Scuba Diving In Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is located in the Coral Triangle, the centre of marine biodiversity which has the highest diversity of tropical fish and coral in the world. It may just be travel’s best-kept secret that these parts of PNG are home to some of the world’s best dive and snorkel sites, incredible sports fishing, uncrowded surf breaks, and heart-warming marine conservation programmes and of course a unique array of tribes and cultural events.
The coastal regions and islands of PNG include pristine shorelines, fiery active volcanoes, spectacular fjords and 600-plus mostly-deserted islands. This area covers the mainland provinces of East Sepik, Madang, Morobe and West Sepik, as well as the island provinces of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, East New Britain, Manus, New Ireland and West New Britain.
PNG also offers some of the most stunning and untouched reefs in the world, in fact, most of the time, your boat will be the only one out diving the area that day. We’ve rounded up some of the best dive sites from some of PNG’s top-rated dive regions in the country.
Kimbe Bay within West New Britain province has over 40 different sites to choose from and offers a variety of different sorts of dives – underwater sea-mounts, unbelievable sheer walls, fabulous coral gardens, huge fans and funky critters. Walindi Plantation Resort has three purpose-built day boats to take guests out diving and snorkelling the wonderful waters of the bay.
Bradford Shoals is a dive site of the sea mount type, an isolated reef on the outer edge of Kimbe Bay that rises from considerable depths to within 20m of the surface. The reef structure is predominantly flat plates of hard corals, and adaptation allows maximum utilisation of the reduced sunlight at that depth. The reef slopes downward from its twin summits to a lip at about 27m, after which the drop is almost sheer vertical.
Milne Bay diving really put Papua New Guinea on the map as a diver’s paradise. With World War Two wrecks in the area, such as the Black Jack B17F Flying Fortress bomber just off the beach at Cape Vogel and some of the superb reefs, it’s easy to understand Milne Bay is on the ‘must do’ list for most divers. Tawali Leisure and Dive Resort are located in a secluded area of Milne Bay among local fishing villages and accessible only by boat.
The term ‘muck diving’ originated in Papua New Guinea and it was in Milne Bay, at Dinah’s beach, that muck diving was born. Recognized as one of the top macro dive sites in the world, you will find blue ribbon eels, manta shrimps, cockatoo waspfish, cuttlefish, nudibranchs, ghost pipefish, and so much more.
Kavieng, found on the tip of New Ireland, is best known for reef sharks and semi-pelagic fish like dog-tooth tuna, Spanish mackerel, and barracuda. It is also home to beautiful fans, soft corals and sponges, which thrive in the often-vigorous currents, as well as some incredible World War Two wrecks. Spend your time falling in love with Lissenung Resort, which also runs a turtle conservation programme every year to help protect the local population.
Albatross Passage is a must-dive in Kavieng. Eagle rays, whitetip, blacktip and grey reef sharks, big tuna, jacks, barracuda and even sometimes Mobula rays can be seen here. And if you’ve had enough of all the big stuff, just turn towards the wall, beautifully over-grown with fan coral, black coral, sponges as well as little creatures such as nudibranchs, leaf scorpionfish and pygmy seahorse.
Divers Guide To Papua New Guinea
Travel – Papua New Guinea is accessed by international flights into Jacksons International Airport, in Port Moresby. The national airline, Air Niugini, services direct flights between Australia and Asia. From there you are able to fly to regional areas with Air Niugini or PNG Air. Air travel is the best way to travel around Papua New Guinea.
When to Dive – You can dive Papua New Guinea year-round, however, the peak season is between May and November. The temperatures averages about 26C along the edge of the Coral Sea and 31C in the Bismark Sea.
Visas – Tourist Visas are available for most nationalities, you can find up to date information via the website. Tourists are welcomed in Papua New Guinea with open arms and big smiles.
Madang Resort – You are spoilt for choice when it comes to dive spots, with 18 amazing reefs and wrecks to choose from. You can dive amazing wrecks from World War Two, an American Liberty Ship, an incredible coral ‘chimney’ or around an island with an active volcano.
Tufi Resort – Nestled in the breathtaking fjords, Tufi Resort will blow you away as soon as you arrive. Tufi offers amazing marine diversity and a variety of diving experiences, including fjord, reef and wreck diving.
Kokopo Beach Bungalow Resort – Here you will find an array of war history dives such as a Japanese Mitsubishi F1M1 Naval Type ‘O’ observation seaplane, a long-range reconnaissance aircraft with two machine guns mounted for hand operation.
Find more inspiration for your dive trips this year in the Ultimate Divers Guide.