Coastal Adventures

Island Adventures in New Britain & New Ireland

Popular with divers, surfers, history buffs and adventure seekers, these two easy-to-get-to islands are perfect for first-time visitors. In West New Britain (WNB) you can hike to the top of the active Gabuna volcano crater, relax in a natural spa-like thermal hot river or visit the local firefly trees at night and see the rainforest light up. At the other end of the island in East New Britain (ENB), a world of history awaits; from hidden Japanese WWII war tunnels and Admiral Yamamoto’s famed bunker, to the ash-covered remains of old Rabaul town (destroyed by the nearby Mount Tavurvur volcanic eruption of 1937). Over on New Ireland (NI) you can go on a 5-day cycling adventure, travelling down the length of the 260km mostly-flat Bulominski Highway, stopping to rest at traditional village homestays along the way.

Fly to: Kimbe (WNB), Rabaul (ENB) or Kavieng (NI)

Stay at: Walindi Plantation Resort, Kokopo Beach Bungalow Resort, Rapopo Plantation Resort, Lissenung Island Resort, Nusa Island Retreat

Cultural Encounters in Milne Bay & Tufi

Divers and snorkellers have been coming to this part of Papua New Guinea for decades, but culture-seekers have only recently cottoned on to this unique part of the world. Alotau is the capital of the Milne Bay region, and plays host to the annual Kenu and Kundu Festival each November – a lively and colourful cultural display of war canoe racing and ‘singsings’ (traditional dances). Year-round you can discover harrowing skull caves, and can also learn to cook (and enjoy) a Mumu feast (a traditional meal of local produce cooked in the earth). Up the coast in Oro Province are the Tufi Fjords, home to the world’s largest butterfly (the Queen Alexandra Bird Wing; with wingspans of up to 28cm). Visitor participation in traditional daily life is welcomed by the local villagers, who will happily show travellers how to build traditional homes and canoes from sago palms, and how to hunt and gather for food.

Fly to: Alotau or Tufi

Stay at: Alotau International Resort, Driftwood Resort, Tawali Leisure & Dive Resort, Tufi Resort

Exploring Papua New Guinea’s North Coast

This surfing hotspot is also a fishing and diving / snorkelling paradise. Stretching for over 500km, the northern coastline of Papua New Guinea’s mainland is as chilled-out as it comes. Here you’ll find sleepy port towns and seaside villages that offer the perfect respite for those who’ve just adventured to the nearby highlands or Sepik River. Spend the day paddling across aqua-clear waters to nearby deserted islands, explore local caves and waterfalls, or tuck into some fresh locally-caught seafood.

Fly to: Madang, Wewak or Vanimo

Stay at: Madang Resort, Tupira Surf Club, Paradise New Wewak, Vanimo Surf Lodge

Stopping over in Port Moresby

Most visitors to Papua New Guinea explore beyond the mostly commercial and government hub of Port Moresby. That being said, if domestic and international flight schedules don’t align, then a stopover in the country’s capital is worth considering. This once sleepy town is fast growing into a thriving metropolis, with a vast construction programme underway to upgrade the city’s infrastructure and transform its waterfront. In 2018 the city played host to global leaders for the APEC Summit, and as such an array of world-class luxury hotels exist, including Airways, Hilton and The Stanley Hotel & Suites. A selection of well-appointed three and four star properties are also on offer. All hotels offer complimentary airport shuttle services, and from wherever your clients choose to stay, transportation to the city’s popular Nature Park (home to 550 native animals and hundreds of plant species) and nearby Bomana War Cemetery (where the remains of 3,824 Commonwealth soldiers lay) can easily be arranged.

Those with a bit more time, should consider Loloata Private Island Resort – only 40 minutes from Port Moresby’s Jacksons International Airport. Opened in 2019, this exclusive and luxury resort offers overwater suites and villas, as well as tours to over 30 nearby dive sites.

Fly to: Madang, Wewak or Vanimo

Stay at: Madang Resort, Tupira Surf Club, Paradise New Wewak, Vanimo Surf Lodge

Cruising

Large ship cruising is a popular way for first-timers to experience Papua New Guinea. The country features on the itineraries of numerous well-known cruise lines, including P&O, Princess, Carnival, Cunard and Silversea. Whether part of a round-the-world itinerary, voyage across the South Pacific or even a dedicated cruise around Papua New Guinea’s shores, calling in cruise ships are becoming more frequent. Dedicated itineraries tend to depart ex Brisbane or ex Sydney. Popular ports of call include Rabaul, Kavieng, Madang, Milne Bay (Alotau), Kiriwina Island, the Trobriand Islands and the Conflict Islands.

There are also a number of small expedition ships that call into Papua New Guinea each year, many offering specialised tours to the most remote parts of the country. Coral Expeditions, True North, Heritage Expeditions and Linblad Expeditions are some of the small cruise brands that offer such itineraries.

Diving & Snorkeling

Papua New Guinea is regarded by pro divers as one of the best dive destinations in the world. Home to pristine reefs, countless plane and ship wrecks, and hundreds of untouched atolls, Papua New Guinea’s islands and coastal regions are a divers and snorkelers paradise. Dive down to a fully intact Japanese Zero fighter plane, visit the original “Muck Diving” site that put PNG on the map, and swim amongst hammerheads and moray eels in the spectacular drop-offs of the country’s fjords. And when the day is done, or if you need a rest day, there’s so many natural wonders to explore and cultural experiences to be had. Your clients can even choose from a range of specialist dive resorts, or even liveaboard a dive boat.

Best time to dive: Year-Round (optimal times vary between locations)

Stay at: Kokopo Beach Bungalow Resort, Lissenung Island Resort, Loloata Private Island Resort, Madang Resort, MV FeBrina, MV Oceania, Nusa Island Retreat, Rapopo Plantation Resort, Tawali Leisure & Dive Resort, Tufi Resort, Walindi Plantation Resort

Surfing

Forget Bali with its overcrowded beaches; head next door to Papua New Guinea, where near-empty surf breaks await. Thanks to the country’s world-renowned Surf Management Plan, the number of surfers on any one break is capped, so you’ll never be stuck waiting to catch the perfect wave. Surfing is idolised in Papua New Guinea, as are visiting pro surfers. You’ll be just as likely to see locals surfing on hand-carved planks of timber, as you will Taylor Jensen (who won the 2017 Men’s Kumul PNG World Longboard Championships). Or even no one at all! And when you’re done for the day, there’s plenty of islands, waterfalls, caves and volcanoes to explore.

Best time to surf: November – April

Stay at: Nusa Island Retreat, Rubio Plantation, Tupira Surf Club, Vanimo Surf Lodge

Fishing

Papua New Guinea’s untouched rivers and lakes, and isolated coastal waters, offer some of the best lures in the world. From the challenge of catching a ‘lure shy’ Papua New Guinea Black Bass in remote rainforest-lined rivers, to showing off a prized Dogtooth Tuna or Marlin catch out at sea, Papua New Guinea has got to be on the bucket list of all fishing enthusiasts.

Best time to fish: Year-Round (optimal times vary between locations)

Stay at: Baia Sportfishing Lodge, Bensbach Wildlife Lodge, Lake Murray Lodge, Liamo Reef Resort, MV K20, MV Ultimate One, Uluai Island Bungalows