Snorkelers Paradise – 5 Of The Best Beaches In Papua New Guinea
If you either live in the South Pacific or are planning a visit to that side of the planet, any beach lover worth their salt needs to put Papua New Guinea on their bucket list. This goes double for any divers out there. Yes, it’s off the beaten track and won’t be necessarily easy to get to (most of these locations are accessible by internal flights, however). You may need to do your homework on the area and its amenities, but it will be worth it.
Here are just five of the areas to put on your tour list of Papua New Guinea…
#1 – TUFI
Fjords in the tropics? Yes, you are reading this correctly. Tufi is not known as the “Scandinavia of the Tropics” for nothing.
To be found in the east of Papua New Guinea, this remote delight is surrounded by mountains and 250 miles of coral reefs.
Fish, dive, snorkel to your heart’s content in the Soloman Sea and hike through the neighboring rainforests, before relaxing on the beautiful white sand beaches and fjords.
This place has more fish than you can shake a (sharpened) stick at swimming in the crystal clear waters. Mackarel, tuna, barracuda and also rare fish like the white hammerhead can all be found here.
Diving is all year round in Tufi resort, and the activities that you can indulge in are numerous… ideal for fishing, kayaking, other types of boating, or simply enjoying being on the perfect beaches.
Bird watchers are also in luck, as well as anyone who likes coastal walks or classic beach holidays.
Reviews from holidaymakers who have been to Tufi make happy reading. This seems like paradise, but with modern conveniences available in the local resorts. The cuisine is mainly seafood (as you would imagine) and fruits.
This place is a getaway and retreat from the world. It’s not Ibiza or a party capital (although there are restaurants and a bar)
If you like your holidays active you are in luck, but likewise if you want complete relaxation.
#2 – RABAUL
Located on the island of New Britain, Rabaul is popular with tourists because of its volcanoes. It was an eruption in 1878 that led to the creation of the volcano in the harbor.
Since a major eruption in 1994, Rabaul old town was practically destroyed. It certainly makes for a surreal sort of atmosphere… a desolated town with a backdrop of smoking volcanoes. This is certainly a beach holiday with a difference.
Aside from the uncanny atmosphere and volcano spotting, what else is there in Rabaul for ardent beach lovers? Well, just about everything… diving in the harbor for one. Fish include starfish and clownfish. Apparently there are also wrecks that can be explored in the waters (if you are a certified deep sea diver) of old planes from World War II, and who knows what else beside. For those who are less experienced, maybe snorkel or simply swim and explore without going under the waves.
History is a big part of coming to Rabaul, so make sure you explore it properly. It’s not just the volcanic eruptions, but all the World War II history, including the Japanese tunnels and war memorial.
Amongst the things to do are snorkeling, scuba diving as well as walking and hiking. There’s quite a range of places to stay, and if you’re feeling energetic you might consider climbing Mt. Mother which is 700 ft, and can be accessed from Matalau village.
Getting there is best by internal flights from the capital city Port Moresby.
#3 – KIMBE BAY
Also located on the island of New Britain, Kimbe is well known as a first rate dive resort. Famous for having at the last count, over 400 different types of coral, this is the place to scuba dive and perfect your underwater photography skills (if you have them)!
As well as fantastic coral to be seen, and great diving and snorkelling, there is also a richness of birdlife in Kimbe. If the names island monarch, beach kingfisher, nicobar pigeon, blue eyed cockatoos and Mackinlay’s cuckoo-dove mean anything to you, then Kimbe Bay should be on your destination list.
Birds aren’t the only species of note you can see, Kimbe also is home to the world’s largest moth!
Surrounded by active volcanoes, there is more to Kimbe than “just” the diving, although this could easily take up all your time if you wanted it to.
Other things to do could be a little further inland, in the hot springs/rivers, which are both stunning and exhilarating to experience.
The resort has plenty of high class accommodation with bungalows being available for hire, although there is also less expensive options out there.
#4 – ALOTAU
Situated in southeast Papua New Guinea, this is in the Milne Bay region of the country. Like other parts of Papua New Guinea, Alotau is famed for its coral reef and is a fantastic place to scuba dive, as well as all other types of diving.
English is spoken widely (like in most of Papua New Guinea) and Alotau offers a gateway out to the islands of Milne Bay. Tours are available to take you out to them and of course there are plenty of expeditions dedicated to snorkeling in the clear blue water. There’s varying accommodation to choose from, ranging from hostels to something a bit more comfortable, depending on your needs and price range.
Every year a canoe festival is held, celebrating both the canoe and the kundu drums, used by traditional warriors, complete with lots of dancing! This is in November so if you are planning a trip around that time of year, you should make sure you get to it.
Other activities include fishing trips, and of course, hiking, touring, and just plain beach bumming.
#5 – KAVIENG
On the very edge of the most northerly part of New Ireland is Caving. This offers a fascinating blend of beauty and history for visitors. Of course, like plenty of other parts of Papua New Guinea, it has clear waters, fantastic diving potential of all types – indeed it would be a shame not to do diving of some description, in waters like this. Many tours operate in the area offering parties around the Balgai Bay region. Recently the area has become popular with surfers as well.
But the natural world is not all there is on display here, like so many other parts of the country, Kavieng has ghosts everywhere. Wrecks dating from World War II are all around, and just waiting to be explored.