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Papua New Guinea - Goroka Festival: September 7-22, 2017



Papua New Guinea is a land on edge, and in many areas still a land forgotten in time. Ancient rituals, such as strict tribal practices, even cannibalism, still reside in remote areas. This, along with the untouched beauty of their land and natural wildlife, present an unmatched opportunity to experience and photograph these rich cultural practices that will soon become history.  

During this trip, we will travel to and around Port Moresby, Sepik, Mt. Hagen and Milne Bay (Alotau) and the Kanaganamum village.  Tour leader Karl has ensured that participants will have the opportunity to be truly personal with many tribes as they prepare and perform up-close dances and demonstrate their way of life.

We will also journey through the Sepik River region to experience the dynamic environment of Papua New Guinea and additional cultural festivals. The tribes of the Sepik River provide stark differences in tribal life from those in the mountain region of Mt. Hagen. 

During our journey, we will also have time to stop and explore the diverse bird life of Papua New Guinea that is as unique as the cultures, and view the splendid, rugged landscape that is still difficult to navigate. Considered one of the top bird-watching destinations globally, these birds, and other wildlife, cannot be found any other place in the world, such as the famous Bird of Paradise. 

Go back in time. Experience cultural diversity, wildlife and beauty available no other place in the world. Join us as we take on one of the truly finest adventures on Earth.

NOTE: On two nights of this trip, accommodations will be much like camping - we'll be sleeping on the floor and there will be no electricity or running water and any bathing would be with a bucket.

Papua New Guinea - Goroka Festival Papua New Guinea - Goroka Festival
Day 1:
(Sep 7)

Participants are met at the Port Moresby airport on arrival and transferred to the hotel. Lunch/Dinner will be provided. There will be a group get-together in the evening. Overnight in Port Moresby.

Day 2:

After breakfast, the group will be off to the airport for a flight to Wewak, gateway to the Sepik river region. You’ll be met on arrival by local guide and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, you'll tour Wewak town, where you will be greeted with a welcome dance, then continue to see war relics, old church buildings, settlements, local market. Overnight in Wewak.

Day 3:

After an early breakfast, we’ll begin our photographic adventure in earnest as we travel to the diverse and fascinating Sepik River region. The Sepik River is the largest river in Papua New Guinea and heavily depended on for transportation, water and food. We’ll transfer to the village of Pagwi, (3-4 hours’ drive), where we'll connect with a motorized canoe to Kanganamun. We’ll be met on arrival and check into village guesthouse. Afternoon tour of Kanganamun village - making sago, weaving, making carvings and other art displays. This will be the first of two nights we’ll have the opportunity to experience village living. Overnight in Kanganamum village.

Day 4:

Breakfast, then prepare for the mini festival organized by the local people. The locals perform traditional dances for the group. There will be time to take photos and mingle with the people to learn about their cultures. Take time also to visit Spirit house and its spiritual displays, gods believed to be living spirits that had been worshiped for many years. Overnight in Kanganamum village.

Day 5:

Continue with village study and cultural activities as you travel upstream, back to Pagwi, and onward to a waiting vehicle back to Sepik. Overnight in Wewak.

Day 6:

Morning Breakfast, then transfer to Mt. Hagen via Port Moresby. Meet on arrival and transfer to the hotel. Afternoon, if time permits, tour Mt. Hagen market and coffee processing plant, then back to hotel. Overnight in Mt. Hagen.

Day 7:

We’ll have a full day at Paiya village on a private photoshoot with various groups including, Tari Huli Wigmen, Mud Men and Skeleton men. Overnight in Mt. Hagen.

Day 8:

Early breakfast, then transfer to Paiya village for Paiya mini show. Welcome by the chief and his five wives in traditional attire, exposing some of the rich body ornaments. Continue with Paiya mini show involving different dancing groups. Performers in traditional clothing with plumes of Bird of Paradise. You will have the opportunity to see different dancing groups, from preparation to face painting, feathers display and body decoration, to the actual show in the main arena. This will be followed with a courting ceremony; traditional fighting using bows and arrows; traditional marriage exchanging pigs, money, and other valuables; and traditional cuisine prepared underground with hot stones. Local mumu is to celebrate the festivity with the performers and tourists. Tourists have the chance of tasting local cuisine. Paiya mini show has been highly commended because of the village setting that perfectly blends with the environment, such as the friendly people who love to meet tourists and share their cultures. Overnight in Mt. Hagen.

Day 9:

After breakfast, we’ll transfer, via bus, to Goroka – Full day traveling- approximately a five-hour drive. On the way, visit Hagen market, then Mindima village for a courting performance.  We’ll stop for panoramic view of the Highlands with their beautiful landscapes, high mountain terrains, fast-flowing rivers, and villages. Upon arrival in Goroka, we’ll check in at our hotel. Overnight in Goroka.

