About Papua New Guinea and Kimbe Bay
Snorkeling the dazzling reefs of Kimbe Bay, 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 Kimbe Bay. Kimbe is a large bay (approximately 9800 square kilometers) located about five degrees south of the equator on the island of New Britain in the Bismarck Archipelago. It is situated on the north side of the island, facing into the Bismarck Sea. The bay is defined by Willaumez Peninsula to the west and Cape Tokoro to the east and there are several volcanoes (some over 2000m in elevation) along the headlands, three of which are active.
Kimbe Bay contains 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 Kimbe Bay as possessing over half the known coral species and as examples of vibrant health, diversity, and beauty. While our takes place primarily in Kimbe Bay, we will have the chance to visit some of the island groups that lie just outside of the bay and may also have the opportunity 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 Kimbe Bay, 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 – Hoskins, New Britain Island). Our plan is to visit some of the best snorkeling sites in Kimbe Bay but the sequence in which we visit specific islands and reefs will depend upon weater 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 / Walindi Plantation Resort
Meals provided: D
Arrive in Port Moresby for our scheduled flight to Hoskins airport, where we will be met by representatives who will transfer us to Walindi Plantation Resort. Depending upon our arrival time, activities in the afternoon can include snorkeling the house reef, hiking behind the resort in search of rare and exotic birds, or simply relaxing in front of the pool. Trip orientation will take place at our welcome dinner at the resort. Overnight Walindi Plantation Resort
Day 2 – 11: MV FeBrina / Kimbe Bay
Meals provided: B,L,D
Kimbe Bay 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 over 200 charted reefs that reside inside the bay and toward the western edge, though we do plan to visit Fathers Reefs, located towards the southeast and the Witu Islands, a series of offshore islands located northwest of the bay. Both of these locations offer us the chance to snorkel among offshore reef habitats with the possibility for larger marine life like sharks, dolphins, and groupers! Overnight MV FeBrina
Day 12: Walindi Plantation Resort
Meals provided: B,L,D
Disembark from the boat in the morning and transfer to Walindi Plantation Resort. Free afternoon. Farewell dinner at the resort.
Day 13: Port Moresby / International connections or extensions
Meals provided: B
Transfer from the resort to Hoskins airport for our flight to Port Moresby. Extensions at Wilandi Plantation Resort can easily be arranged, please let us help you with this service.
What to Expect
Kimbe Bay 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.
There are well established trails into the rain forests for birding or nature viewing at Walindi Plantation Resort. 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.