The eastern half of the island of New Guinea - second largest in the world - was divided between Germany (north) and the United Kingdom (south) in 1885. The latter area was transferred to Australia in 1902, which occupied the northern portion during World War I and continued to administer the combined areas until independence in 1975. A nine-year secessionist revolt on the island of Bougainville ended in 1997 after claiming some 20,000 lives. View more
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Discover the highlights of Madang on this short outing, taking in the major area sites.
From the pier, depart for the Cultural Centre and Museum which was built in 1980 in the form of a spirit house found in Madang before the arrival of the white man. The museum contains an excellent display of rare artefacts, musical instruments including kundu drums and garamuts (split drums), photographs from the German occupation period, weapons and shields, masks and traditional bilas (body jewellery/decoration). One prize of the collection is a model of the large traditional two-mast sailing canoes that were once used by the Madang people to trade up and down the coast. The museum also houses some intricately carved garamuts used to communicate over long distances. From the museum, continue to the village of Bilbil.
Here, the villagers display their earthenware pottery, crafted in the same manner for hundreds of years. The clay pot is the main source of currency when trading with neighbouring tribes. See the villagers create their pots, followed by a cultural performance. After your discovery of Bilbil, depart to the southwest of Madang to the Balek Reserve.
Balek is located in a small nature reserve where a sulphur creek flows out from a cave. The area was used as the set for the 1997 movie Robinson Crusoe. The locals believe the sulphur water has medicinal powers and its source is a snake. Further the down the creek, the villagers "call" or summon the wild fresh water eels when it is feeding time.
Afterwards, begin the return to the ship in Madang. A photo stop at the coast watcher monument is made en route to the pier.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking at each of the sights. It is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. Guides and transport are the best available in the area. Guides are locals and not experienced. Tour vehicles vary, may not be equipped with microphones and are not air-conditioned Facilities available on this tour are the basic "squat-style", non-seated, and unisex. Photography is not permitted in the museum. Anticipate hot and humid weather and wear lightweight clothing, flat non-slip walking shoes and protection from the sun. A sense of adventure and understanding that the touring offered is the best available is required.