Day 10:

After breakfast, we’ll transfer to the Goroka show ground. This will be a big festival that involves more than 50 ethnical dancing groups from the Highlands and coastal PNG. We’ll arrive early in order to see the preparations to performance.  The show goes on for 2 days. You will be allowed to enter the main arena with tourist’s badge.  It will be your chance to mingle with the performers and take photos, and even talk with them and learn about their cultures.  Afternoon, McCarthy Museum and a scenic tour to Asaro village. Overnight in Goroka. 

Day 11:

Breakfast, then continue with the show; afternoon scenic drive. Overnight in Goroka.

Day 12:

After breakfast, we’ll transfer to the airport to catch our flight to Port Moresby.  Meet the local guide and transfer to hotel to check in. After check-in, we’ll tour Port Moresby and surroundings.  Overnight in Port Moresby.

Day 13:

This morning, we'll return to the airport to continue our journey to Milne Bay with a morning flight. Once we arrive, we'll be met by a local guide and transfer to the beautiful Tawali Resort. Tawali is located in a secluded area of Milne Bay amongst local fishing villages and accessible only by boat, (approximately 90 minute ride). Built on a limestone bluff eighty feet above the water, Tawali offers guests a private retreat in which to enjoy the wonders of PNG. Tawali was constructed by local craftsmen and you will find beautifully carved totems and woodwork in the spacious main lodge and throughout the resort. After check in, you'll enjoy a scenic tour and optional water activities until the afternoon. Overnight at Tawali Resort.

Day 14:

After breakfast, we'll visit local fishing villages where we'll meet and photograph locals and their unique arts and crafts, including canoe building, wood carving and generally village life. Afternoon retire to hotel/lodge. Overnight at Tawali Resort.

Day 15:

Today there will be free time to enjoy some of the resort's activities including scuba diving, bird-watching or hiking. There will also be opportunites to work with selected individuals /groups for photography in selected areas, water fall, mountain, village or sea activities. Overnight at Tawali Resort.

Day 16:

After breakfast, we'll be transported to the airport for our flight to Port Moresby where you'll connect with your flight home.



Karl Grobl

Karl Grobl

Karl Grobl, (co-founder and trip leader), is a humanitarian photojournalist specializing in the photographic documentation of relief efforts and development work of NGOs worldwide. Calling upon his superb photography talents, both technically and creatively, he proficiently leads photo workshops and international photo tours (on this website). Beyond his photography attributes, tour clients frequently commend his helpfulness, professionalism and savvy about navigating global travel.

In 2013, Karl relocated from San Diego, California to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where he now lives full time. Karl considers Cambodia the perfect place for his Asia-based NGO work and photography tours and workshops. When ‘deplaning’ from his rigorous international travel schedule, Karl lecturers on photography and photojournalism, works on personal photography projects, and scouts out new off-beat photo tour destinations in Asia. In his free time, Karl says that he enjoys "hanging out at the nearby temples of Angkor, the rural villages and rice paddies, and occasionally getting completely soaked by the refreshing monsoon rains".

Many of Karl’s images have appeared in publications such as Newsweek, CNN, Geo, Town and Country magazine and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, though the majority of his photos appear in the annual reports, newsletters and communications materials of his humanitarian organization clients.  

Over the last ten years, Karl has worked in over 50 countries and has covered and photographed post conflict peace building efforts in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and East Timor, HIV/Aids issues in Africa and Asia as well as human trafficking in Cambodia and the Philippines. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Karl spent more than a month embedded with five different non-governmental organizations (NGO) documenting tsunami relief efforts in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.  The international press has taken notice of Karl’s provoking images:  The 2005 Haiti photo-story “City of God” was nominated for a World Press Photo Award. Karl is a member of the Advisory Council of Focus For Humanity, a non-profit organization, whose mission is to provide financial support, resources and training for professional and amateur photographers wishing to work with NGOs.

    “From an early age, my parents instilled in me a desire to explore and learn firsthand about the world around me. Our family vacations and weekend excursions were general education courses disguised as fun. Knowingly or unknowingly they set me on course for a journey that today, is still just beginning. For me, the ongoing quest to document the world’s people and global events that shape our common humanity, have been instrumental in breaking down stereotypes, preconceptions and prejudices. 

I believe that the more of the world we see and experience, the more we understand. It seems people everywhere, share similar goals, aspirations, hopes and desires. It is with a strong sense of obligation that I share through photographs, the people, places and events that have profoundly shaped my vision of our world. By sharing these experiences with you, I hope to make a small, positive contribution to a heightened sense of world community.” -K. Grobl

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Cost includes:  Airport transfers, all ground transport, all 15 nights accommodations, all breakfasts, 12 lunches and all dinners, Goroka show entry fees, cultural performances noted, local English-speaking guides.

Cost does not include: Domestic flights in Papua New Guinea, international flights, passport & visas fees, travel insurance, vaccinations and medical cover/treatment, meals not specified, tips to guides, drivers and bellboys, personal expenses such as alcoholic beverages/snacks, internet access fees, laundry fees, etc. 

