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 great 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.