Papua New Guinea Firedance Festival
Travel deep into Papua New Guinea to experience local cultures, natural splendour and island life on a nine-day adventure culminating in the spectacular Baining Firedance Festival. Watch as local villagers invite you into their communities and perform a traditional dance around the fire – a culturally rich and awesome sight to see. Along with this festival, discover the wild beauty of the Duke of York Islands, learn of the fascinating military history of East New Britain, encounter resident spinner dolphins, and let local island life delight your senses. For those interested in a South Pacific adventure which is definitely one-of-a-kind, let Papua New Guinea’s islands capture your imagination.
Ages: 15 - 99
Theme: Festivals and Events
Accommodation: Hotel (6 nights), Multishare Homestay (2 nights)
Welcome to Rabaul and Papua New Guinea – a land of dense jungle, bright coral reefs and wartime secrets. There aren’t any activities planned for today until an important welcome meeting at 6.30 pm where you’ll meet your group leader and fellow travellers. For those arriving today, you’ll be met at Tokua (Rabaul) Airport for an included transfer to your accommodation. If you do happen to arrive early, good for you! Why not get out and about and soak up the chilled-out vibe of New Britain. Wherever you are, you’ll be sure to see the dominating Tarvurvur Volcano looming in the distance.
This morning, head into the highlands of the Gazelle Peninsula. It’s here that the Firedance Festival takes place, and tonight you’ll enjoy the first of your homestays. You’ll be welcomed to Vunga village with a traditional Melanesian welcome ceremony – a common practice to show the village residents that your group is welcomed. Afterwards, enjoy a traditional mumu lunch – where root vegetables are wrapped in leaves and cooked under hot stone. Settle into the local feel of the village, and then later in the evening, this is where all the festivities start. The traditional fire dancing ceremonies are a cultural spectacle for locals and visitors alike, and your expert local guides will be able to explain to you the historical importance of the dance, as well as the costumes and elements of the performance. As it goes on into the night, villagers add bundles of firewood to the bonfire and the fire-dancers will perform until their feet put out the last flames. Enjoy a barbecue dinner as you cherish this cultural moment.
This morning, make your way to the village food hut where a fresh continental breakfast with organic fruits and brewed coffee awaits. Afterwards, the festivities continue with a number of masked performances, as well as a closing party during which the village will farewell their guests. After saying goodbye, you’ll make your way back to the group’s hotel and settle in for lunch. The afternoon is free for you to relax and share photos with your group of last night’s performances.
The neighbouring islands all have their own personality, customs and cultures, and today you’ll cruise around a few to explore and experience the ‘real’ Papua New Guinea. Your destination today is Duke of York Island, but on the way, be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife too, as dolphins and even dugongs are known to play in these crystal-clear waters of the Pacific. A local village will host you while you visit Duke of York and there’ll be opportunities to learn about traditional weaving, cooking and fishing. Head on a tour of the island with your group leader, and then have plenty of time to relax into island time. All that you’ve got to worry about this afternoon is sitting back and enjoying the warm hospitality and magical singing voices of the Duke of York islanders at your overnight homestay.
Island life is at its most peaceful in the morning, so take an opportunity wake up early and explore the sights and sounds at dawn. You could also go for a stroll through the village and chat further with the villagers who are so kindly hosting the group. After breakfast, your leader will brief you on what to expect for the rest of the day. Today, you’ll have the chance to check out some of the most vibrant reefs and azure waters in all of Papua New Guinea. Your leaders will decide on an appropriate reef for snorkelling, depending on the day’s weather conditions, and work with the boat’s skipper to determine when will be best to depart the island. Afterwards, and on returning to Rabaul, check into the hotel and enjoy a free afternoon to relax after an active day.
Set off on a historical tour of Rabaul town with your group. There’ll be some walking on uneven surfaces, so pack some good walking shoes. For lunch, you’ll visit a village called Baai Village, where you’ll be treated to a mini cultural show performed by six of the region’s tribes. Today’s tour will include stops at military sites including Yamamoto’s bunker, the Japanese submarine base and the Japanese tunnels, as well as the Rabaul markets and the New Guinea Club, where you’ll gain some insight into life in Rabaul before PNG’s independence and the 1994 devastating volcanic eruption.
