Apart from the dream beaches, picturesque waterfalls and jaw-dropping views, the salty waters of Papua New Guinea offer a wide array of activities like sailing, yachting, kayaking, rafting, surfing and swimming. The underwater world teems with rainbow gardens, diverse marine life and coral outcrops that promote the world`s top class diving locations, even for the most demanding scuba divers.
These are best islands in Papua New Guinea for luxury cruise holidays combined with fabulous diving adventures!
The Bismarck Islands, sitting right between the Bismarck and Salomon Seas and the North Pacific, features the largest offshore islands in New Guinea – NEW IRELAND and NEW BRITAIN.
New Britain has got a well-developed tourism infrastructure and there is plenty to do and see.
The smoking Mount Tavurvu is the top highlight of the Gazelle Peninsula and it is the most active volcano in the Rabaul caldera. Taking an evening boat trip around Mt Tavurvu offers grand views of this eerie giant and the opportunity to dip in its hot springs. The contrast in colours here is unbelievable!
Kimbe Bay, well-known for the saltwater crocodile resting in the turquoise waters of the bay, is the favourite amongst scuba divers. The seas here support an outstanding marine habitat and extraordinary biodiversity. This protected area is home to sharks, dolphins, whales, rays, turtles and crocodiles. Kimbe Bay is surrounded by imposing volcanic cones and verdant foliage, and the surrounding cocoa and coconut plantations amplify the exoticity.
New Ireland provides excellent jungle hikes and surf beaches with consistent south-east winds in both, New Britain and New Ireland Islands, creating conditions for sensational surf.
With an exceptional ecosystem, the Trobriand archipelago makes an important conservation area. The indigenous people still practice black magic and the island is often called the “Islands of Love” for having peculiar relationship customs and fairly benevolent attitude to the sexual affairs.
‘All that glitters is not gold’. In fact, the leniency in morality in the Trobriand Islands and free sexuality resulted in the nation facing some of the world`s highest HIV rate. So, the male gender is highly recommended not to let themselves be fooled by the dream of topless, ever smiling bush ladies willing to make them happy anytime and anywhere. 🙂
However, it is not anymore the local culture which has been attracting (predominantly) the male visitors for decades to the Trobriand Islands. Today, the coral-rich atolls are the main reason to visit the isles. The islands of KITAVA & KIRIWINA are often visited for their picturesque villages, dazzling markets and vibrant festivals but also snorkelling and scuba diving.
The Louisiades truly is a heaven. The large string of volcanic islands was blessed with marvellous coral reefs and ample marine life. Fans of ‘underocean’ can take delight in numerous world-class diving spots, and there is a good news for all boat lovers – this place has recently become a yachting paradise.
The only way how to move around the islets is a vessel – canoe, long boat, sailing ship or a yacht. Hence bring your own transport!
This stunning archipelago is situated just off the very bottom of the country`s “tail”, not far from the shores of the south-east Papua. The three principal FERGUSSON, GOODENOUGH and NORMANBY ISLANDS are closely related to the World War II. since they were the focus of military activity, especially between Australia and Japan.
This trio of islands has much in common, including history, scenery and their character. Thanks to the high volcanic activity the landscapes are formed by conical volcanoes, vast geothermal areas with hot springs, bubbling mud pools and geysers. Under the fuming domes, the deep seabed is hiding some of the most precious shell pearls, and it not the only treasure of this archipelago; gold and minerals have been charming the foreigners for centuries.
The D`Entrecasteaux Islands were given a nickname “The Last Eden” perhaps because it is the least visited and spoiled island group of Papua.
Apart from the world`s largest copper deposits, it is gold and timber which stand in focus of the Western world. Tourism, however, little cares about these and enjoys other treasures of the archipelago. Volcanoes and atolls are the highlights.
The close proximity to the popular Solomon Islands makes the Bougainville a much-visited stopover, especially when it comes to luxurious cruises. After the Mount Balbi (2685 m) hike – the highest point, the visitors can pay respect to the infamous Morgan Junction and learn more about the jungle-covered wartime-secrets, as well as inspect other important WWII sites.
Benua Cave, Lake Lahala, Numa Numa Trail (62 km), Buka Island and Takuu Atoll are among the top nature attractions.
Other activities are snorkelling & scuba diving (Buka Passage is filled with WWII wrecks), bird watching and eco-tourism (one of the following – Mona and Reed Festivals – should definitely be on your itinerary).
The pearl of the Solomon Sea and one of the most visited holiday destinations – the celebrated Solomon Islands. World-class diving, rare wildlife, fascinating WWII sites, tribal culture, brilliant surfing, but most importantly – paradisiacal islands. Most of the Pacific cruise ships take a stopover as it would be a shame to skip such idyllic place.
Uepi Lagoon, Sikaiana Atoll, Reef Islands, any many other splendid lagoons provide fantastic diving & snorkelling locations. Besides, jungle trekking, waterfall swimming and birdlife spotting and tribal encounters are incorporated in most of the package tours.
The Skull Island attracts with skulls of the vanished headhunters, Bonegi is considered to have the best beach and Honiara – the capital city, offers an insight into the rich history of the Salomon Islands (Vilu War Museum, US War Memorial, WWII Museum) but also dazzling markets, e.g. Central Market.
It is always advisable to inquire about the safety situation in PNG or in any location you intend to visit due to the criminal gangs and tribal conflicts.
Malaria pills and vaccination against the Yellow Fever is strongly recommended and some countries such as Australia even request all visitors get immunised prior the entry to PNG.
WHEN TO TRAVEL
Papua New Guinea has an unpredictable weather and heavy rains can occur at any time. The wet season generally runs from December to March and it is definitely not the ideal time to travel for sunshine, hiking and snorkelling. However, these months would be the best to find the perfect waves off the north coast for surfing.
The most pleasant time of the year to visit is during the dry months which are between May and October and most festivals take place within this period and there are the best conditions for scuba diving, bird watching and trekking.
HOW TO GET THERE
There are two Australian airlines that fly into Port Moresby – Virgin Australia and Qantas.
Air Niugini is the national carrier of Papua New Guinea connecting several island airports.
You can get affordable flights but there will be two or three stopovers: London to Singapore to Brisbane to Papua New Guinea. Most flights from Asia such as London to Manila to Papua New Guinea have fewer stopovers and therefore faster.
For all international flights check out www.skyscanner.com or www.momondo.com
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