The Bismarck Archipelago Tours and New Guinea’s Highlands Tours
Bismarck Archipelago, Solomon Sea, Highlands of New Guinea, Coral Sea and Expectation Strait; names that conjure images of green-crowned islands jumbled in topaz seas, reefs full of improbably colourful fish just metres from the white sand that leads from your door, of huge iridescent butterflies, dazzling kingfishers, and colourful flocks of noisy parrots. It is no illusion of paradise though, for the reality is even better! This tour features one of the world’s pre-eminent dive lodges and two superb small island resorts. A combination of some of the world’s best snorkelling and an exotic and beautiful land-based fauna and flora is our aim.
Marvelling at orchids and Nicobar Pigeons on Restorff Island in the morning, snorkelling with Jewel Damsels and scintillating shoals of Purple Anthias in the afternoon. On another day, photographing spinning Spinner Dolphins in the bay then snorkelling amongst sea fans watching Sunset Wrasse drift amongst many coloured Christmas Tree Worms. Later the same day we can marvel at Melanesian Megapode nests in the steaming soils of luxuriant Garu. New Britain is one of the most volcanically active areas in the world. It would hardly be a surprise should a dinosaur materialise through the steam that rises from forest rivers whose waters are almost too hot to stand in! New Ireland’s gorgeous Lissenung Island lies amid a series of lagoons and islands that seem to go on for ever, their reefs of incredible beauty and diversity. The majority of the world’s coral species are found in these seas, and marine scientists are still only just getting to grips with the fish diversity. For us the first thing that will become apparent is the beauty of the corals, the starfish, the clams, the nudibranchs, the shrimps, and of course, the fish. We’ll see the amazing Mandarinfish, elegant Crocodilian Longtoms, shoals of Bluestreak Fusilier, huge Humphead Wrasse, Anchor Tuskfish, Map Puffer, Giant Sea Cucumber, Smashing Mantis Shrimp, and a dozen species of Butterflyfish. We’ll encounter Melon-headed Whales, some of the largest Birdwing butterflies in the world, and a very long list of endemic and beautiful birds such as Black-headed Paradise Kingfisher, colourful Eastern Black-capped Lory, and the fabulous Blue-eyed Cockatoo.
An extension takes us into the Highlands of New Guinea where we’ll meet the incomparable Birds of Paradise as well as immersing ourselves in the extraordinary cultural diversity of the Highland tribes. Highlights will be Princess Stephanie’s Astrapia, metre-long Black Sicklebills, and both King of Saxony and Raggiana’s Birds of Paradise displaying.
This tour is aimed at snorkellers and those who enjoy above water wildlife too! We’ll be snorkelling daily on some of the World’s finest reefs as well as having daily trips/walks to experience the marvellously rich and exotic land flora and fauna.
Fiona Dunbar, and Local Leaders
Very easy. We rarely cover more than two or three miles during the above water daytrip, and will always move slowly as there’s much to see and there will be plenty of time for photography. Note that the extension includes an optional steep and muddy walk.
Included in the Price
All flights. All accommodation, transport and meals in the Bismarcks and on Papua New Guinea. Services of your leaders. Please note: Drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature such as travel insurance, are not included.
The minimum is 5 and the maximum is 9.
We start with a week in the gorgeous Walindi Plantation Resort in West New Britain. One of the world’s finest dive resorts, the secluded bungalows are set amid fine ‘gardened’ rainforest with abundant colourful birds and butterflies everywhere. On laid-back New Ireland we’ve four nights on Lissenung Island. Traditionally designed bungalows are scattered amongst the palm trees on this tiny paradise. 300 species of fish have so far been recorded from the reef just off the white sand beach ringing the island. Great food too. An extension takes us to the new Rondon Ridge Lodge, perched 7100 feet up in the hills above Mount Hagen in the Highlands of New Guinea. Superb rooms have marvellous views over the valleys below whilst above is montane forest that is only just starting to reveal its secrets! The lodges featured on this tour are all good to excellent in standard, and all rooms have en suite facilities.
UK return flights are direct from Heathrow to Singapore. From Singapore Air Niugini takes us to Port Moresby and then a series of internal flights through the islands before returning via Port Moresby to Singapore at the end. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
During the main tour it is warm to hot, and humid, with some usually short-lived rain on most days. The extension to the highlands is cooler, with more rain.
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will include up-to-date health information. Bird, butterfly and marine fish checklists are available.