After breakfast, transfer to Matupit – a connected island that’s home to 200-300 people. It lies directly across the bay from the Tavurvur Volcano, which destroyed the town of Rabaul in 1994, but the island itself miraculously remained almost untouched. Meet some of the islanders and visit the church and the craft market. Here you’ll have an opportunity to do some shopping and contribute to the small community, and perhaps even join in on making some traditional handicrafts. Get a feel for how the islanders live their lives, and learn about what megapode eggs are! Enjoy a traditional lunch by the beach cooked by some of the locals and spend some time exploring the lava landscape before returning to the village for the evening.
Rise and shine early for a memorable expedition out to swim with the East New Britain’s resident spinner dolphins. Spend around an hour watching the dolphins’ acrobatic displays then head back for breakfast and to prepare for the day. Be sure to wear your walking shoes as you visit the Bitapaka War Cemetery – where soldiers from World War I and II have been laid to rest, as well as the island’s markets and the Blue Lagoon. Dinner this evening is at the Ralum Country Club in Kokopo – a ideal place to celebrate your time in Papua New Guinea reminiscing with your travel pals.
With no activities planned for today, you are free to depart at any time after breakfast, provided you comply with the hotel’s internal check-out policies. Please note that a transfer to Tokua (Rabaul) Airport is included.
Gazelle International Hotel
Makau Esplanade, Kokopo
New Britain Island
East New Britain
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Gazelle International Hotel
Makau Esplanade, Kokopo
New Britain Island
East New Britain
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
1. An arrival & departure transfer is included on this trip. Please provide us with your flight arrival & departure time for Goroka (GKA) no later than 7 days before your trip commences. If we do not receive this information we will not be able to meet you at the airport. Late night arrivals in particular will be difficult and daunting to make your way to our starting point on your own.
2. No single supplement is available for this trip
All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we make no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
From 31st March 2016, tourist visas are available for Australian, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, Canadian and many European passport holders on arrival at Jacksons International Airport (Port Moresby) for stays of up to 30 days and at no charge. Other nationalities will need to apply to their nearest High Commission to obtain their visa in advance.
Why we love it
As a small group, be welcomed into a local village and watch as traditional Baining dancers circle a growing fire and perform dancing rituals – a insight into one of Papua New Guinea’s indigenous cultures.
Spend time before and after the performance learning more about these traditional customs, sharing meals, stories and laughs with local community members.
Jump straight into island life of the Duke of York Islands, marvelling at an active volcano, tucking into a beachside barbecue and experiencing a traditional sing-along with the villagers.
Discover how the World Wars played out in the Pacific, by visiting the War Museum in Rabaul and heading underground for a tour of the Japanese tunnels in Kokopo.
Head with your expert local leader to Matupit – an ‘island’ dwarfed in the shadow of Tavurvur Volcano looming overhead – to visit the local community, their markets and streets.
Is this trip right for you
With very limited departures per year, this is a niche trip. It's perfect for those interested in tribal cultures, war history, village life or volcanic landscapes – or who simply love to take the path less travelled.
The joining point for this trip, Rabaul, is easily accessed with a flight from the capital, Port Moresby, on either Air Niugini or PNG Air (approximately 2 hours). From here, Port Moresby offers onward international connections to Australia and parts of Asia. As Papua New Guinea is small, there are limited flights in and out each day and prices can fluctuate quite dramatically, so it is recommended to book your flights as far in advance as possible to ensure the best connection. Please speak to your booking agent for more information.
There are lots of water-based activities, so being comfortable on a boat is essential.
This trip has some communal accommodation with shared bathroom and toilet facilities.
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please consult your doctor or a travel health specialist. The choice of vaccinations can depend on a range of issues including the specific destination, the duration of the trip, your personal health and of course what vaccines you have had before.
Routine Background Vaccines: We strongly endorse current public health recommendations that all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine vaccines such as tetanus, diphtheria, measles/mumps/rubella, polio and influenza, and paediatric vaccinations for children. Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please consult your doctor or a travel health specialist. The choice of vaccinations can depend on a range of issues including the specific destination, the duration of the trip, your personal health and of course what vaccines you have had before.
