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The National Mask Festival – 9 day / 10 nights

The Warwagira & Mask Festival was initially introduced in 1995 and is staged as an annual National event to promote the Mask Cultures of East New Britain, New Ireland and other areas in Papua New Guinea where masks are significant projections of cultural expression.

The Mask Festival is a held over a 3-5 day period with a unique exhibition of cultural dances, ritual performances and a variety of arts and crafts on display.

The festival opens with the arrival of the “Kinivai” at dawn. The “Kinivai” represents the arrival of the revered ‘Tubuans” who arrive amidst the chanting and beating of kundu drums by elders and initiated young men on canoes.

The ‘Tubuans’ are revered ancestral spirits of the ‘Tolai’ people of East New Britain. Traditionally the arrival of the Tubuans meant that shell money was to be paid for broken taboos.

The festival opens with the arrival of the ‘Kinivai’ at
dawn. The‘Kinivai’representsthearrivalofthefeared ‘Tubuans’ who arrive amidst the chanting and beating of kundu drums by elders and initiated young men on canoes.

The ‘Tubuans’ are revered ancestral spirits of the ‘Tolai’ people of East New Britain. Traditionally the arrival of the Tubuans meant that shell money was to be paid for broken taboos.

Traditional masks will be on display during the festival – some many decades old brought over from New Ireland Province and other parts of Papua New Guinea. Many of these Tubuans are sacred and are not meant to be viewed or transported to alien places, hence the ceremonial ‘Kinavai’ which acts as a cleansing or appeasement ritual for the broken taboos and to pay respects to the Tolai people of East New Britain

The National Mask Festival

Duration: 10 days/9 nights

Trip Inclusions

Inclusions

Accommodation

  • Twin Share accommodation
  • Meals stated in the tours below
  • All activities stated in the tour below

Not included

  • International Flights
  • Domestic Flights
  • Alcohol and meals not stated in the itinerary below

Day 1: Australia – Port Moresby

Welcome to Papua New Guinea! Touch down at Rabaul Airport (aka Tokua Airport), where you’ll be transferred to your hotel. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6.30 pm in the reception area. You’ll learn a bit about the history of Rabaul from the hotel owner, enjoy a welcome drink at the bar, and perhaps head out for an optional dinner with fellow travellers. If arriving early, be sure to explore and get a feel for the town. Rabaul’s nickname ‘Pearl of the Pacific’, though apt, was replaced with ‘Pompeii of the Pacific’ after the devastating eruption of Tarvurvur volcano in 1994. Despite this loss, Rabaul is still an alluring destination of beauty and depth.

ACCOMMODATION
  • Hotel (1 night)- Twin Share
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
MEALS INCLUDED

There are no meals included on this day.

Day 2 – Duke of York Islands

Marvel at the force of Mother Nature from the base of an active volcano. From here you will be picked up by your vessel and transported to the Duke of York Islands. While each island around East New Britain has its own personality and story, the Duke of York Islands is where you’ll experience the real PNG. Cruise around the islands and hear some local history while taking in a wonderful array of colours. Keep an eye out for dolphins, dugong (sea cows with forked tails) and local fishing canoes. The waters around here are crystal-clear blue lagoons, the beaches are white, and the vegetation is lush – it’s a real slice of paradise. Today’s tour includes a barbecue lunch cooked on one of the beaches. Afterwards, there will be plenty of time to relax and enjoy the hospitality of the locals. You’ll also make a stop at Mioko Island to learn more about traditional weaving, cooking and fishing. Enjoy a traditional sing-sing (a gathering of tribes for cultural performance) and an overnight village stay.

ACCOMMODATION
  • Hotel (1 night)- Twin Share
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES
  • Duke of York Islands – Mioko Island tour & sing sing
MEALS INCLUDED
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Day 3 – Rabaul

Rise for an early breakfast and take in scenes of local life. After a briefing on the rest of the day’s activities, you’ll depart the Duke of York Islands and be dropped back at Vunagum by mid-morning. Your tour of the area includes a trip to the Rabaul Markets (keep some small denominations of PNG Kina (5–10 kina notes) handy for trinkets or local fruits and snacks). Visit Yamamoto’s Bunker to learn more about the genius behind Japan’s early WWII naval successes. Then, across the street, check out the remains of the Old Nuigini Club and gain some insight into what Rabaul was like both pre- and post-eruption, and pre-independence. After a visit to the Japanese Submarine Base, make a stop at the Volcano Observatory for a lookout over Old Rabaul – a fantastic photo opportunity. Also, explore the Japanese tunnels and barge tunnels at Karavia Bay. There’s a fascinating maze extending some 20 metres underground, made up of three stories, a kitchen and various escape routes. Lunch today will be at a hotel in Rabaul. In the evening, enjoy some free time to relax back at the hotel.

