Diving: Papua New Guinea

Schools of Jacks hover over the reef at Eastern Fields, aboard the MV Golden Dawn. Scuba dive holiday, travel planning tips for PNG - where, when, who and how

Introduction

Papua New Guinea is an Oceanian country that occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (the western half is Indonesian), and its offshore islands around the Bismarck Sea: mainly Manus Island, New Ireland, New Britain and Bougainville. Its capital, located along its southeastern coast, is Port Moresby.

PNG is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. It is also one of the most rural, as only 18 per cent of its people live in urban centres. The country is one of the world’s least explored, culturally and geographically, and many undiscovered species of plants and animals are thought to exist in the interior. However, that is now changing as large multi-nationals commence exploitation of PNG’s mineral resources, and create large scale plantations for products such as palm oil.  Despite this, many people live in extreme poverty.

PNG is situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, at the point of collision of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates. New Guinea is on the Australian Plate and was once connected to Australia via a land bridge. The other islands are on the Pacific Plate and are in a different ecozone. There are a number of active volcanoes, and eruptions are frequent. Earthquakes are relatively common, sometimes accompanied by tsunamis. Most islands are surrounded by coral reefs.

Location

The capital Port Moresby is the international gateway into PNG. From there, there are domestic flights close to both the resorts and to the ports where the liveaboards depart.

Local Information

PNG is in a malaria zone. Therefore you should see you GP at least one week before you travel, as most malaria tablets need to be taken prior to arrival, and for a period after departure.  Your GP should be able to tell you which particular tablets are appropriate.

Papua New Guinea is situated in tropical latitudes, but water temperature can vary depending on the location and the season.  The waters around Port Moresby and Papua Gulf are cooler than other areas and temperatures can range between 24 and 28°C.  The waters of the Bismarck Sea tend to be warmer – 27 to 30°C.  Given the number of dives each day and the time spent in the water, the recommendation is to take a full 3mm wet suit, as well as a dive skin plus hood.

Getting There

Air Niugini flies to Port Moresby from several destinations including: Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns; Honiara, Nadi, Denpasar, Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila and Tokyo. You can download their international and domestic timetables on their website.

Conversely, just send us an enquiry with desired dates, and the resort and/or boat you’re after – and we’ll give you a quote for an itinerary.