Diving in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea has a well deserved reputation for its spectacular diving. The country is surrounded by the Bismarck, Coral and Solomon Seas, whose constant movements feed the rich marine environment. From tiny nudibranchs to the world's biggest fish – the harmless whale shark – divers will encounter a huge array of exotic species.

The range of dive sites is equally diverse, with barrier reefs, spectacular coral walls (drop-offs), coral gardens, patch and fringing reefs, sea grass beds and coral atolls. Divers will also find some of the world's best wreck diving, with sunken ships, aircraft and submarines dating back to World War II. Many are still in excellent condition and easily accessible from the coast.

Divers to PNG will be able to feast their eyes on thousands of fish that inhabit the crystal clear waters, including barracuda, jack, tuna, stingrays, turtles and white and black tip sharks. There are also many anemones, corals, sea fans, clams and clownfish, along with pods of bottlenose and spinner dolphins (particularly in the Walindi area). Whales can also visit the waters of Manus Island, between January and March.

Port Moresby
There is excellent diving close to Port Moresby on the reef behind Fisherman’s Island, at the east side of Basilisk Passage (the entrance to the harbour), and at the Finger, a long coral ridge with a drop-off on one side and white sand on the other. A sunken trawler, the New Marine No 7 and the small MV Kupiki offer wreck dives. Off Bootless Bay is Horseshoe Reef with a number of different dives including the End Bommie and the wreck of the Pacific Gas. Day trips are offered by The Dive Centre at Ela Beach Hotel. Live-aboard boats operate out of Moresby and travel to the Eastern Fields, Milne Bay and other locations along the coast.

Milne Bay
The pristine waters of this area sustain brain corals, Spanish dancers, trigger fish, sturgeon and sharks. Oro: Tufi at Cape Nelson has exceptionally clear waters, abundant fish and beautiful corals in the fiord-like rias formed by ancient volcanic eruptions. There are easily accessible wrecks and reefs with drop-offs, hammerhead sharks and moray eels.

Madang has some fantastic dive sites nearby including Magic Passage and Planet Rock, an underwater sea mount with a population of hammerhead sharks, multitudes of small fish and beautiful corals. Magic Passage contains a Mitchell bomber among the sea whips, sponges and sea fans, while further north, Hansa Bay cradles 34 Japanese wrecks that are home to a myriad of tropical fish.

From Lae, there are live-aboard boats offering expeditions for reef or wreck diving, taking in the beautiful reef systems in the Siassi Islands, the coastal town of Finschhafen and Tami Island, famous for its idyllic lagoon. The wrecks of the B-17 bomber Black Jack and the Dutch cargo ship St Jacob are also interesting dives.

New Britain
Divers can explore Kimbe Bay, famous for its huge corals, big fish, drop-offs and volcanic caves, while in Simpson Harbour, off Rabaul, there are some good walls and wrecks, and a spectacular 75m drop-off at Tavui Point.

New Ireland
Kavieng is another popular dive centre – big fish, coral and sharks are just some of the sights to be found here. Manus Island: Most of the north coast is bordered with a reef and the excellent visibility allows great diving and snorkelling. A huge variety of corals and fish, and wartime wrecks can be seen, and there may be whales between January and March.

Trobriand Group
Snorkelling and diving are superb at East Cape, and the beaches and scenery en route to the cape are also beautiful.

The water temperature varies from 26ºC along the edge of the Coral Sea to 29ºC in the Bismarck Sea. Diving is good year round, but the high season is generally from May to November. Water visibility ranges from 50 to 100 feet.

Dive Operators