The Autonomous Region of Bougainville has adventurous trekking and hiking routes that can take you to amazing caves, the tops of mountains with stunning views, Caldera lakes with some extraordinary marine life, even an active volcano. A great variety of avian life exists on Bougainville, which make it the perfect place for bird watching.
Natural Attractions of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville
Come of the spectacular natural attractions include:
The giant sinkhole has the largest cavern in the world (length = 470 meters, width = 150 meters and height = 170 meters). It is in the Torokina area along the Keriaka Plateau. Impressively it contains an 18 meter stalagmite. There are many other caves on the main Bougainville Island and some that are accessible on Buka Island.
There are around 60 lakes in Bougainville including the largest Lake Lahala which is near Buin in the South of Bougainville. You can hike to see impressive Caldera Lakes of Baougainville, namely Lake BIlly Mitchel and Lake Loloru. These are fresh water lakes with marine life and surrounded by dense jungle.
Bougainville Lies on the Pacific Rim of Fire, as a result the island is home to six active volcanoes. Three of these active volcanoes are accessible by foot for the arduous hiker.
Mt. Balbi is an active volcano on the northern side of the main Bougainville Island ans is the highest point in the province. The Mt. Balbi has six craters, one of which has a beautiful crater lake.
Mt. Bagana is one of the most active volcanoes in Papua New Guinea and lies in the center of the island. Mt. Bagana is more active than Mt. Balbi.
A few kilometers north-east of Mt. Bagana is Billy Mitchel - another volcano of interest. Billy Mitchel is in its two kilometer wide crater. The volcano is named after an American General considered to be the Father of the American Airforce. The lake has a depth of 90 meters and is surrounded by thick tropical forest.
You can hike to all volcanoes within a week, although the hikes are physically very challenging. If you make your base at Wakunai, a one and a half hour's drive south of Kokopau Town. Located across the Buka Passage from Buka town, Kokopau is a transit hub that connects the adiminstration center of Buka to the rest of the main island.
View of Bougainville's Mt. Bagana in the distance. Credit: Simon Pih
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List of Accommodation in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville
List of Tour Operators in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville