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The Bainings Firedance Festival – 8 Days

Based in East New Britain province, the Baining Firedance Festival is a cultural spectacle that awakens all the senses. Held across two days, the unique cultures and subcultures on display at the Firedance Festival gives an insight into how diverse the region is. There are over 50 masked performances and each one is as exclusive as the next. Unlike other festivals and events in Papua New Guinea where the show ground is within town, this festival takes you directly into the villages. It gives a more authentic and genuine experience. Giving further insight into each individual cultural performance, Dr Jacob Simet has translated the narrative of each individual cultural group so that you could see, hear, feel and understand each performance at the festival.

Itinerary

Duration: 8 nights

Day 1: Australia – Kokopo

Welcome to East New Britain
Hotel – Twinshare accomodation at the Gazelle International or Kokopo Beach Bungalows
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES: Transfer to hotel and tour briefing
Meals Included – Dinner
Itinerary
Welcome to Rabaul !!

Your local tour leader will arrange for your complimentary airport shuttle from Tokua Airport to your hotel.
Check into your hotel and meet in the foyer at 630 pm for your tour briefing, which will be held at a suitable location within the hotel grounds. Make sure you have your insurance details ready for collection by your guide this evening. After dinner, settle into the hotel for the evening.

Day 2 & 3: Firedance Festival

Firedance Festival
Hotel – Twin-share accommodation at the Gazelle International or Kokopo Beach Bungalows
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES: Firedance festival Village
Meals Included – B / L / D

Today we head up to the highlands of the Gazelle Peninsula where we will spend the next two days at the Firedance
Festival.As we near the Village Show Grounds, we will witness a traditional Melanesian welcoming ceremony. It is common within the Melanesian culture that a host welcomes guests into the village, it shows the rest of the village that these are welcomed strangers and there are no hostilities between the village and the visitors.

There will be an array of organic village fruits as well which are sourced from the village plots surrounding. We will also have a western option available for you should you not want to eat traditional food. Performances within the village are performed are a form of entertainment for the villagers as well as tourists – don’t be surprised if the Firedance performances go on all night. You will notice that bundles of firewood are added to the bonfire by villagers throughout the performance. The Firedancers will need to perform until the last flames are put out.

Today’s performances are from the Bainings region. Over 25 different masks will perform culminating in the Linganga the famous Firedancers

Day 4: Duke of York Island

Duke of York Island
This evening we are guest of the Island
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES: Island Tour, Village guest homestay
Meals Included – B / L / D
Each island around East New Britain has its own personality, its own story and its own set of traditions. The Duke of York Islands is the place to really explore and experience the real PNG. We will cruise around the islands and hear some of the histories whilst taking in the wonderful array of colours and vibrancy of this small archipelago. On our voyage watch out for dolphins, the fanciful dugong and local fishing canoes.
The waters around here are crystal clear, azure blue lagoons with white sandy beaches and lush green vegetation, paradise in its truest form!
On the Island, we will be hosted by the village and learn more about traditional weaving, cooking and fishing. Your leader will arrange for an island tour.
It is advised to wear some comfortable water shoes such, as crocs are sandals.
After our tours relax and unwind and forget about the world for the evening and enjoy the hospitality of the Local Duke of York Islanders.

This includes a traditional sing sing and overnight stay in the village.

Day 5: Duke of Yorks

This evening’s hotel – Gazelle International Hotel

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES: Island Swim , Island village experience
Meals Included – B / L/ D
Wake up early to take in sites of the island life. Take a quiet stroll around the village again and interact with the locals.
After an early breakfast your guide will give you a brief on what to expect today before we depart the Duke of York Islands. Your guide will choose a reef that would be best suited for snorkeling according to the days weather conditions.
The Boat Skipper will also take in considerations the weather when determining when you will be departing the island. We will then Check into the hotel and rest for the afternoon.

DAY 6 - Baai Village / Rabaul Tour

This evening’s hotel – Rabaul Hotel
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES: Baai Cultural Show, Rabaul Tour
Meals Included – B / L
Today we will be taking in a historical tour of Rabaul town. You will need good walking shoes or waterproof sandals today, as there will be some walking on uneven surfaces. Our lunch destination will be a village called Baai Village where we will be treated to a mini cultural show performed by 6 tribes within the region. We will be staying in Rabaul this evening. Your guide will be giving you a dry bag which you will you will need to pack enough clothes for 2 days.
Our Rabaul tour today will include:
Rabaul Markets – A stops off at Rabaul Markets. Here we take a stroll around the markets to explore. Make sure that you have some small denominations of PNG Kina (5-10 kina notes) so you can pick up some trinkets here as well as try some local fruits or snacks.
Yamamoto’s Bunker – Yamamoto’s bunker. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was the genius behind Japan’s early naval successes during World War II. He was based in Rabaul for a long period and commanded the Japanese Pacific fleet from a small bunker in the center of town.
Old Niugini Club – Across the street from Yamamoto’s bunker we visit the remains of the Old Niugini club where we will gain some insight of Rabaul Pre –eruption and Pre Independence. Japanese Submarine Base – The Submarine Base where the Japanese stored their Submarines during the war before a stop off at the Volcano Observatory – a look out over Old Rabaul and a fantastic photo spot.
Japanese Tunnels and Barge Tunnels at Karavia Bay – The Japanese Tunnels. We take a walk in the maze of tunnels, which goes down around 20 m deep. The tunnels consist of 3 stories, including a kitchen and a myriad of escape routes

Day 7- Matupit Island Tour

This evening’s hotel – Gazelle International Hotel
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES: Basket Weaving, Village day, Church Choir, Agir Making
Meals Included – B / L
Located directly across the bay from the currently active Tavurvur volcano, Matupit Island boasts a population of 200 to 300 people; many have resettled throughout the province following the 1994 eruptions.
On arrival, you will be greeted by the islanders with frangipani leis (garlands) and you will be taken through the village stopping by the local’s schools, church and craft market. You will have the opportunity to make purchases and also participate in traditional handcrafts and activities. Visitors will see how island life is today and will get a feeling of how the local inhabitants survive on a day to day basis by seeing how important fishing and the collection of Megapode eggs are to the local economy.
Another revenue stream is the coconut, which today is used in many ways to make this community sustainable; they use it for food, shelter, cooking, medicinal purposes and weaving. In addition to this, you might find your own Megapode egg or alternatively you could buy one from the local villagers, take it back to your hotel and have it cooked for your breakfast. These eggs are a major source of income to the village.
The walk across the lava landscape can be quite challenging, as the surface is uneven and slippery. Make sure you wear suitable footwear. We will have a traditional lunch right on the beach today cooked by our local friends

Day 8 - Kokopo Tour

This evenings Hotel – Gazelle International
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES: Kokopo Tour, Welcome dinner at the Ralum Country Club
This morning we will be treated to a swim with the resident spinner dolphins of East New Britain. As truly magical experience you will never forget. We will swim with the dolphins for around 1 hour before we head back for breakfast.
You will need good walking shoes or waterproof sandals today, as there will be some walking on uneven surfaces. Our tour of the area today will include:
– A visit to Bitapaka War Cemetery, where the first Australians who fought here in World
War I and World War II have been laid to rest. Hear about the 2nd 22nd Battalion and the rich war history of Rabaul.
– A stop off at Kokopo Markets. Here we take a stroll around the markets to explore. Make sure that you have some small denominations of PNG Kina (5-10 kina notes) so you can pick up some trinkets here as well as try some local fruits or snacks.
– Blue Lagoon where we see some Japanese Barge Tunnels built by the Japanese to conceal their Barges and to protect them from the bombing raids of the Allies in WWII.
Dinner will be held at the Ralum country club.

DAY 9 - FAREWELL - NOT GOOD BYE

Yoro ma catch mulai – today we say goodbye.

You will have a transfer organised from the hotel to the airport. Please ensure you have settled all your bills on check out.

We hope to see again.

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