Mount Hagen to Madang – Private Tour


  • Observe various Bird-of-paradise and many other endemic species
  • Visit highland communities in Goroka
  • Explore ancient caves at Mt Gurupoka
  • Witness Omo Masalai Skeleton dancers in Mindima Village

Step foot into a world few ever experience as we explore the rich history, cultures and wildlife of Papua New Guinea. You are welcomed on our journey by the vibrant people of Papua New Guinea as we are whole-heartedly embraced into traditional village life. With a strong focus on cultural exploration, you will also uncover the incredible birdlife, explore ancient caves and the countries incredible coastline home to masses of fish and coral gardens.

Journey map

Fitness level



Day 1 - Arrive Mount Hagen

Welcome to Papua New Guinea! This morning, you will arrive into Mount Hagen, a bustling commercial centre where wealth from coffee and tea plantations has brought rapid change to traditional lifestyle. If you want to visit the last frontier of Papua New Guinea, this is it. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to Kumul Lodge, one of the best-known landowner ecotourism lodges in Papua New Guinea. Made out of local materials, entirely owned and managed by the local community and employing local guides, you can be sure that your money is helping to support the local community. Your presence here helps to preserve the surrounding forest as a home for some of the most beautiful and unusual birds in the world. Your travels here are working to raise local environmental awareness and in time, hope that our ongoing efforts will lead to the area being declared a National Park. Enjoy an afternoon guided nature walk along the forest orchid for a birding observation walk. This is the only bird lodge in New Guinea where Bird-of-paradise are amongst the regulars at the lodge feeders, offering fantastic photo opportunities. Other regulars at the feeders include Brehm’s Tiger Parrot, Smoky Honeyeater, Belford’s Melidectes and Island Thrush. Chestnut Forest Rail is occasionally seen beneath the feeder while Crested Berrypecker and White-winged Robin are often seen nearby. This evening, watch the bird feeding activity from the lodge grounds before dinner is served. (L,D)

2 nights Kumul Lodge – Deluxe Rooms or similar

Day 2 - Kumul Lodge

Setting off at 8am this morning, enjoy a guided tour of the village nearby which provides a fascinating insight into a unique way of life still following very much a traditional lifestyle. Return to the lodge for lunch. This afternoon is at leisure. Take your time to walk along the many forest trails to see the stunning orchids and birdlife. (B,L,D)

Day 3 - Goroka – Oma Masalai Skeleton Dancers

Departing at 8am, drive through Mount Hagen city towards Mindima Village where you will experience the Omo Masalai Skeleton dancers. Painting their bodies in black and white to look like skeletons, their dance is a dance of death and often has a wolf involved which the skeleton ‘attack’ during their tribal dance. The way the skeletons lurk and creep as part of their performance, will make it seem like they have literally clawed their way out of the ground.

Following this impressive performance, continue onto Goroka. Goroka is the capital of the Eastern Highlands Province. Mountains encircle the town. At 1600m, Goroka enjoys a pleasant year-round climate of warm days and cool nights. More relaxed than other highlands towns, endowed with essential services, Goroka is one of PNG’s more attractive towns.

Goroka’s main cash crop is coffee and you’ll see it growing under the canopies of larger trees in the hills throughout the district. The remainder of the day is yours at leisure. (B,L,D)

2 nights Bird of Paradise Hotel – Premier Rooms or similar

Day 4 - Asaro Valley

This morning, you will depart at 8am to Korekoreto village. Drive out through the fertile Asaro Valley, past coffee plantations and vegetable gardens bursting with sweet potatoes, bananas, taro cassava and sugar cane.

Walk through the village as you start your path to Mt Gurupoka to see the ancient caves. Learn about the mythology associated with these caves whilst taking in incredible views of the valley below.

Return to the village where you will see the Mudmen Warriors perform their eerie war dance and see the Mokomoko warriors dance. Spend time in the village with the local people as they prepare and cook a meal in a traditional earth oven, called a ‘mumu.’ You will have the opportunity to taste their cooking and enjoy a snack with the local villagers. Return to your hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 5 - Goroka to Madang

On the road again today, departing at 8am as you head north towards the coastal town of Madang. The drive is approx. 106km and the road conditions are fairly good. Travel along the Okuk Highway passing through scenic landscapes as you wind your way to Kainantu town. Cross Kassam Pass and descent into Markham Valley. Pass palm plantations at Ramu Gusap as the scenery changes dramatically as you venture from the hinterland to reach the coastline. Enroute, you will have plenty of photo opportunities at Yonki Hydro Dam and Kassam Pass look out. On arrival in Madang at 4.30pm, check into your hotel. (B,L,D)

Overnight Madang Resort International Hotel – Deluxe Rooms or similar

Day 6 - Departure

Following breakfast at your hotel, the morning is at leisure until it is time to transfer to the airport for your onward flight (flight not included). (B)

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What’s included

  • Private transportation
  • 5 nights’ accommodation as per the itinerary
  • 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners
  • English speaking driver/guide
  • All activities per itinerary
  • Entrance fees
  • Sightseeing and permits as per the itinerary
  • International flights
  • Domestic flights unless otherwise mentioned
  • Drinks unless otherwise mentioned
  • Visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips
  • Inoculations
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Anything not mentioned in the itinerary

**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.

* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.

* A minimum of 4 adults is required to guarantee this departure.

A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.


What our adventurers are saying

I’d say that visiting the skeleton village has been one of the best travel experiences of my life so far. Today has been the best day so far – climbed a mountain with most of the people from the village, then watched the mudmen dance in a creek bed, then lunch (fish and veg cooked in bamboo) then warrior dancing!

Sonja Falkiner – Papua New Guinea