Scuba Diving Papua New Guinea (PNG)
The waters of Papua New Guinea possess some of the best dive spots in the world. About twice the amount of fish species as compared to the Red Sea, and roughly ten times as many species of corals are found here compared to the Caribbean, have a stunning array of species just waiting to be discovered
In terms of culture it is equally rich, with hundreds of indigenous, traditional communities & around 800 distinct languages. Many of these communities have little or no contact with the outside world.
SCUBA DIVING PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Located in the Asia Pacific region’s Coral Triangle, Papua New Guinea is densely packed with tropical fish and corals. Diving in Papua New Guinea is available year-round through Resorts, dive centers and live-aboard, all offer year-round dive opportunities. With barrier reefs, coral walls, fringing reefs and sea grass beds – along with spectacular World War II wrecks. Diving Papua New Guinea reveals treats around every corner.
- Kavieng – Kavieng is a small, friendly town on the northern tip of New Ireland – a long thin island to the east of Papua New Guinea that separates the mighty Pacific Ocean from the Bismark Sea. Albatross Passage: At an incoming tide this narrow passage is like fish soup. The wall itself is overgrown with big fan corals, black corals and sponges and this is the home for small creatures like Nudibranchs, Leaf Scorpionfish and Pygmy Seahorse. Planet Channel is definitely one of the best dives in Kavieng: Pelagic fish action packed with Barracudas, Jacks, Eagle Rays and Sharks, soft corals, huge Gorgonian fans in every possible color plus an amazing selection of small critters – it’s all here!
Rabual – While there are many WWII wrecks dotted around PNG, the Rabaul area undoubtedly has the most.
- Situated on the eastern tip of New Britain. The area is also a very active volcanic region, sitting between 3 active volcanoes. Select from a variety of wall and drift dives. Bi Plane Peter is a Mitsubishi World War II Japanese spotter aircraft which stands upright in 27 metres of water and is in excellent condition.
- Kimbe Bay – Kimbe Bay is on the island of New Britain, a large island running east to west that separates the Solomon Sea to the south from the Bismark Sea to the north. Over half the world’s species of coral can be found in Kimbe Bay. Pristine and colourful corals are home to a variety of fish, crustacean and invertebrate life. A range of shark species are regularly sighted, including hammerheads and silver tips, particularly on the offshore reefs. Fathers Reefs are a series of off shore reefs north east of Kimbe Bay which are the sunken remains of a huge extinct volcanic caldera. The Father Reefs’s Star Dive sites are “Norman’s Knob” and “The Arches”. Witu Islands, another great dive site northwest of Kimbe Bay. Alan Raabe, Captain of the MV Febrina says, “Krakafat is the reason to visit the Witu Islands”.
- Madang – Madang is a bustling town on the north coast of Papua New Guinea. Rescued from the swamps around 100 years ago, the pretty town is in a beautiful bay and is now a popular tourist destination. Three kilometres offshore from the town of Madang is the volcanic seamount known as Planet Rock. The seas around the mount plummet to a depth of over 2,000 feet, but the strong ocean currents that surge through Astrolabe Bay sweep around and across the apex of the mount at only 15 feet. These currents bring with them large schools of predatory, pelagic fish. Magic Passage is aptly named for its seething mass of schooling fish. Most common are the silvery jacks which form a wall around divers.
- Tufi – The Tufi region of PNG is without doubt one of its most beautiful. Situated on the northern coast of the mainland, the area has numerous stunning fjords, stretching like huge fingers from the mainland to the sea. From diving the fjords to WW2 wrecks, the Tufi area offers a wide variety of diving experiences with constant visibility of 30 metres.
- Port Morseby – Port Moresby is the capital of Papua New Guinea and was the first diving area to be explored in the country. The city gazes out over the Coral Sea, which separates PNG from Australia in the south. Some of the best diving can be found minutes from the capital city, especially if you like rare critters.
- Milne Bay/ Alotau – At the eastern tip of the main island of New Guinea is the province of Milne Bay, which consists of the mainland portion & Milne Bay itself, and somewhere between 400 to 600 islands, which fall into four main groups – the D’Entrecasteau Group, the Trobriands, Woodlark Island and the Louisiade Archipelago. Apart from fantastic Reefs, walls and Coral Gardens, Milne Bay is well known for “muck diving”. The variety of marine life in Milne Bay is almost unbelievable. Not only are rare scorpion fish like the Rhinopia aphanes (or Merlot Scorpionfish) seen regularly here, but you also will find creatures that have not yet been recorded from other places of the world.
CLIMATE: Papua New Guineas climate can be described as tropical climate, with the coastal plains averaging a temperature of 28°C, the inland and mountain areas averaging 26°C, and the higher mountain regions, 23°C. The area’s relative humidity is quite high, and ranges between 70 and 90 percent.
The extreme variations in rainfall are linked with the monsoons. Generally speaking, there is a dry season (June to September), and a rainy season (December to March). Western and northern parts of Papua New Guinea experience the most precipitation, since the north- and westward-moving monsoon clouds are heavy with moisture by the time they reach these more distant regions.
LANGUAGE: More than 800 distinct languages are spoken in Papua New Guinea. Melanesian Pidgin and Hiri Motu are the two most widely used, although English is the official language in education, businesses and government circles.
ELECTRICITY: The standard voltage is 240 V. The standard frequency is 50 Hz. The power sockets that are used are of type I, same as Australia.
CURRENCY & CREDIT CARDS: Papua New Guinea’s currency is the Kina. Money can be exchanged at Jackson’s Airport. Travellers’ cheques and international credit cards are accepted in major hotels and restaurants and some shops or can be cashed at banks throughout the country. All transactions within Papua New Guinea’s hotels, restaurants and bars are subject to 10% tax.
GRATUITIES: It is not expected nor the custom to tip in Papua New Guinea. If you want to give gift to local, please contact the headman of the village so he can distribute to villager equally. It is best to consult with Resort Manager before giving gift or tip.
PHONE & INTERNET SERVICE: Country code + 675. Internet service is very spotty. Major hotels in the bigger cities (i.e. Port Moresby and Wewak) will likely have internet service but outside of those areas, don’t count on it. AND even when the hotel has WiFi and/or internet service, it doesn’t always work.
VISA & PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS: Passports should be valid for at least 6 months from the date of intended travel. American citizen can obtain visa upon arrival, no fee. Papua New Guinea Immigration website
CUSTOMS: Travellers to Papua New Guinea will receive a Passenger Declaration Form (covering the Customs and Quarantine Acts). A tick must be made in the Customs section of your arrival form if you are bringing any of the following into Papua New Guinea:
- Goods that may be prohibited or restricted, such as weapons, objectionable (indecent) articles, wildlife products, or illicit drugs;
- Goods in excess of the K1000.00 allowance (K500 for travellers under 18);
- More than 250 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco products per adult (over18);
- More than 2 litres of alcoholic beverage per Adult (over 18); or
- Goods for commercial, business or trade purposes.
You may need to show proof of purchase and price paid so please have any receipts available for inspection by a Papua New Guinea Customs Officer.
DEPARTURE TAX: Depature tax is K30 and mostly will be included in your air ticket.
NOTE: Malaria is a problem in Papua New Guinea, and anti malarial precautions are highly recommended. Please check with your physician for the best precautions to be taken.
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