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Best places to scuba dive in Papua New Guinea

The coast of Papua New Guinea is home to some of the world's most spectacular diving.

The coast of Papua New Guinea is home to some of the world’s most spectacular diving.


Dubbed as the ‘underwater photographer’s paradise’, many international award-winning photos have been taken in PNG waters.


Best for coral


Over half the world’s species of coral can be found in Kimbe Bay, which is a large bay located off the northern coast of New Britain.

It’s an important biodiversity hotspot, with Indo-Pacific’s most pristine and colourful corals housing more than 860 coral reef species including fish, crustacean and invertebrate life. Many of the reefs have resident schools of barracuda, tuna and jacks and you may even spot sharks including hammerheads and silvertips, particularly on the offshore reefs.

The top of the reef also supports a beautiful garden of hard corals that make a superb after dive snorkel too.

Walindi Plantation Resort is the perfect place to base yourself to explore these waters – nestled on the shores of Kimbe Bay, the friendly resort boasts a boutique Liveaboard Dive Vessel, MV FeBrina. FeBrina accommodates 12 divers and cruises from her home port to explore areas further afield so ideal for more adventurous divers.


Best for wreck dives


From diving the fjords to WW2 wrecks, the Tufi area offers a wide variety of diving experiences with constant visibility of 30 metres and water temperatures of 26°C to 29°C all year round.

Located in a remote, pristine region at the tip of Cape Nelson, (just a 45min flight from Port Moresby over the famous Kokoda Trail), Tufi has been described as the “Scandinavia of the tropics”. This is due to its breath-taking fjords that were created by the ancient eruption of three volcanoes, plunging over 90 metres deep and rising over 150 metres vertically above the water.

Black Rocks are a series of circular reefs offering all levels of diving and gentle currents bring in schools of pelagic, while the exposed rocks on the tops of the reefs offer great swimming and snorkelling between dives in a protected setting.

The laidback Tufi resort is one of the few PNG resorts to offer year round diving and is just minutes from the House Reef (Tufi Wharf), which sits in less than 10m of water and is home to gobies, mandarin fish, ghost pipefish and other fascinating creatures.

Best for muck diving


The home of muck diving is Milne Bay, where the craze amongst experienced divers and macro photographers to spot weird and wonderful creatures in the silt started.

The area of Lauadi offers incredible muck diving in sloping black volcanic sand with depths of 12-15m. The bizarre and unusual things you may find include rare and interesting nudibranchs, frogfish, cuttlefish, seahorses, snake eels, sea moths, star gazers and octopus.

Tawali Leisure and Dive Resort is conveniently located just minutes from the best diving of Milne Bay. Located on a volcanic bluff overlooking the clear protected waters of the bay, it’s the ultimate location to dive, relax and soak up the unspoiled natural beauty.


Best for convenience


Some of the best diving can be found minutes from the capital city of Port Moresby.

Popular dive site Susie’s Boomie, which is located 15km from the city and 3.5km offshore, is situated on white sand and is the perfect site (if the conditions are right) for spotting sweetlips and batfish among a myriad of other colourful tropical fish and coral. With depths of 12-30m it is also an ideal spot for first-time divers.

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital stay at the tranquil Loloata Island Resort, which is conveniently located on a tiny island that forms part of Bootless Bay and has morning and afternoon dives departing from the Loloata Jetty.  


Best for historic dives

Rabaul on the north east island of New Britain was used as a Japanese submarine haven in World War II and still has a Mitsubishi Japanese spotter aircraft standing upright in 27 metres of water.

The diving is equally fascinating with a vertical wall plunging 300 metres into waters abounding with schools of tropical fish, pelagics, sharks and dugongs, nudibranchs, shrimps, eels and many hued corals.

Kabaira Dive Rabaul, which is run by an Aussie expat, takes daily tours of this majestic site, which is suitable for Padi Open Water through to technical divers.

For the latest information on diving in the region visit the official site.

Have you been diving in PNG? Where are your favourite dive sites?