Deposit and Final Payment

A deposit of $1,000 per person is required at time of booking. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure.


On cancellations more than 120 days prior to departure, all monies are refunded less a $275 administrative fee.

  • Less than 120 but at least 90 days prior, total deposit amount is forfeited.
  • Less than 90 but at least 75 days prior, 50% of trip price is forfeited.
  • Less than 75 days prior to departure, 100% is forfeited.

Notification by phone or email is acceptable, but please follow with written notice. In the unlikely event we have to cancel a tour, a full refund will be given.


Jim Cline Photo Tours LLC and their agents act only in the capacity as agents in all matters pertaining to hotel accommodations, sightseeing tours, and transportation, and are not responsible for any loss, damage, theft, or injury to person or property resulting from a defect in any vehicle, or the actions of any persons who provide services for this tour or for the action or inaction of any third party. Baggage is at the owner’s risk entirely. The tour operator reserves the right to withdraw the tour at any time, to decline any person as a member of the tour for any cause at any time. All prices are based on current rates of exchange and, while every effort will be made to hold them firm, they are subject to change. All participants are required to submit a signed Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability form prior to the tour’s departure.


It is the responsibility of each tour member to inform the tour operator of any possible health problems or handicaps upon registration. By forwarding a signed reservation form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements.


To allow for any unexpected contingencies, all participants are strongly urged to purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance.


While Jim Cline Photo Tours LLC endeavors to make the itinerary as accurate as possible, it should be considered as an approximate schedule of activities rather than a rigid schedule of events. Trip itineraries are subject to revision due to weather, ocean or trail conditions, government restrictions, and other reasons beyond our control. The tour leader has the right to make changes in the published itinerary whenever in his sole judgment conditions warrant, or if he deems it necessary for the comfort or safety of the tour.

Country Info

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea

Health Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website.  To see whether this country is currently affected by Malaria click here. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.    

Money: Currency in Papaua New Guina is called kina. Currency exchange rates

Internet Access:  The cities of Goroka and Mount Hagen have one internet cafe each, although whether the spots remain operational can not be confirmed at this time.  Visitors can find a handful of places to get online in Port Moresby.

Electricity Converters & Adapters Required

Visa ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: Along with a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of intended travel, a visa is required. More information can be found here: 
Special Note: Papua New Guinean customs authorities enforce strict regulations governing firearms, certain prescription drugs, wooden artifacts, animal products, food, and sexually explicit material. Other products may be subject to quarantine. 


Packing Ideas

"The people of PNG are the friendliest people I've ever met. They are always very happy to see you, help you, and pose for you... All the travel arrangements went off with precision -- quite remarkable.  Staying at the village on the Sepik river was an adventure. We stayed dorm style in a traditional house. We did have a primitive shower and toilet and electricity for a few hours of the night. We also had some fresh crocodile -- caught and skinned that day -- for dinner. The food was home cooking anda tasty using local ingredients. 

Going to the villages, meeting the people, and going to the sing sings was incredible. The creativity of the body paint and decorations is astounding especially since they are using natural materials. It is amazing what they can do with plants, feathers, and shells. The face painting is unbelievable. The access that you are allowed to the people as they prepare is absolutely generous. The variety of the costumes for the different tribes is amazing. When you find someone who can speak English they are happy to answer your every ops abound.

And there aren't a lot of other tourists around even at the major sing sing which has been going on for 56 years. My recommendation: Do it. Definitely do it."  -Tim M. 2015 participant


"Concerning my trip to Papua New Guinea....I am so happy I went! There were many times I wondered why I was going as it wasn't inexpensive, etc. but because it was Karl and Jim Cline Photo Tours, which I have great respect for, that helped me continue the journey. My love to travel with Karl made a HUGE difference as I knew we would be well taken care of and as safe as one could be. I was right. Many, many thanks for offering this unusual destination and making it unusual once we were there. We saw the diversity of the island, which is important as we may never get back in that area again. It's not an area you pass over while going somewhere else and you want to stop in.

It wasn't just the sights and sounds of a diverse culture I gained- it was so much more. Comparing and contrasting with our culture brings home once again what we have here and what is important. Being a country a bit on the wild side gives rise to that feeling of adventure, taking you out of your comfort zone that we all need to periodically do to feel alive...or at least I need.

Best of all there was Karl, who brought me up to the 21st century a bit with his teachings, being quite patient and presenting opportunities that the average photo tour leader wouldn't do as Karl has an unbelievable ability and energy level beyond most. Thank you again Karl for bringing me under your wing and making this a trip I will brag about for years to come." -Diane 2016 participant

"It was a fabulous trip.  Be hard to forget the incredible Sing Sing festival and its nonstop photo ops.  Not to mention some of the laughs along the way.  Thanks to Richard, Karl and all the rest of you for making this a trip to remember."  -Ellen C. 2015 participant


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