ACCOMMODATION
  • Hotel (1 night)- Twin Share
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES
  • Rabaul – Old Niugini Club
  • Rabaul – Japanese Submarine Base & Tunnels
  • Rabaul – Rabaul Markets
  • Rabaul – Yamamoto’s Bunker
  • Rabaul – Karavai Ceremony
MEALS INCLUDED
  • Breakfast

Day 4– Rabaul

Travel around to see the sights around Kokopo today. Your tour of the area includes a visit to the Bitapaka War Cemetery, where the first Australians who fought here during the first and second world wars have been laid to rest. Hear about the 2nd/22nd Battalion and the interesting war history of Rabaul – namely the Battle of Rabaul, also known by the Japanese as Operation R. You will also visit the Blue Lagoon, where you can see some Japanese barge tunnels. These tunnels were built by the Japanese to conceal their barges and to protect them from the bombing raids of the Allies in World War II. Finally, check out the nearby volcano and hot springs. Here you can stand at the base of the volcano and marvel at the force of Mother Nature.

ACCOMMODATION
  • Hotel (1 night)- Twin Share
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES
  • Kokopo – Bitapaka War Cemetery
  • Kokopo – Blue Lagoon
MEALS INCLUDED
  • Breakfast

Day 5 – Rabaul Mask Festival

Your reward for a 4:30 am start today is the Kinavai ceremony, a re-enactment of the landing of the Tolai People into Rabaul. The canoes paddle across the water at the break of dawn, and you can hear the canoes and the chants long before you see them. The stillness of the morning air coupled with the chanting makes for a riveting spectacle. Then, after breakfast back at the hotel, it’s time to delve into the first day of the Mask Festival, so get amongst the colourful array of PNG cultures on display. Dance groups perform throughout the day here, and you’ll see and hear an amazing variety of songs and instruments. Each clan has a unique beat, and each culture a distinct dance. After an early optional dinner, head up to Kainagunan or Gaulim Village in the Baining area (approximately 50 minutes from the hotel). Here you’ll watch as the men from the Baining clans immerse themselves in flames and escape unscathed. It’s an exhilarating ritual performed nowhere else in the world. Interestingly, the Baining people are one of the few cultures in PNG that doesn’t use the Kundu drum; they use bamboo instead.

ACCOMMODATION
  • Hotel (1 night)- Twin Share
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES
  • Rabaul Mask festival and Kinavai festival
MEALS INCLUDED
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 6 – Rabaul Mask Festival

Enjoy a free day to soak up the festivities. With your hotel situated right next door to the festival grounds, you can come and go as you please, exploring at your own pace.

ACCOMMODATION
  • Hotel (1 night)- Twin Share
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES
  • Rabaul Mask festival
MEALS INCLUDED
  • Breakfast

Day 7 – Rabaul Mask Festival

After breakfast, your leader will give you a briefing on what to expect today at the show. We will then transfer the group to the show grounds for more of the festival. You will be given free rein to around the festival at your own pace and take in the sites.

Feel free to take a walk around Kokopo Town. We can organize a guide to show you around for a small tip to the local guide.

ACCOMMODATION
  • Hotel (1 night)- Twin Share
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES
  • Rabaul Mask festival
MEALS INCLUDED
  • Breakfast

Day 8 Baravon Village Tour

Today we will take a walk through a beach village called Baravon Village.

Learn how to make traditional meals such as a Mumu and Agir – where villages use hot rocks to cook coconut-infused vegetables.

We will take a stroll down to a local church where we will sit and peacefully listen to the sounds of the choir singing a few hymns for us.

After lunch, we will relax sit and enjoy a swim on the natural black sandy beach looking out to Simpson Harbour.

 

ACCOMMODATION
  • Hotel (1 night) – Twin Share
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES
  • Village tour.
MEALS INCLUDED
  • Breakfast

Day 9 – Kokopo

This morning we will have an opportunity to go and swim with our resident spinner dolphins.

We will leave the hotel around 6 am by boat to where our wild dolphins hang out. Here we will jump in the water for an hour and swim with the wild dolphins.

Please note we do not feed the dolphins or entice them to stay, they are completely in their own habitat. Sometimes they will be in playful moods and other times they will keep their distance.

We will return back to the hotel in time for breakfast where you can relax and enjoy the rest of the day.

ACCOMMODATION
  • Hotel (1 night)
INCLUDED ACTIVITIES
  • Dolphin Swim
MEALS INCLUDED
  • Breakfast

Day 10

Your trip comes to an end after breakfast. With no further activities planned, you’re free to depart at any time. A transfer to the airport is included.

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES
  • Complimentary Airport Departure Transfer
MEALS INCLUDED
  • Breakfast

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