Three of a kind … jun­gle hikes

Paradise - - Traveller -


Wilhelm is the high­est moun­tain in PNG – there’s a solid trail lead­ing to the sum­mit, but you def­i­nitely will feel the ef­fects of alti­tude at an in­sane 4509 me­tres. Be pre­pared and make sure you’re in good phys­i­cal con­di­tion be­fore you at­tempt the four-day as­cent (you can do it in three, but why rush it)? Es­cape Trekking Ad­ven­tures can take you there, us­ing a mod­er­ately dif­fi­cult route from Keglsugl in the Chimbu Province. The best months to climb are May to Novem­ber – the weather is warm dur­ing the day and quite cool at night. When­ever you go, the views from the top will be mag­nif­i­cent.


If you de­cide to take on the chal­lenge, you’ll be re­warded with one of the most sceni­cally mag­nif­i­cent ar­eas of PNG. You’ll pass through high-el­e­va­tion rain­forests, moss-coated forests, alpine grass­lands and a glacial val­ley, which are home to spec­tac­u­lar sights in­clud­ing abun­dant wild or­chids and a sa­vanna of cy­cads.


You’ll want to lace up your boots good and proper for this day hike, which be­gins on the north coast at Avarua Har­bour and leads up the Avatiu Val­ley, through dense trop­i­cal for­est and a moun­tain­ous in­te­rior. Trekkers emerge at the pin­na­cle of Te Rua Manga rock, also known as the ‘Nee­dle’, a re­mark­able rock for­ma­tion and an an­cient place of wor­ship. From there the track con­tin­ues south, through Rarotonga’s in­te­rior rain­for­est, pass­ing gi­ant ferns and the Pa­pua Stream, and ends near Wig­more’s Wa­ter­fall on the south coast. Thank­fully, there’s a bus there to take you back along the coast road to your start­ing point.


Do­ing this walk with Pa Teu­ruaa of Pa’s Treks, a colour­ful, dread­locked lo­cal char­ac­ter who has been guid­ing hik­ers (in­clud­ing the Dalai Lama) across Rarotonga for over 30 years, will mean you get to hear his famed sto­ries of the is­land’s an­cient myths and le­gends en route. He will also make sure no ex­otic but­ter­fly, en­demic plant or fern goes un­no­ticed.


Tave­uni is known as the garden is­land of Fiji, and for good rea­son. It’s rugged and wild, cov­ered in lush veg­e­ta­tion and palm trees, fringed with white-sand beaches made of ground-up co­ral, and is so pretty they filmed the movie Re­turn to the Blue La­goon here. Tave­uni Ad­ven­tures can guide you along the beach, through the forests and over streams for a full day.

SOME­THING SPE­CIAL You won’t For­get the daz­zling panora­mas you’ll take in as you me­an­der along. Ditto for the dra­matic water­falls you’ll pass which, com­plete with icy pools that are per­fect for cool­ing off in, are your re­ward for work­ing up a sweat.


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