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New Guinea Islands Region Attractions

This region is made up of people from East and West New Britain, Manus, New Ireland and North Solomons. The people from East New Britain have been seen as culturally diversified with rich and unique traditions. The  “tumbuan” signifies spiritual dancers and traditional ceremonies that demonstrates a history well kept and used in today’s society. The NGI region has a tropical humid climate.Temperature  would normally be between 24 and 32 degree Celsius, and drop to 20 degree Celsius during wetter months.

All basic infrastructures can be found in all the four provinces of this region. Banks, hospitals, police, shops, market, internet cafes, coffee shops, restaurants, meeting venues, public transport, security services, telephones and other communication technology including mobile phones work in most parts of the provinces.

East New Britain Province

The capital of the province is Kokopo , not far from the old capital of Rabaul, which was largely destroyed in a 1994 volcanic eruption. East New Britain covers a total land area of 15,816 square kilometres , and the province has an estimated population of 220,133 (2000 census). East New Britain has a dual economy: a cash economy operates side by side with the subsistence farming sector. The main crops produced for are cocoa and copra. Tourism continues to be an increasingly important sector of the provincial economy.

Things to see

  • Kokopo: After the eruption of Tavurvur and Vulcan in September 1994, most Rabaul services were relocated in Kokopo, along the edge of Blanche Bay. The town has grown rapidly and the busy market is located on the main road from Tokua Airport. The waterfront is the place to find boats to travel to the outer islands or for a spot of fishing.
  • East New Britain Historical & Cultural Centre: Located across the road from golf course, this has good displays and collections of historical relics and photographs. Open 8am-1pm and 2pm-4pm week days; 1pm-5pm weekends.
  • Vunapope Catholic Mission: Pleasant views and old colonial buildings in the hospital grounds are interesting. The mission is located at the eastern end of Kokopo.
  • Bitapaka War Cemetery: The graves of over 1000 allied war dead are in these grounds and gardens. Turn off the coast road past Vunapope.
  • Malmaluan Lookout: Fantastic views over the volcanos surrounding Simpson Harbour can be enjoyed from inland highpoint. Take Burma Road, off the Kokopo-Rabaul Road.
  • Japanese Barge Tunnels: At Karavia Bay between Kaluana Point and Vulcan are a network of tunnels and tracks connecting barges and buildings dating back to the war. In the main tunnel are five barges lined up end to end. Take a torch.
  • Rabaul: Some parts of Rabaul still function but most of it remains an eerie desolate wasteland covered by ash. Simpson Harbour is still the main port, guarded by the grumbling volcanoes. A market and a few shops still operate at the eastern end of town.
  • Tunnels and war relics: Some of the 580km of tunnels built by the Japanese are still open. Aircraft wreckage is found beyond the old airport.
  • Duke of York Islands: These beautiful islands are easily visited. Some have accommodation, and swimming, snorkelling and canoeing are good.
  • National Mask Festival: This is one of the premier cultural festivity showcasing the mask and rituals of the spirit worlds. Held every July on yearly basis.

Things to do:

  • Diving and snorkelling: In Simpson Harbour there are World War II boat and plane wrecks, good walls, and the Beehives (a small group of craggy islands) to explore. At Tavui Point is Submarine Base where Japanese subs pulled right up to the edge of the reef. It’s superb for snorkelling on the flat coral beds. Most resorts can arrange dive trips.
  • Climb a volcano: New Britain is dominated by volcanoes, some still bellowing great clouds of black ash-laden smoke. All the volcanoes except Tavurvur, can be climbed, but heavy rain can make the ground slippery. Vulcan is best tackled on the northern side. Take plenty of water.
  • Canoeing: Niugin Eco Tourism Services can arrange paddling experiences around the Duke of York Islands.
  • Fishing: Sport fishing for blue and black marlin, sail fish and dog-tooth tuna is good in the waters around New Britain and the Duke of York Islands.  The Blanche Bay area is good for casual line casting. Boats operate from Rabaul and hotel and guesthouses can organise trips.
  • Swimming: Beaches near Kokopo are good and there are good beaches at Pila Pila and Ratung villages in Talili Bay north of Rabaul.
  • Trekking: Suggested areas are the Bainings Mountains, the Pomio area, where you can walk from Pomio to Navu, and the Wide Bay area, walking between Milim and Sampun or Tokua and Merai.

