Papua New Guinea – Goroka Show and Tribal Lands

Indisputably the most culturally diverse country in the world, Papua New Guinea is a land of stunning mountains, spectacular wildlife and one of the world’s last intact systems of tribes, clans and rituals.

In many remote villages across the country, first contact with the outside world is well within living memory and visiting today is like stepping back in time to witness cultures that defined native peoples for millennia. This expedition takes us first to the Sepik River, the country’s longest, and often referred to as Papua New Guinea’s cultural heart due to the richness and variety of its tribal cultures. We travel by canoe to the East Sepik region to visit villages with ancient beliefs and rituals, and their striking ‘haus tambarans’ (spirit houses). Here we discover local mythologies of wayward spirits and how an animistic culture still holds sway over traditional village lifestyles.

The highlight of this trip will be a real celebration of culture as we join over one hundred tribes in Goroka for a weekend of unique ritual performances, song and dance. We also attend similar – but smaller and more intimate – festivities in Paiya, where we are welcomed by the chief and his wives, all adorning colourful traditional attire.

As well as this, there will be numerous opportunities to watch birds and wildlife – including hopefully birds of paradise, and to see the incredible warrior masks of the mud men.

A ground-breaking trip to one of the world’s last frontiers …

Land of the Crocodile Men


  • Travel along the mighty Sepik River
  • Stay in remote villages
  • Look for birds of paradise
  • Experience cultural dances in Goroka
  • Immerse yourself in local culture

Day 1 - Port Moresby

Arrive in Port Moresby. After checking in at the hotel explore the city including the botanical gardens, fish market and national museum among other sights. Overnight Holiday Inn Express or similar. (BLD)

Day 2 - Wewak

After breakfast transfer for the flight to Wewak. During the afternoon we will explore the town, the capital of the East Sepik region of Papua New Guinea and a gateway to the Sepik River.  During WW2, Wewak was the site of the largest Japanese airbase in Papua New Guinea and was subject to repeated bombings by Australian and American forces. We visit some of these war relics as well as a local market and other sites. Overnight Wewak Boutique Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Days 3-4 - Pagwi - Kanganamun

Transfer to Pagwi to connect with a motorized canoe to Kanganamun. This region is one of the most culturally rich in PNG, and we spend time exploring local villages and settlements, learning about the daily lives of the villages, visiting the haus tamabaran (spirit houses) and seeing some of the more unique aspects of traditional culture, in one of the most remote parts of our planet. Overnight Kanganamun village guesthouse. (BLD)

Please note the accommodation in the village is very basic.

The Sepik region

The Sepik region is an area of steamy jungles, languid rivers and colourful people, dominated by the mighty Sepik River, Papua New Guinea’s longest waterway. Most of the region is inaccessible apart from by long boat journeys or small aircraft – there are no major towns here and life continues much as it has for millennia. Villages made entirely from local materials are built alongside the banks of the various rivers, their inhabitants living on a diet that consists largely of sago from the sago palm – a useful if rather monotonous staple.

This is one of the least explored regions of Papua New Guinea – indeed it is possible that there are still groups here which have had no contact with the western world. The Sepik played a large part in the research of the famous anthropologist Margaret Mead, who spent two years in the region studying the local people back in the 1930s. Traditionally life in the region was centred on the haus tambaran – a spirit house adorned with carvings of the gods to which the men of the village went to communicate with spirits. Sadly most of these were destroyed during the Second World War by bombing raids, but the Sepik is still renowned for the quality of its wood carvings – collectors of ethnic art will be astounded at the quality and variety of wooden masks and statues.

Day 5 - Wewak

We can explore the village further before we travel back to Pagwi and to our transfer vehicle for our journey back to Sepik. Overnight Wewak Boutique Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 6 - Mount Hagen

After breakfast we fly to Mount Hagen via Port Moresby.  Overnight Traveller’s Hut or similar. (BLD)

Mount Hagen

The town of Mount Hagen is in the upper Wahgi Valley – a valley with some of the oldest evidence of agriculture in the world. The Mount Hagen area is the home of the Melpa people, a people with a strong culture, who in the face of modernity still live largely traditional subsistence lifestyles. In the mountains surrounding the Wahgi Valley live a stunning array of bird, orchid and plant life.

