About Papua New Guinea and Kimbe Bay
Snorkeling the dazzling reefs of New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea
The Independent State of Papua New Guinea, or PNG, occupies the eastern portion of the world’s second largest island, New Guinea. It resides on the northern portion of the Indo-Australian tectonic plate that it shares with Australia. The country is dominated by mountainous terrain with dense, tropical rainforests filled with over 800 species of birds and home to approximately 7000 different colorful and fascinating cultures.
Historically, inaccessibility due to the rugged terrain as well as often-hostile villagers made exploring and cataloging terrestrial life difficult. Recent surveys suggest, however, that the terrestrial environments of PNG may be some of the most biologically diverse on the planet. Over 20,000 species of plants and trees can be found in the forests (compared to 80,000 species that can be found in the Amazon, an area nearly 15x larger) and new records of plants, insects, and mammals are being discovered each year!
In the surrounding azure blue seas the diversity levels are just as high. Located in the eastern portion of the Coral Triangle, a geographical term used to describe the region that possesses the world’s highest levels of marine biodiversity, the reef communities possess over 1000 species of tropical fishes and over 500 species of reef-building corals.
Our snorkeling tour in Papua New Guinea takes place in the overwhelmingly scenic southern coast of New Britain Island. New Britain Island is located about five degrees south of the equator in the Bismarck Archipelago and contains majestic volcanoes, rugged landscapes and dense tropical rainforests.
The southern coast stretches for hundreds of kilometers and possesses a variety of marine habitats including coral reef (both inshore along the shallow shelf and offshore reefs as seamounts and fringing from islands), mangrove, seagrass, and mudflat systems. The reefs are considered to be some of the world’s most diverse in terms of coral and fish. Dr. J.E.N. Veron, the world’s authority on coral, described the reefs in the area as possessing over half the known coral species and as examples of vibrant health, diversity, and beauty. While our takes place primarily in along the south coast, we will have the chance to visit some of the island communities to get an introduction to some of the local culture and island life. The diverse culture and raw beauty of Papua New Guinea combined with stunning reefs and scenic land- and seascapes is a recipe for the trip of a lifetime!
Click on any of the images below to learn more about southern coast of New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea
Please read our trip report:
Kimbe Bay, May 2016
Route: Our snorkeling tour begins and ends in Port Moresby. One round-trip, internal flight (Port Moresby – Rabaul, New Britain Island). Our plan is to visit some of the best snorkeling sites in the south coast of New Britain Island but the sequence in which we visit specific islands and reefs will depend upon water and tides. Please note that the following is a general itinerary and that weather, tides, and other unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances may affect the schedule at any time.
Day 1: Port Moresby / Holiday Inn
Meals provided: D
Arrive in Port Moresby for our trip orientation dinner. Overnight Holiday Inn Express
Day 2 – 10: Rabual / MV FeBrina / South Coast
Meals provided: B,L,D
The south coast offers some of the richest and diverse reefs in the world and each day we will have the opportunity to snorkel upon them. Shallow coral gardens with an assortment of colorful corals, each harboring dozens of species of reef fishes; dazzling drop-offs where sharks, and large schools of snappers and barracudas patrol along the edges while thousands of reef fishes parade along the reef margins; and fringing shoreline reefs that contain a wealth of interesting and exotic marine creatures. We will spend the majority of the time exploring many of the rich marine habitats along the south coast as well as plan to some offshore reef habitats with the possibility for larger marine life like sharks, dolphins, and groupers! Overnight MV FeBrina
Day 11: Rabaul / Port Moresby / International connections or extensions
Meals provided: B
Disembark from the boat in the morning and transfer to the airport for our flight to Port Moresby. Upon arrival, transfers for international flights or extensions.
What to Expect
The part of the south coast of New Britain Island where our snorkeling tour will take place is 5º below the equator and experiences tropical weather throughout the year. Days may be hot and humid with air temperatures in the lower to mid 30’s C (mid to upper 80’s F). Water temperatures in the area average around 29º C (84º F), though cooler temperatures may be experienced in the snorkeling sites closer to the mouth of the bay where deeper water may influence the sea surface temperatures. We suggest, at the minimum, bringing at least a full lycra skin to for protection against the sun and no-see-um stingies that may be present in the water. Having a 2-3mil shorty or full wetsuit may be a good investment for maximizing your time in the water.
Cool, loose-fitting clothes and good walking shoes are required. On the tour there may be a chance to visit a local village, though this is not part of the boat itinerary and will be opportunistic. When visiting a village, it is important that clothing for both men and women, especially dresses for women, cover the entire torso including down to the knees.
Please click on our page About our Tours to read about what a typical day of snorkeling looks like on most of our tour programs.