Manus Province
The isolated volcanic group of Manus is the country’s smallest province. It is densely forested, although many of the smaller islands have been cleared for coconut plantations. The group’s largest island, Manus, is known for the huge limestone caves at its centre. The northern coast of the island is bordered by a reef and the diving is superb, with a huge variety of marine life and wartime wrecks.

Things to see

  • Lorengau: Most of the town’s main services and the market are near the wharf. The airport is located at Los Negros Island, which is joined to Manus by the American during World War II.
  • Lonui Passage and Cave: The cave is near the passage and is best located by asking your hotel.
  • War relics: Many rusting relics are visible at Lombrum which was a huge American naval base during World War II.
  • Culture: The Manus Provincial Show is held in late August or you might see traditional dancing at Buyang, a village at the centre of the island.

Things to do

  • Diving and snorkelling: Most of the north coast is bordered with reef and has excellent visibility, and huge variety of corals, fish and wartime wrecks, Andra and Ahus islands off the north coast are also good, and there is accommodation at Palankowou Guesthouse.
  • Swimming: For a fresh water dip, the best place is the waterfall and swimming hole about 5km up to Lorengau River from town. Good beaches are Salamei on Rarah Island and Tulu on the north coast.
  • Fishing: Hire a boat and head out from the harbour. Anywhere along the coast should be rewarding.
  • Island hopping: Boats run regularly to the outer island such as Andra and Ahus, and Lou Island, an old volcanoe with hot springs.

New Ireland Province
North of New Britain in the Bismarck Archipelago, this long narrow island group has a stunning coastline with white sand beaches and excellent surfing, fishing and diving. The main centre is the port of Kavieng, which sits at the head of a large and beautiful harbour overlooking Nusa Island. The ancient art of ‘shark calling’ is still practised on the west coast. The Buluminski Highway travels from one end of the island to the other affording spectacular views along the way.

Things to see

  • Kavieng: Sea breezes keep Kavieng cool and it’s a pretty place to wander around. Along the waterfront you’ll find the market, the port, a fishery, and the hospital. Across the harbour is Nusa Island.
  • Artefacts: The island people are skilled canoeists and carvers. Collections of Malangan carvings can be seen at the Kavieng Hotel and Malagan Beach Resort. Carvers can be seen at Libba Village near Konos. The local people on Nusa Island manufacture most of the beautiful jewellery. You can visit the village and buy direct. Nusa Island Retreat also has an extensive range of PNG and New Ireland artefacts available for sale.
  • Offshore Islands: The many small islands sheltering the harbour have good swimming and snorkelling, and some have accommodations. You can travel out by dinghy.
  • Festivals: Held late June or early July, the Luka Barok festival celebrates old rituals and includes shark-calling and feasting. The Malangan Show and Independence Day celebrations are held in mid-September.
  • Shark-calling: The traditional art of calling sharks is practised along the coast of New Ireland particularly on the west coast around Kontu and Tabar villages.

Things to do

  • Diving and snorkelling: War wrecks, big fish, coral and sharks are some of the things to be seen here. Dive operators include Lissenung Island Resort, Mansava Adventure Lodge on Tsoi Island. Scuba Ventures and Nlusla Island Retreat also available.
  • Fishing: Fishing gear and services can be hired from Kavieng Hote, Nusa Island Resort and Palagic Pursuits.
  • Surfing: There are many good breaks close to town, accessible by boat or vehicle. Nusa Island Retreat, based on Nusa Lik Island, has accommodation and caters for surfers.
  • Canoeing: Canoes and paddlers can be hired from the beachfront in Kavieng or hire an outrigger from the Malagan Beach Resort. Nusa Island Retreat and Mansava Adventure Lodge offer traditional canoeing.
  • Golf: The nine-hole golf course lies between Tabar Terrace and Tanga Street and the Golf Club is located on Coronation Street. Golf clubs can be hired from Kavieng Hotel.
  • Cycling: Kavieng’s flat terrain is ideal for cycling and there is little motorised traffic. Bicycles can be hired from the Kavieng Hotel and Malangan Beach Hotel. There is guesthouse accommodation along the Boluuminski Highway.
  • Kayaking: Single and double sea kayaks can be hired at Nusa Island Retreat– a beautiful way to see the harbour and islands. Day and overnight options are available.

