Papua New Guinea is undoubtedly one of the best places left on our planet to find places where primary rainforest, rich in birdlife and other unique species, meets colourful healthy coral reef full of fish. Many of these locations are very remote, with difficult access and nowhere to stay. Central New Britain is not one of these. Here we can accommodate you in comfort, take you to explore the rainforest with local expert guides and take you diving or snorkelling on some very special coral reefs.
The draft itinerary you can click to provides a balance between exploring rainforest and marine life - one of our classic Best of Above & Below itineraries. If your focus is more on one or the other, then just Contact Us to discuss and we can adjust your itinerary to suit.
Marine Life of Kimbe Bay
Coral Reefs, Sharks, Pygmy Seahorses ...
Kimbe Bay is special. First of all, it is located in what is known as South East Asia's Coral Triangle. This zone, shared between Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines, is simply the planet's most diverse for coral and reef fish species. Whilst many parts of Indonesia and the Philippines have suffered considerable damage through reef bombing and cyanide fishing, we have not so far found any evidence of this in Papua New Guinea.
Focusing specifically on Kimbe Bay we have an area which experiences very little seasonal wind or wave damage. This is because it is protected from the south by the main island land mass; the west is protected by a long peninsula, along which we find several very attractive volcanoes; to the north the Witu islands provide some protection; and to the east New Ireland blocks anything large coming in from the Pacific Ocean.
As you fly over Kimbe Bay, you see beneath you a series of patch reefs which are in extremely good condition - covered in healthy colourful corals and sponges. Upon close inspection, you can find vast numbers of colourful reef fish, cuttlefish, friendly turtles, reef sharks and sometimes larger sharks such as hammerheads and reef manta rays. For those who like to explore the smaller marine life, you will find no limit to possibilities with pygmy seahorses, hundreds of nudibranchs, flatworks, ribbon eels, Mandarin fish and more. This is a paradise for underwater photographers, as well as free swimming gazers.
Scuba diving here is fantastic and we can take you out up to three times per day. For snorkelers, these patch reefs start very shallow - even above the water at low tide. They also provide reef walls you can descend as far as you please for a deeper view.
Rainforests, Endemic Birds & World War 2 History
The peninsula which defines the western shores of Kimbe Bay has been created by a line of volcanoes which are still active. Close to shore, local farmers grow crops which include coconuts, palm oil, taro, yams, bananas, breadfruit and cassava. Behind, primary rainforest towers to the peaks of the volcanoes where we can watch ash and sulphur billowing into the sky.
For those keen to see New Britain's fantastic birdlife, including endemics such as the very rare Golden Masked Owl and New Britain Goshawk, your focus can be on the forest and its fringes, led by local expert natural history and birdwatching guides. We can also divert you to see the wrecks of World War II planes which landed in the midst of rainforest, or local villages.
For the more energetic, we can take you on a trek to the crater of an active volcano. As we get closer, ash begins to cover vegetation and ash mud beneath your feet gets thicker. The edge of vegetation marks the limit of how far we can practically and safely go, but you can really feel the tectonic power of the mountain beneath the ash cloud that reaches up into the sky. En route, we find some huge buttressed trees, ornate fungi and insects and constantly see and hear above us flocks of Blyth's Hornbills, colourful parrots and noisy Yellow-eyed Cockatoos.
This journey can easily be combined with other locations within Papua New Guinea. Please Contact Us to discuss.
8 Day Sample Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive Port Moresby
Arrive Port Moresby where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Overnight in Port Moresby. You will be staying on a b&b basis, but there are several great food options on site.
Day 2: Port Moreby to New Britain
You will be transferred from the hotel to Port Moresby airport.
Fly Port Moresby to Hoskins airport in central New Britain.
You will be met upon arrival and transferred about 1 ½ hours to your coastal lodge. You will pass through some old established palm oil plantations which are considered some of the most 'sustainable' in the world, except of course that they replace what was once rainforest.
You will be staying at a lovely coastal lodge where the width of plantation narrows significantly. Beyond the lodge, a peninsula made up of volcanoes stretches out into the Bismarck Sea, creating a giant protected bay to the east over which you will look.
After checking into your room, you will be able to wander some long-established gardens where many birds can be seen, including the very colourful Eclectic parrot.
All meals are included here.
Day 3: Coral Reefs of Kimbe Bay
Today you will head out into Kimbe Bay for morning and afternoon snorkelling or scuba diving. Your earlier focus will be the clear blue waters further out, whilst you are likely to make your last dive / snorkel at a lush green island where there is excellent fringing reef, though usually in water with lower visibility.
Day 4: New Britain Rainforests or Coral Reefs
Dedicated divers will head out for 3 dives today.
Non-divers can explore the rainforests of New Britain with morning and afternoon guided nature walks and birdwatching.
Day 5: Exploring Kimbe Bay
Another day out into Kimbe Bay for snorkelling or diving.
Day 6: Exploring Kimbe Bay
Dedicated divers will catch up on the rainforest and birdwatching missed on Day 4.
Otherwise, a half day of casual birdwatching and a ½ day trip to see the World War 2 plane wrecks of the Talasea Peninsula.
Other options include taking a guided rainforest trek to the edge of volcanic peak (alternatives may be subject to additional cost - please enquire).
Day 7: Return to Port Moresby
You will be driven back to Hoskins airport.
Fly Hoskins to Port Moresby.
Overnight in Port Moresby.
Day 8: Depart Port Moresby
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.
8 day sample itinerary (extendable)
Price per person sharing (based on 2 people travelling)
Diving version: with 3 days including 10 dives add US$399 pp
- All accommodation
- Land transfers
- All meals on New Britain
- Breakfasts in Port Moresby
- Excursions as per sample itinerary
- Dive / snorkel kit rental
- Specialist birding guides
- Activities and items not listed
- NITROX (US$10 / dive)