Day 7 - Paiya

Drive to Paiya where we experience the Paiya Show – a cultural event celebrating the customs and traditions of a variety of ethnic groups throughout Papua New Guinea.  Much smaller than the Goroka Show, this does not attract the same number of visitors and has a rather more intimate feel. We are welcomed by the chief and his wives, all in traditional attire and adornments. Here we experience customary ceremonies and rituals performed by the local people. This is an immensely colourful experience rich in tradition and there will be plenty of opportunity for photography. During the afternoon we head to Kumul Lodge. The surrounding forest is home to some of the most beautiful and unusual birds in the world. Overnight Traveller’s Hut or similar. (BLD)

Day 8 - Mindima Village – Goroka

We have an early start, visiting Mount Hagen market before heading to Goroka, stopping at Mindima village on the way to see some of the customs of the region. Overnight Goroka Lodge or similar. (BLD)

Day 9 - Goroka Show

Experience the extraordinary Goroka Show – one of the most significant cultural events in Papua New Guinea, where over 100 tribes get together for a weekend of song, dance and ritual performances showcasing their community’s unique traditions. You will have an opportunity to mingle with the performers and learn about their culture before the event. Later we visit the Kamiliki village where we can enjoy more cultural dances and performances. Overnight Goroka Lodge or similar. (BLD)

The Goroka Show
This extraordinary annual festival is one of rich cultural diversity and showcases the unique music, dancing and rituals of more than a hundred of Papua New Guinea’s indigenous tribes.  One of the largest tribal gatherings in the world, the show was originally an attempt by missionaries in the 1950’s to curb tribal fighting by bringing their different cultures together to showcase each of their distinctive and colourful rituals.

The festival has evolved into the most flamboyant exhibition of dance and music, drawing tribes from across the land.  Taking place in September to coincide with the country’s independence, here you can watch thousands of painted and feather adorned tribesmen perform in one of Papua New Guinea’s most celebrated singsings. The Goroka show brings the eastern highlands alive and is a visual feast for travellers and photographers alike wanting to bear witness to what is often touted as ‘the most colourful show on earth’.

Day 10 - Goroka

This morning we continue to enjoy the Goroka Show festivities before driving to Asaro village, famous for its mud men, where we will witness a performance and see how their impressive warrior masks are made. Overnight Goroka Lodge or similar. (BLD)

Day 11 - Port Moresby

After breakfast we will head back to Port Moresby.  During the afternoon we will tour the capital again, this time the Sogeri Road area. This area is home to the Varirata National Park and has some spectacular scenery. The park is rich with a variety of ecosystems, plants and animals. In particular, it houses an abundant bird life.  We can hope to see different Orchid species and the spectacular Reggiana Bird of Paradise. Overnight Holiday Inn Express or similar. (BLD)

Day 12 - Port Moresby

Transfer to the airport for our departure flight. (B)




Please note: All journeys to the Sepik River depend upon the level of the water during the time of the visit. The water level may impact the speed at which we can travel and which villages we can visit. While it is our intent to visit all of the villages listed above, participants on this expedition must specifically understand that changes to the itinerary may arise.

This is a pioneering trip in a very remote region with little to no infrastructure – you must be prepared to accept the challenges that this can bring, from simple accommodation and extremely limited bathroom / washing facilities, to ‘alternative’ ideas of customer service. We will do our best to iron out any issues that may arise, but it’s essential to bear in mind where you are travelling to.

Please also note that after booking the trip and paying your initial deposit, we may also need to contact you for an enhanced deposit, to ensure that we can book internal flight tickets as soon as they become available. Internal flights are integral to trips in this part of the world and with often limited availability, it’s important we book the flights as soon as tickets are released.

This trip can be combined with our West Papua tour for a comprehensive journey through the region. See full details of our West Papua trip here.


Traditional dance in Papua New Guinea

What's included?

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation as listed in the dossier.

