In contrast to the popular tourist destination of East New Britain, West New Britain is virtually untouched, unexplored and unknown.
The exception is Walindi Plantation Dive Resort, a favourite destination for divers from all parts of the world. The Resort is located on a privately-owned oil palm plantation on the shores of Kimbe Bay. Kimbe Bay is fringed by volcanic mountains, some still active. Divers can explore volcanic caves draped in staghorn coral and reef drop-offs. The clear blue waters are home to dog-tooth tuna, trevally, barracuda, dolphins and dugong and for night diving, the luminescence lights the way. The most popular site for night diving is known as The Cathedral, a horseshoe-shaped reef with a large cave at one end. The floor is covered in white sand and the outside is draped in staghorn and gorgonia coral. Walindi has resident instructors to provide tuition for first time divers.
The fishing and snorkeling are also excellent in this area, meaning non-divers can enjoy the superb natural surroundings. The Muruk cave system in the Nakanai area of West New Britain is believed to be the deepest recorded in the southern hemisphere. A French cave expedition team recently explored the system and believed there to be a canyon about 1,200 metres below the entrance of the cave.
The pretty little town of Talasea looks across the bay with its many islands from Williamez Peninsula, an active volcanic region. Talasea is a centre for the manufacture of shell money. It was from this area that obsidian, volcanic glass used in the manufacture of knives, spears and arrows used for trade from about 3,000BC until recent times, was found. In the hills behind Talasea are the wrecks of two US bombers, one of them a B24 Liberator.
Things to Do
Diving and snorkelling: Kimbe Bay is famous for its huge corals, big fish and caves. Papua New Guinea land-based diving is available from Walindi Plantation Resort, which also has a live-aboard, the MV Febrina. Visitors can also dive from Hoskins with Dive Hoskins at Palm Lodge Hoskins. Snorkelling at Walindi is also rewarding.
Fishing: Big fish found off Kimbe Bay are blue and black marlin, sail fish and dog-tooth tuna, while the waterways around Kandrian, on the south coast, and Talasea, are known for spot-tail bass. For the ultimate Papua New Guinea fishing experience, combine a Madang adventure with a trip to Arrjim Island Bass Fishing Camp, on the remote south coast of West New Britain. This area is internationally renowned for its black and spot-tail bass.
Trekking: Good Papua New Guinea trekking can be found in the Cape Gloucester area, where Mount Langila is still rumbling gently. The Kandrian area is very beautiful and you can walk from Kandrian along the coast to Eseli, staying in guesthouses. From Talasea you can walk out to Cape Hollman on the Willaumez Peninsula. Lake Dakataua, at the end of the peninsula, was formed after a giant eruption in 1884, and is a picturesque spot to explore.
On Pangula Island, across from Talasea is the Valley of Wabua (meaning Valley of Hot Water) is a mass of thermal geysers.
Apart from Walindi Resort, there are several other options for accommodation, including the Palm Lodge in the provincial headquarters of Kimbe; the Hoskins Hotel in the small town of Hoskins where the main airport for West New Britain is located; the Kautaga Guest Haus on a small island off the western side of the peninsular and the Bialla Guest House.
Air Niugini and a number of third-level airlines fly via Hoskins airport from other parts of Papua New Guinea every day. There are also a number of coastal ships which call in at Kimbe on their way to and from Lae and Rabaul.