country, this is a top pick of the calendar in Papua New Guinea! Tribes from the region's 600-plus islands descend on the provincial capital of Alotau for canoe races, sing-sings, ritual exchanges and performances — all to the sounds of traditional drums (kundu) and conch shell horns. Observe and explore this authentic experience, and become immersed in the festivities!

Kenu & Kundu Festival Experience Continued

The festival attracts Kula trading canoes from the Trobriand Islands, Sailua sailing canoes from as far afield as the Louisiade Archipelago, and Lopo war canoes from Milne Bay. Some crews paddle days or weeks to reach the festival and we'll have front row seats for traditional and contemporary performances that continue long into the night. Enjoy all the food, color and energy of a big celebration!

Final Day of Kenu & Kundu Festival

The final day opens with morning Worship and then right into the last of the festivities, with the dramatic canoe races, and more traditional dancing and singing.

There will be opportunities after the races for guests to have a ride on the canoes around the bay. Or take a breather by wandering through the local market stalls where arts & craft are on display. Get your face painted, listen to local legend story-telling, and watch and learn how to weave palm fronds into exquisite mats, fans and baskets. Finally the festival winds down one last time with song and dance, music and a spectacular firework show to bring to an end to the National Kenu & Kundu Festival.

Depart from Brisbane

Enjoy a farewell breakfast before flying to the airport in Port Moresby, where you will catch your connecting flights to Brisbane, Australia.

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