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Embark on an eco-tourist destination trip that puts you in the stimulating lap of nature
People have different reasons for travelling. Some prefer the beaten path and stick to exploring similar places. Others prefer to discover people and places at their own pace.
From the harried soul seeking revival to the backpacker searching for their next adventure, this Papua New Guinea destination offers an unparalleled experience.
Close your eyes and imagine – a traditional lodge stands majestically on the banks of an enchanting river gazing at the unspoiled rainforest teeming with life.
Are you curious to know more about this enticing tropical paradise?
The postcard view is from Badilauna Lodge on the eastern tip of this south pacific island. Nestled on the banks of Dawadawa River, the lodge is thirty minutes away from Alotau township in Milne Bay.
This haven is an ode to the community spirit. Owned by indigenous people from Tawala district, the lodge contributes its earnings to empower the local community.
Badilauna often sees short-stay guests – trekking groups from Dalidali-Gutali halting for a day before journeying on to Wagawaga.
The Andrew family also host garden weddings for a small group of 20 guests. Couples will find this intimate event a surreal experience.
How to get reach the getaway?
As Badilauna Lodge is located on the riverbank, visitors fly with Air Niugini or another airline from PNG cities to Alotau town. You are transferred from town airport to the wharf. From there, you take a 30-minute motorboat ride to the guesthouse. Trekking groups come to the lodge from Gutali by boat. You can kayak or paddle board back from Wagawaga to the guesthouse.
November to April is the best time to visit as the weather is dry and humid. If you’re visiting outer islands in December, check for cyclonic activities.
This spot is perfect for travellers seeking privacy, families and backpackers seeking fun and corporate teams looking to unwind. The lodge team speak English and provide you with guides, if required.
The three guest bungalows are constructed in traditional Milne Bay style with timber and palm. Each has two rooms, lounge and are powered by solar energy. The rooms are modest, but comfortable and spacious enough with basic amenities.
There are two separate communal toilets and you bath in the nearby creek. There is an outdoor kitchen and common dining place. The guests are provided breakfast and can request lunch and dinner.
For guests who cannot completely disconnect from the outside world, there is decent internet connectivity and mobile phone service available.
Glimpse of life along Dawadawa river
The inhabitants of Milne Bay retain traditional customs including matriarchal system and Kula or barter trade with Bagi (shell necklace). They are skilled in clay pottery, mat weaving and canoe building.
The annual Kenu and Kundu festival is a much-awaited event which features warrior dances by participating clans and a canoe race.
Family and clan hamlets are built along the river including those of legendary warrior Bwagagaia’s descendants. Few understand English and most speak Tawala or Suau. They follow a sustenance-based living with a few markers of development visible here, including a church, elementary school and aid post.
Thing to do at Badaluna Lodge
Spend a relaxing day outdoors conversing with other guests or playing with your kids, before ending it with a glorious sunset view.
Trek to Tutuabo – visit this mountain behind the lodge to see the carved rock chairs and the first meeting place of the first settlers.
PNG Adventure Hiking – join a hiking trail from Gumoisu village to Badilauna, followed by kayaking to Wagawaga.
Bird watching – trek up the mountain to watch Brid of Paradise ad other native birds. Walk in the rainforest and explore the waterfalls below the mountain.
Kayaking or stand up paddling – hire a kayak or paddle board and go down the river.
Picnics and day trips – the lodge arranges a day trip Alotau jetty and back. For families or groups of 20 or less.
Meet the locals – visit river settlements and watch locals weave mats, cook clay pot meals, build canoes, and stage rituals.
Cultural programme – for larger tourist groups, a local group provides cultural entertainment on arrival or during dinner for wedding parties.
Before you know, it’s time to leave this tropical paradise and get back to the urban jungle.
For room bookings, call 675 71717101 or email Samuel Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact them through their Facebook page. Leave a direct message on Twitter and follow their pages for latest information.