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Drifting On A Headwind

By Jim Harlan

Adventures in travel!

Experience the wild adventures of the author as he travels in remote corners of the world. Read more...

Experts in travel to remote corners of the world

PNG: The Highlands Lodging

> South Pacific > Papua New Guinea

Features: The Highland Region consists of long fertile valleys separated by towering mountains with lush vegetation and roaring rivers.

Undiscovered until 1954, the Highlands are home to some of the most fascinating tribal cultures in New Guinea. Among the most unique are the Huli Wigmen with their brightly colored wigs and facial painting and the Mudmen who disguise their identities through bizarre masks made of mud and bamboo. The Highlands are divided into Provinces.

Mount Hagen

Centrally located in the Highlands, Mt. Hagen is the main commercial center of the Highlands region. Mt. Hagen offers most modern amenities and has standard hotels as well as village lodges and guest houses. Mt. Hagen has one of the most active airports in Papua New Guinea and is accessible via daily flights from Port Moresby. Flights to the wilderness lodges of Ambua, Karawari and Malolo Plantation originate from Mt. Hagen. The Mt. Hagen Show, a must see for its vigor, color and power, is held on the third weekend in August. The unique Mudmen can be seen here.

Haus Poroman Lodge

Built in traditional style with modern conveniences, this beautiful lodge is located in a village at an altitude of 6,200 ft. It has comfort, class and style as well as a superb view across the valley to the mountains. Accommodations include rooms with en suite bathrooms and rooms with shared bathrooms. This is an excellent and affordable way to see the Highlands.


This alpine town is home to the Huli Wigmen, famous for their colorful dress, decorative wigs and elaborate ceremonial dances. The main attractions are the people and the surrounding countryside. The clans have an intricate social system largely unchanged by time. This is one of the few places where a tribeÍs traditional way of living can be seen in everyday activities. Men and women still wear traditional dress while they tend their gardens and pigs.

Ambua Lodge

This outstanding lodge, located at 7,000 ft. in the Southern Highlands, is a mixture of local architecture and outstanding views. Guests, who stay in individual luxury bush material bungalows surrounded by gardens, can follow forest paths to nearby waterfalls. There is also an outdoor spa. The lodge has received awards for cultural sensitivity and ecological responsibility.

Kiburu Lodge

Kiburu Lodge is located at an altitude of 5,700 feet on the banks of the Mendi River. Facilities include 12 units with river views, television, telephone and refrigerator. In addition, there are 8 budget rooms with shared bathrooms. The lodge is newly renovated.


Mendi, the capital of the Southern Highlands Province, is surrounded by massive limestone peaks. The headwaters of the Kikori, Erave and Strickland Rivers transverse the Province beneath Mt. Giluwe, the second highest mountain in Papua New Guinea. The best times to visit the town of Mendi are Friday and Saturday when the tribes people come to town. The Mendi River has world class white water rafting. Trips of 2 or 3 days can be arranged but only for experienced rafters – class V rapids and 30 ft. drops.

Bird of Paradise Hotel

The Bird of Paradise Hotel, known for luxury, style and service, is in the center of town and has 52 comfortable deluxe rooms and suites that feature cable television, IDD telephones and refrigerators. The facilities also include two restaurants, a few bars, squash courts, a gym and a pool. This is a good place to get more information about the Eastern Highlands since the staff is very helpful.


Goroka is located in the Eastern Highlands. Once a small outpost station, it has become an attractive town with modern facilities and a relaxed atmosphere. A short distance out of town by four wheel drive is Mt. Gahavisuka Provincial Park which has a botanical sanctuary with many exotic plants, including local orchids and rhododendrons. Fascinating tribes can be seen in this area and a highlight for travelers is the Goroka Show: drums throb, feathers sway, and body paint glistens at this annual mid September event.

The above is an example of Lodging and Activities. Uncommon Adventures specializes in custom itineraries to suit your specific desires and needs as well. Please feel free to consult us to design an adventure of your own.

Uncommon Adventures specializes in unique adventure travel and expeditions to all corners of the world. Our well traveled staff is able to provide you with personal insights to the uncommon destinations on the planet. Life is short! Start your adventure today.

Photography courtesy of Randy Harwood Photography.