Travel Vaccinations: While the food and water-borne diseases such as hepatitis A and typhoid will apply to most of our travellers, other travel vaccines such as hepatitis B, rabies, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis and cholera may apply to select travellers, especially long-term travel. Travel health experts can advise on what is required and also what is not required!
It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for the countries you are visiting – or any which may be required by your home country upon your return. To find out the latest information on which vaccinations are mandatory or recommended for your destination contact your local doctor, immunisation centre or medical centre for up-to-date information. If you need to arrange vaccinations or a supply of preventative medicine (e.g. malaria tablets), you should contact your doctor at least two months before you depart. Some inoculations require more than one visit and can take several weeks to administer the full course.
For travellers from Australia and New Zealand, we strongly recommend Travel Doctor-TMVC clinics to obtain the most up-to-date advice on health risks and vaccinations (see http://www.traveldoctor.com.au for locations and detailed vaccine information or phone 1300 658 844 for an appointment in Australia). Some vaccines require more than one dose, so arrange for your visit at least 4-6 weeks before you travel. Travellers living outside Australia and New Zealand will need to consult a similar organisation in their own country (please ask your travel agent for recommendations), but can still access the following link for information:
Carry Your Certificate
You should be issued with an International Certificate of Vaccination booklet that records each vaccination. Always carry this with you on your travels; it could provide essential information for doctors in the event that you fall ill whilst travelling.
Malaria: There is no vaccination against malaria, which is transmitted by mosquito bites and is a risk in the tropical areas. Protection against mosquito bites is essential and where the risk is considered high, anti-malarial medications are recommended. Anti-malarial medications should be discussed with experts as there are different medications available and not all medications suit all people or all destinations. We prefer that trekkers to altitude try to avoid the use of mefloquine (Lariam) if possible.
AFTER YOU RETURN:
Many tropical insect- and water-borne diseases including malaria, dengue fever and typhoid fever have an incubation period of from 3 days up to a couple of months after infection. If you become unwell after the trip, especially if your illness is accompanied by a fever, it is important to see a doctor and inform them about your recent travel to Papua New Guinea.
When it comes to money matters on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need.
Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document).
The US dollar and Australian dollar are also major currencies and easily changeable. We advise not trying to exchange funds into kina outside of PNG as the rates will be very poor.
The best advice is to carry AU$ cash. This, along with major foreign currencies, can be changed in banks throughout the country, especially in Port Moresby. There are ATMs and exchange points in Port Moresby, Kokopo and Rabaul.
Please note that costs in PNG are surprisingly high as many goods must be imported from Australia. You should budget A$60-$100 per day per person for meals and expenses at our hotels in Port Moresby and East New Britain.
Although the culture of tipping may not be part of your own culture, it is nonetheless part of the culture in many areas of the world and it is often the way some people supplement their earnings.
If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest AUD 2-4 per person per day for local guides.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline AUD 4-5 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.
Climate and seasonal
September sees generally cooler, drier weather. Daytime maximum temperatures average around 27°C (81°F), whilst at night 13°C (54°F) is normal.
A couple of rules
Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.
Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.
The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.
By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.
If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.
Issues on your trip:
While we always endeavour to provide you the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader/specialist guide or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognize that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader/guide to speak to their direct manager.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP:
While we always endeavor to provide you the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader/specialist guide or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader/guide to speak to their direct manager.
For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us
In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.
Intrepid’s Local Operator: +675 73885036; +675 7100 9934
Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.
Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:
Responsible travel is important to Peregrine. Maintaining our integrity and upholding principles of sustainable development are core to our travel ethos.
Our values are ingrained in the culture of our business and in the design of our trips. We respect the people, cultures and local environments that we encounter while travelling and encourage the spread of good will and cross-cultural sharing. We are committed to making a positive contribution wherever possible. Read more about responsible travel with Peregrine here:
We recommend that women wear 3/4 or full length pants as well as t-shirts that cover your shoulders. You won't see local women in western-style swimwear other than at resorts so we recommend taking a t-shirt and sarong to wear over the top when you are out of the water.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.
Hotel (6 nights),Multishare Homestay (2 nights)