The Milne Bay Canoe and Drum Festival is a celebration of Milne Bay’s traditional reliance on native canoes and drums for transportation and communication between the islands. Participants from other provinces also bring their canoes and drums to join in the canoe races, drumming contests, and sing-sing performances. Participating canoes range from tiny one-man dugouts through outrigger sailing canoes to huge war canoes from Balimo in the Western Province. This festival is the only place outside Balimo where you can behold the spectacle of 30 black-skinned Balimo men paddling a 40 foot war canoe with all their might. Participating drums range from kundu hand-drums with lizard or snake skin stretched across the opening of a hollowed log to form a tympanic membrane, through to giant slit-gong log drums made from hollowed out tree trunks and beaten with mallets to produce low frequency thuds that can be heard many miles away even from island to island. Alotau is a small town where it is safe to wander among the crowds observing the festival activities without fear of harassment or pickpockets. There will be many stalls at the festival venue selling local food, handicrafts and even older artefacts that villagers bring for sale once a year at the festival. From Alotau the tour group moves on to the Trobriand Islands, touring the main island Kiriwina and spending a whole day on tiny Munuwata Island, a sand bar lost in time where the 200 villagers spend their days fishing and tending their yam gardens.
At Mt Hagen the itinerary includes cultural and nature tours featuring the Paiya village skull house, the Magic Mountain moss forest and orchid gardens, and a highlands sing-sing. From Mt Hagen there is a direct flight to Wewak and three nights on the mystical Sepik River staying in bamboo huts among the river people.
NB This is a “wet foot” tour that involves climbing in and out of small boats, some walking in sand and mud, and a few nights in basic huts without electricity. Some physical agility is required. Also note this is a unique small group tour program. The tour price includes a tour development levy to recover our outlays on designing, reconnoitring, organising and monitoring the tour, and a share of the tour escort’s travel costs.
$11,575 per person, twin share. International air and single supplements for hotel accommodation are additional.
Prices are quoted in AUD, valid for 2017 BUT are subject to change without notice due to currency variations and increases in taxes. They cannot be guaranteed until paid in full. A $300 per person, non refundable deposit is due at the time of booking with the balance due no later that 90 days prior to departure. Bookings made within 90 days must be paid in full. See attached flyer for all trip notes. Our full terms and conditions can be viewed here.