North Solomons Province
This remote province comprises Buka, Sohano and Bougainville Island and string of smaller atolls. Buka is the provincial capital and has good fishing, snorkelling and swimming in the clear waters of the Buka Passage. The volcanic island of Bougainville is home to one of the world’s largest cave, Benua. The province is the key producer of copra and cocoa.

Things to see

  • Buka: Shops and services for the town are along the main waterfront and you’ll find the market and water taxis at the edge of deep Buka Passage, which is now the port.
  • Arts and crafts: Look out for the intricately and skilfully woven Buka baskets made from jungle vine.
  • Sohano Island: Located a few minutes by boat from Buka, this former provincial government still has colonial-period buildings. The steep cliffs provide fine views over Buka Passage and back to Buka.

Things to do

  • Snorkelling: Buka Passage is good but be aware of the strong currents and get local advice, or try the many little islands near the southern end of the passage.
  • Offshore islands: These are great for swimming and fishing, and boats go out regularly.
  • Walking: Trails just outside town are pleasant but take a local.
  • Swimming: The outer islands of the North Solomons are known for their idyllic white sand beaches, and perfect for relaxing in the sun.

West New Britain Province
In contrast to East New Britain, this province is sparsely populated and relatively undeveloped, with vast areas of pristine rainforest. The local economy is mainly supported by forestry and palm oil production. The area has the country’s largest collection of volcanoes. The capital is Kimbe, and there is a superb diving at Kimbe Bay.

Things to see

  • Kimbe: This provincial centre services the large palm oil industry and has a hospital, banks, post office and shops.
  • Talasea: Located on the Willaumez Peninsula this little town looks out across the bay to many islands. The whole peninsula is volcanically active and within the town area there are bubbling mud pools.
  • Pangula Island: Opposite Talasea, the island is home to the Valley of Wabua (Valley of Hot Water), with its thermal geysers and fumaroles. War wrecks: Wrecks of two US bombers, one of them a B-24 Liberator, lie in the hills behind Talasea.
  • Volcanic areas: There are several extinct volcanoes around Hoskins and an active geyser field at Koimumu, a short way inland. At Mt Pago, an active volcano about an hour east of Hoskins, Pakili Wildlife Management Area has steaming mud pools and geysers.

Things to do

  • Diving and Snorkelling: Kimbe Bay is famous for its huge corals, big fish and caves. Land-based diving is base at Walindi Plantation Resort, which has a live-aboard, the MV Febrina, and with Dive Hoskins at Palm Lodge Hoskins. Snorkelling is good at Walindi.
  • Fishing: Big fish found off Kimbe Bay are blue and black marlin, sail fish and dog-tooth tuna, while the waterways around Kandrian and Talasea are known for spot-tail bass.
  • Trekking: There is good trekking around Cape Gloucester where Mount Langila is still rumbling gently. You can walk along the beautiful Kandrian coast to Eseli, staying in guesthouses. From Talasea, walk out to Cape Hollman on the Willaumez Peninsula. Lake Dakataua, at the end of the peninsula, is a picturesque spot to explore

 

2012 Traditional Sing-sings and Festivities:

 2012 Mt Hagen Show Pkgs

 2012 Goroka Show Pkgs

 2012 Morobe Show Pkgs

 2012 PNG Mask Festival

 2012 Waghi Show Pkgs

 

Be ware! Good accommodations for the Mt Hagen Show and Goroka Shows are usually sold out months and years in advance before the actual dates of the shows. Its advisable to book early and secure your rooms. To secure your space for any of the packages on offer send us an email or call us on +675 5423552.

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You can request a tailore-made itinerary through our Tailored Tours Form. Our tailor-made programs can suit any budget, duration and places of interest. Call us on +675 5423552 or send us an email at sales@letpng.com.

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Curious Islanders looking out in the ocean for an oncoming cruise ship in New Ireland Province.

 

 
 
   
   
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