Papua New Guinea: North New Britain
11 Days / 10 Nights / 34 Dives
Exploring the most popular itinerary in Papua New Guinea.
We begin our adventure in Papua New Guinea, in the town of Rabaul. Board in the evening and enjoy a relaxing dinner while you meet the other guests and crew before we depart for our adventure.
We spend our first day traversing from Rabaul towards the west. The harbour in this area contains a fleet of ships and planes wrecked during World War II. And because there are so few visitors to this end of New Britain island, the reefs are vibrant and dynamic. The area is particularly well known for invertebrate lovers and has some unique shell life endemic to Papua New Guinea.
Between Rabaul and Kimbe Bay are a series of reefs in the open ocean, known as Father's Reef. The reef tops are shallow, making this a perfect spot for snorkelling as well as diving, and the pinnacles drop off deep into the abyss offering more challenging dives for intermediate to advanced divers. Cetaceans, including spinner dolphins often visit along with silvertip, grey reef sharks and schooling barracuda. At sunset, we can sit on the top deck and watch the nearby volcano, Ulawun, spew smoke and occasional lava flows.
In Kimbe Bay, we have a plethora of dives sites to choose from, so we spend two to three days exploring here. The reefs, often named for the first divers on them, include Otto's Reef, Vanessa's Reef and Susan's Reef. Dense growths of corals including sea whips, and fans decorate the underwater realm. On the seamounts, large pelagics and sharks including scalloped hammerheads and grey reef tips cruise along the wall, especially when the water is cooler and the current is running. We can also find caves and caverns to swim through and on the reef tops, you can try to spot the white-bonnet anemonefish which was only described in 1973. The white-bonnet anemonefish houses with other varieties of anemonefish and may produce hybrid species with its host.
From here, we travel out towards the Witu Island group. This area offers an undersea Eden boasting an unrivaled diversity of life. These outlying islands are known for their big fish life and unparalleled visibility often exceeding 30m. With strong currents, Witu boasts a reef slopes jam-packed with soft and hard coral gardens along with submerged pinnacles and steep drop-offs.
From the Witu Islands, we turn back towards Rabaul stopping one more time at Father's reef and exploring any dive sites we might have missed on our way out. The life is so diverse, it's a great opportunity to check off any creatures on your must see list!
Finally we land back in Rabaul, where we can relax on the roof top and watch the stars before you off board and head back to Port Morseby or continue on to the next stop on your adventure. Many guests choose to add on a landbased tour in the highlands of PNG. Let us know how we can help you book.
Along the way, we stop at some of the smaller islands where you can enjoy some time on the beach or visit remote local villages. Come shop for produce for our meals or check out the local carvings. You might even be able to catch a game of football with the local village children!
Day One: Arrival in Rabaul
Boarding begins at 6pm in time for dinner. Meet the other guests and settle in to your cabin before we cruise away to begin our adventure.
Day Two: Father’s Arch
Covered in sea fans and coral whips, this archway provides a warm spot for barracuda to school and pose for pictures.
Day Three: Father’s Reef
Big eye trevally and sharks hang out on Fairway Reef cruising over the ridge which is covered in barrel sponges.
Day Four: Bradford Shoal, Kimbe Bay
Kimbe Bay has over 25 spectacular dive sites to choose from including Bradford Shoal a deep seamount covered in large plate coral and home to a large school of batfish which hang around during the safety stop.
Day Five: Kimbe Bay
We’ll take time out of our diving to visit local villages and meet the community elders and children.
Day Six: Cape Heussner, Kimbe Bay
The sand flats at Cape Heussner are a great spot to spot the elusive garden eel along with shrimp gobies and other sand dwellers.
Day Seven: Witu Island
We’ll do some exploratory diving out at the Witu Islands. We are sure to find some amazing things to photograph.
Day Eight: Witu Island
Known for both hard and soft corals, the Witu Island group, include sites such as Goru Arches with a resident school of bumphead parrotfish.
Day Nine: Father’s Reef
Dives such as Lesley’s Knob and Father’s Arch offer an enthralling display of colour with anemones, fans and coral galore!
Day Ten: Rabaul
Back in Rabaul, we can explore WWII history with dives on planes and wrecks along with beautiful coral reefs and fantastic much diving sites.
Day Eleven: Rabaul
After breakfast, you will disembark in Rabaul in time for a town tour and a coffee, before your afternoon flights or the next step in your adventure.
We want to ensure you experience the best diving available. As such, we customize our itinerary each week to ensure you experience the best visibility, water conditions, wildlife, dive sites and weather available. Above is a sample of what you might expect on a your trip. Specific dive sites are always chosen with conditions, visibility and guest safety in mind. If you have specific dive site/local requests - be sure to let us know and we will do our utmost to include them. Itineraries may also be run in reverse.