In March this year (2023) we spent an amazing couple of weeks exploring Papua New Guinea with Alison Teal and Kellen Lovell from Alison’s Adventures. It was a PNG adventure tour months in the making…

Alison is an explorer, conservationist, film-maker and influencer and Time Magazine’s “female Indiana Jones”. She is from Hawaii and has millions of fans following her adventures across her social media accounts – check out her TikTok for all the exciting videos from our PNG adventure. Her quest is to create family friendly content that educates through entertainment. Alison strives to positively educate her viewers on nature, wildlife, conservation as well as other cultures, their traditions and way of life.

Our PNG adventure tour began in Port Moresby, the capital city of Papua New Guinea. After months of planning the trip, daily Whatsapp calls and voice messages we finally met each other in person. With no time to waste we kicked into gear and headed to Fischerman’s Island, home to our good friend Joel from the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority, who invited us to see his home. Fisherman’s Island, known as Daugo Island, lies a short boat ride from Port Moresby. We got picked up by Joel and whisked over to the island by banana boat, where we spent the afternoon taking in the village life, meeting the local people and enjoying a swim and snorkel at one of the fringing reefs. It was a relaxing start to our adventure topped off with a nice dinner with new friends back in the capital.

The next day it was an early flight to the scenic and breathtaking Papua New Guinea Highlands. We arrived in Mount Hagen, one of the biggest cities in the country. From Mount Hagen airport we traveled a short 45-minute drive into the mountains where we arrived at Rondon Ridge, our home for the next 3 nights.

Rondon Ridge is an eco lodge located on a mountain slope overlooking Mount Hagen city with magnificent views of the peaks of Mt. Giluwe and Mt. Hagen on the other side of the valley. Built in the 70’s Rondon Ridge has been welcoming international visitors for years including Mick Jagger himself. Our rooms were spacious, comfortable and exceeded our expectations. After a wonderful Rondon Ridge lunch we were taken on a guided tour through the high-altitude rainforest on the property where we learned about the native flora and fauna. We had no luck in spotting the national bird of PNG, the Raggianna Bird-of-Paradise, but we did meet the local deer family that is kept on the property.

Over the next 2 days we were treated to a PNG cultural tour by Trans Niugini Tours. We visited numerous local villages and got to experience the culture and traditions of the native residents including a presentation of the Mudman tribe, the Skeleton men and the Melpa tribe. We experienced traditional Sing Sings, particularly in one village where the local villagers decided to stage a cultural mini-show for us. It was an amazing display of the distinct dance, culture, and music that was shared with us.

Whilst at Rondon Ridge we had the pleasure of sharing stories with tourism pioneer and owner of Rondon Ridge Bob Bates as well as hanging out with former PNG Prime Minister Paias Wingti, with whom we discussed our predictions for the 2023 NRL season.

Having enjoyed the PNG Highlands it was now time to continue on our next part of the journey, which took us to Kavieng, New Ireland. We traveled back to Port Moresby and connected with our flight to Kavieng. Once in Kavieng we quickly grabbed our boards and bags and transferred to the Kavieng waterfront where our boat transfer to Lissenung was waiting for us. A short 20-minute scenic boat ride and we arrived at Lissenung Island.

Lissenung is a tiny island popular with divers, surfers and guests looking for peace and quiet from all over the world. It is literally PARADISE! With only a handful of guests on the island at any given time, the remoteness of the island and limited connectivity allows you to disconnect from the outside world. The island has been run by good friends Ange and Dietmar for over 27 years offering their guests world-class Papua New Guinea scuba diving adventures, access to amazing surfing, nature, village visits as well as turtle conservation. With the latter they have dedicated a lot of their time, efforts and resources to educate and raise awareness for endangered turtles amongst the local people in and around Kavieng.

With Lissenung being our base camp our next few days were filled with surfing awesome uncrowded breaks, scuba diving and snorkeling pristine reefs, searching for Nemo as well as learning about turtles! With the guidance of Lissenung’s awesome surf guide Simon from Lissenung we were lucky to get nice clean waves at the local surf magnet Ral Island and enjoyed surfing for the first few days. However, one of our goals on this trip was to raise awareness of the turtle conservation program run on Lissenung.

The team at Lissenung Island has had a love and dedication for the oceans and marine life for years raising awareness for turtle conservation with the support of neighbouring villages and  traditional landowners. During the nesting season Ange, Dietmar and team will scan well-know nesting spots around Kavieng and relocate turtle nests to Lissenung ensuring the nests are safe from poachers and other natural threats. They have passionately dedicated their time, energy and funds to protect turtle nests in the area and see a higher success rate of hatching of nests. Their efforts have seen an average turtle hatching success rate of over 90% each year, with valuable data collected and sent to Conservation organisations in Australia and beyond. This data is invaluable to turtle researchers, and provides groundbreaking information on turtle numbers, species, migratory patterns, feeding grounds and more. Furthermore, they have looked after countless injured and sick turtles rehabilitating them and then releasing back into the wild. During our visit we were fortunate to be there for the release of two turtles as well as a nest of healthy young hatchlings. It was an amazing end to a fantastic Papua New Guinea adventure.

If Papua New Guinea is on your bucket list, get in touch. Incredible diversity of nature, mountains, culture, adventure, reefs, surf and wildlife await. We have been offering tailor-made tours and travel arrangements to Papua New Guinea since 2009.

Want to get involved with turtle conservation at Lissenung, check out our program here.

The trip to Papua New Guinea with Alison and Kellen was an amazing experience, particularly after years of not being able to travel. It was great to be back in PNG, exploring the PNG Highlands and our adventure out of Lissenung Island.

Our journey to Papua New Guinea was possible thanks to the support of the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority, Trans Niugini Tours and Lissenung Island Resort.