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The flight time is 1 hour from Port Moresby to Alotau; Groups will be greeted by Hiwe Hiwe Lodge staff and transferred to Alotau Wharf. Approximately 25 minutes’ drive from airport into town. From here we will board a banana boat for the 2 hour ride to Gumoisu Guest Haus. We will have lunch before heading out to explore Samarai and Kwato Islands. Dinner is traditional kai served on the balcony of the guest haus situated on the point overlooking the China Passage. Samaria Island was discovered by Captain John Moresby whilst commanding HMS Basilisk in 1873. Moresby originally called the Dinner Island, after having a meal on it. Five years later in 1878 the Rev. S. MacFarlane of the London Missionary Society established a mission station on the island. In 1884 a trader and sixty Papuans established a beach front store for passing ships. In the early years a large malarias’ swamp caused health problems for Samarai, but this was improved after 1898 when it was filled in. In 1902 the value of goods exported from Samarai was three times the value of those exported from Port Moresby. By 1907 there were three pubs, the seat of a bishop, a rectory, church, three stores, government buildings, hospitals and private residences. Electric power was provided by 1927 and street lighting was installed. By the 1920s the town had declined in importance and by the 1940s 70 percent of goods were now exported from Port Moresby. After the outbreak of World War II and with the Japanese advance into the Pacific the Australian Government ordered the evacuation of Samarai in January 1942 and later in the year it was destroyed to stop the wharves and buildings falling under Japanese control. Although Samarai was re-established after the war, it never returned to its former size or influence and in 1968 the provincial capital for Milne Bay was moved to Alotau. Today the island is mostly isolated and little belies its former past. Reverend Abel was not the first white man to step foot on Kwato but he was the first to see the unique possibilities of the small island set in the China Straits of Milne Bay. Due to its location it’s one of the oldest trading routes in the South Pacific. Many foreigners had visited Kwato before Reverend Abel looking for gold, trading sea cucumbers, mother of pearl and sandalwood. Rev Abel resolved to create at Kwato and institution where Papuans would not only receive a Christian education but also the necessary training to put them on an equal footing with foreigners. To help finance the work he established coconut plantations which became management training centres, who in turn taught village, people how to mark out and plant coconuts. Not only did the people of Kwato learn life skills but they also experienced music and singing and sport, especially cricket. Accommodation: Gumusie Guest Haus (LD)
This morning have a leisurely breakfast before we start walking around 9am. We walk at a nice pace learning from our young men escorting us through what they refer to as the “Jungle Grocery Store” teaching us and pointing out the different edible fruits and berries and the plants which are used for Medicinal purposes. Trekking in Milne Bay is always hot and humid, very wet and muddy under foot. It is reasonably flat with multiple little streams and log crossings to negotiate. Dalidali is a family hamlet; our hosts are Harry, his wife and 6 pikininis. There is a very small stream to wash in. Our afternoon is spent with the family and playing with the children. Approximately 6 hours walking. Accommodation: Guest Haus/Tents (BLD)
We must be trekking by 6:30am. Although the terrain is flat it is a long and challenging day. The first half of the day is very muddy, with many high log crossings. We should arrive at the main river crossing in time for lunch. If the weather has been unkind and there has been lots of rain this river could be flooded. There is a remote possibility that we may have to walk back to Dalidali and Gumoisu. Or take an alternate route which will add on another 2-3 hours walking. After lunch the terrain is easier, not so wet and a passable track to follow. The last 2 hours of the trek is walking down a tributary of the Dawadawa River. This is an extremely beautiful and interesting sector of the trek, arriving at the river mouth around 4pm. We meet our boat transfer here and motor down to Badilauna Guest Haus, taking around 20 minutes. Our accommodation is on the banks of the Dawadawa River, our hosts are the Andrew family. They are very proud of their guest haus warmly welcoming guests into their family. Children taking the day off school to meet guests and help Mum and Dad and extended family prepare for guests. Today is approximately 7-8 hours walking. Very scenic, with lots of bird life and the odd snake. Accommodation: Badilauna Guest Haus (BLD)
This morning we will transfer by boat as far up the Dawadawa River as we can go. We will inflate our kayaks and stand ups and start paddling back down stream. Dawadawa is a wide soft flowing river; it is a smorgasbord of bird life, with the odd challenging little rapid to negotiate. One should not laugh when the not so experienced paddle boarders hit these. Dawadawa is also a working river providing sustainable life for the people that live along its shores. We stop off at Badilauna Guest Haus for lunch and have a play with the kids on the paddle boards. After lunch we continue paddling down the river to the river mouth. From here there are 3 options. Paddle the rest of the way to Tree Tops (a long way to paddle)/Walk to Tree Tops (approx 3-4 hours)/Take boat to Tree Tops. Tree Tops is a traditional Lodge located high up on the hill overlooking the ocean and Alotau Town on the other side of the bay. Cold drinks, hot shower and a balcony with a view to die for await you. Accommodation: Tree Tops Lodge (BLD)
*International travellers may require accommodation in Port Moresby either side of this trek. PNG Trekking Adventure can book this for you. AUD$395/room based on twin share, inclusive of Breakfast and Airport Transfers. Single Supplement AUD$197.00
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