    Please note: the single supplement does not apply to nights spent in villages where accommodation is simple and may be multi-share.

  • Guides

    You will be accompanied by English-speaking guides.

  • Meals

    As listed within the itinerary / dossier (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner). These will vary from trip to trip – in some areas it makes sense to include all meals while in others there is a good choice of restaurants and we feel people might like to ‘do their own thing’ now and again.

  • Entrance fees

    Entrance fees are listed for those sites that we mention within the itinerary. If there are any other sites that you’d like to see, these would be at your own expense.

  • Domestic flights

    From Port Moresby to Wewak, Wewak to Mount Hagen, and Goroka to Port Moresby

What's not included?

  • Visas

    We don’t arrange visas for our travellers, but if an invitation letter is necessary then we will arrange this for you. If you need any advice with visas then just give us a call, or alternatively a visa agency such as Travcour ( can assist.

  • International flights

     Many of our travellers arrive from different destinations and so we don’t include international flights in the cost of our tours. If however you would like us to book flights for you, then just give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.

  • Travel Insurance

    If you need any assistance with this, then let us know – although we can’t arrange it ourselves we can point you in the direction of a reputable provider that can assist.


All nationalities will be required to obtain a visa in advance to enter Papua New Guinea. Visas can be obtained online here:

Your passport should also be valid for a minimum period of six months, from date of exit from PNG. We also strongly recommend that your passport has a minimum of two blank pages next to each other – on rare occasion it may lead to problems with visas and immigration authorities if it does not.

Visa regulations can change however and so we recommend that you contact your nearest embassy for the most up to date information.

Health and vaccinations

We are not medically qualified and so we recommend that you speak to your doctor or nearest health professional for advice concerning recommended vaccinations. For more advice on vaccinations you can also visit


It is a condition of joining our tours that you have suitable travel insurance in place, and we cannot accept travellers without insurance. All policies differ in terms of what they will cover, but as a minimum you need medical and health cover which will cover you for the whole time that you are away. Most policies will also include cancellation cover, which will cover you if an unforeseen circumstance obliges you to cancel your trip. We recommend that you obtain your insurance as soon as you book your trip.

Please note that government travel warnings often affect the validity of your travel insurance, and you should check this with your insurance company.


The unit of currency is the kina, which is not readily available outside PNG. You can take UK £, US dollars or Euros for exchange purposes.

Outside of large cities (and specifically, top end hotels and restaurants in those cities) credit cards are useless. There are ATMs in cities but you should not count on them always working.

Local conditions

When travelling to some of the destinations we offer you need to bear in mind that things won’t always work here as we’re used to them working at home. Travelling in underdeveloped and untouristed destinations requires both patience and a sense of humour. There may be problems with infrastructure, attitudes may be different, and maintenance may not be as high a standard as we would always like, but this is very much part and parcel of travelling in such a place. We aim to resolve any issues as quickly as possible, and thank you for your patience.

Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s most remote destinations and outside of major towns and cities the infrastructure is rudimentary. Outside of Wewak we will be staying in simple guesthouses and family homes, on a multi-share basis with simple washing and bathroom facilities.

You need to be prepared for some long boat journeys, and these will be in fairly simple, but adequate boats – they are not designed for western tourists but are working river boats.

This trip should be looked upon as an expedition rather than a conventional trip, and if you have any doubts about your ability to take part then please get in touch.

Travel advice

We keep a very close eye on the travel advice issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office so that we can keep you up to date with any warnings. At the moment, the FCO doesn’t advise against travel to any parts of Papua New Guinea that we visit on this trip.

This relates to advice from the British government – other nationalities need to check the stance of their own governments.

Please note that the information contained above is highly susceptible to change, and while we endeavour to keep up to date we recommend that you use this as a guide only. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Updated July 2023

Traditional dance in Papua New Guinea
Price (PP) Exc. Flights
Single Supplement
Trip Status
Date -
06 September 2024
Price (PP) -
Single Supplement -
Trip Status -
Date -
05 September 2025
Price (PP) -
Single Supplement -
Trip Status -