Three of a kind … jungle hikes
MOUNT WILHELM, PAPua NEW GUINEA
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.
DON’T MISS CROSS-ISLAND TREK, RAROTONGA, COOK ISLANDS
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.
DON’T MISS WEBSITE