Milne Bay province is a large area of PNG, with only 5% of the area being land. The area is enormous – roughly around the same size as New Zealand. There are four main groups of islands here; The D’Entrecasteaux Islands, which still have some volcanic activity and offers excellent birdwatching. The Trobriand Islands, also known as the Islands of Love. Woodlark Island, known for their beautifully crafted wood carvings. And finally, the Louisiade Archipelago which is mostly only accessed by yachties.
Milne Bay is within the province and is a large bay to the southeastern tip. During WWII, the Battle of Milne Bay (25 August – 7 September 1942) took place here. Milne Bay was a significant base for the Allied troops, made up predominantly of an Australian garrison. The battle was significant in that it is considered to be the first battle in the Pacific campaign where the Allied forces decisively defeated the strong Japanese land forces, causing them to withdraw and abandon their strategic objective completely. Subsequently, Milne Bay was developed into an Allied base used to launch further attacks in the region.
Today, divers come to explore the biologically diverse coral reef systems of Milne Bay and experience the beautiful tropical setting and maybe even the fascinating culture of some of the islands.
Tawali has a tropical climate with warm weather year-round and temperatures ranging between 25ºC-28ºC.
Wet Season: May to August
More unpredictable weather with spontaneous, heavy rainstorms.
Dry Season: November to January
This time of year has the optimum and most consistent weather
Diving was established in Milne Bay back in the 1980s when the first liveaboard visiting the area was launched. Milne Bay has subsequently earned a reputation amongst divers as being a remote and beautiful dive destination.
It offers a variety of dive sites such as muck diving, walls covered in soft corals and giant sea fans, anemones with clownfish and a range of large pelagics including hammerheads and whale sharks. A whopping 2,500 marine species call the bay home. And it’s remote location means you’ll likely have the dive site to yourself.
25ºC-29ºC – 3mm wetsuit or rashie
Year-round. But visibility on the muck diving sites can drop in the rainy season, so if critters and macro photography are your passion, it is better to schedule for the drier more consistent months at the end and beginning of the year. Visibility on reef sites is usually good for most of the year.
A large coral mount coming from up from 43m to just 2m from the surface. Divers can dive around the full circumference of the reef with a single tank. The South East side of the reef is littered with soft corals of all descriptions. Large schools of fish feed off this face. This reef also plays host to giant clams and turtles. A strong current often feeds the front face, which is why this reef supports so much life. As stated the currents here are mild to very strong. Safety sausage may be required.
Travel only 3 minutes away on 7m punts. Wahoo Point is perhaps one of the best chances of catching a glimpse of the larger pelagics. Over the years Humpback Whales, Orcas, Tiger Sharks and more frequent encounters with Whale Sharks, Mantas and Hammer Heads have been experienced. On this dive, you can expect just about anything to appear out of the blue. Currents are mild to moderate with generally calm seas.
This site is in front of a 400 — 500-meter long pebble beach. A large variety of Critters can be found at this site from the maximum recommended depths to as shallow as 1 meter (3') - Octopus, Cuttlefish, Lionfish, variety of Ghost Pipefish, Mimic Octopus, Frogfish, Coleman shrimps, and a variety of Nudibranch. The current here is very mild to mild.
Deacon's reef is located on the North Coast approximately 10 minutes away on 7m punts. This site is a spectacular wide-angle opportunity for photographers. The 10 meter (30') shelf is located under the jungle canopy, and gorgonians grow only feet away from the rainforest. This is a magnificent reef. An eye should always be kept out in the blue for visits from Whale Sharks, Hammerheads and Mantas. Currents are mild to moderate in generally calm waters.
Barracuda Point is approximately 8 minutes away from the resort. This reef has a shelf which drops to a depth of approximately 30m at the point. The shelf plays host to a variety of schooling fish and can be frequented by pelagics such as Mantas, Hammerheads and Whale Sharks. On the shelf critters such as rhinopias and Hairy Ghost Pipefish may be seen. Currents here are mild to moderate in generally calm seas.
If you're able to a visit to some of the islands in the province is well worth it! Here is a brief run-down of our recommended stops.
Fergusson Island is the largest island in the group, reaching 2,073 metres. It has an active thermal region with hot springs, bubbling mud pools, spouting geysers and volcanoes. There are some fantastic walking tracks.
Goodenough Island is a spectacularly rugged island, rising 2,566 metres above a flat coastal plain. The peaks of Goodenough Island can be climbed from Lokulokuya Village in two days; however, permission must be gained, and it is advised to take a guide. Snorkelling in this area is spectacular.
The biggest island of Kiriwina has numerous freshwater holes and burial caves. The best beach for swimming is at Wawela, which has a lagoon and reef for snorkelling. The Trobriands is one of the best locations to experience the charms of the friendly, peace-loving Milne Bay people. Their unique social system is dominated by hereditary chieftains, who continue to wield tremendous power and influence. However, inheritances and lines of power are passed through the female side of the family. From June - August the Milamala yam harvest festival is held. During festival time, traditional rites are observed. It was from Malinowski's anthropological studies of the customs and sexual practices during this time that The Trobriands became known as "The Islands of Love".
Woodlark is populated by people of Melanesian ancestry known for their attractive wood carvings.
Samarai Island was the provincial government headquarters until 1968. Samarai and its nearby islands have excellent beaches and reefs, and some have walking trails.
East Cape can be visited in a day. Snorkelling and diving are fantastic here, and the beaches and scenery en-route to the cape are beautiful.
The Weddau area on the north coast offers a stunning selection of walks, including a three to four-day hike from Weddau to Alotau. For great views, you can hike to the top of Mount Pasipasi (600m), behind Dogura. The Cape Vogel area also has bush trails and waterfalls to explore. Bird watching The Alotau area is well known for abundant birdlife.
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