Explore New Ireland

GETTING TO NEW IRELAND

If you are traveling internationally, check our Rabaul and Kokopo site for getting-to-PNG travel information.

You can travel to New Ireland in comfort by air or more adventurously by banana boat. :)

The national carrier, Air Niugini, flies to and from Kavieng direct from Port Moresby or via Rabaul/Kokopo's Tokua airport using either Fokker F100 jets or Dash 8 turboprops.

There are also some smaller airline options you can seek out.

The friendly staff at Kavieng Niu Lodge will pick you up from the airport free if you book ahead and tell them your flight. Alternatively there are taxis or simply ask any of the hotel buses to drop you off -- it will cost K10 ($5) if you are going to the Kavieng Club or other accommodation.

13-01-25 P1000251 Tavurvur Volcano's farewell salute

The more adventurous travel choice is to take the Solwara Meri boat ride from Kokopo to Namatanai in the southern part of New Ireland. You will get on a banana boat (an outboard powered 23+ foot dinghy) on the beach at Kokopo for the two hour run across St Georges Channel (the part of the Pacific Ocean between New Britain and New Ireland) to the beach at Ulapatur on the New Ireland west coast. The trip costs K70 (=$35) plus K2 (=$1) for a truck ride to Namatanai. The driver and will take you to the door of the Solwara Meri Guest House or to Namatanai Lodge.

The 264 km (164 mile) minibus trip from Namatanai up the Boluminski Highway to Kavieng takes about four hours and costs K40-K50 (=$20-$25). Just ask, and the driver will drop you at the door of Kavieng Niu Lodge (on the way north) or Namatanai Lodge on your way back to Kokopo/Rabaul.

Local buses will introduce you to village life as they take you to the Fissoa Village Guest House.  No. 4 buses leave Kavieng several times a day, K12 (=$6) or the No. 7 from Namatanai, K30-K35 (=$15-$17.50). Tell the driver or botskru (= boat's crew, the man in charge of passengers and luggage) where you want to go, ask whether they will take you to the door, and check the price (but don't try to haggle, that's not part of the local culture; if you don't like the price, walk away and check another bus).

GETTING AROUND

Getting around in New Ireland is easy -- in Kavieng there are taxis, in both Kavieng and Namatanai there are minibuses. Minibuses run around Kavieng town and up and down the Boluminski Highway to and from Namatanai and/or points in between. Just ask. The #7 does the full distance, buses with other numbers terminate at intermediate points.

The pick-up points are all near each other in the two towns so you just tell someone at the nearest stop where you want to go and they will direct you. They might even escort you there!

To travel to the west coast by public transport you need to clamber aboard a PMV (Passenger Motor Vehicle) truck. It will have wooden seats in the back and a canvas roof. Fares? Ask. They are standard.

To travel to the islands, you can get a ride on a local banana boat. Inquire where you see boats beached in Kavieng and Namatanai (for Lihir Island). Fissoa is the jumping off point for the Tabar Islands.

P9 Landcruiser

Your other choice for individual or small group "free form" travel is to hire a vehicle with or without a guide/driver. Namatanai Lodge and Kavieng Niu Lodge can provide a vehicle from their own fleets; Kavieng Club and Fissoa Village Guest House can recommend a trusted supplier to you.

TOURS

There are tours on land and sea to meet just about every imaginable taste. Among other offerings, Kavieng Niu Lodge has its innovative 'Taxi Tours' for one or two guests to travel in air conditioned comfort with a knowledgeable local driver/guide to visit highlights along the Boluminski Highway.

In addition, both they and Namatanai Lodge offer tours using their own resources or they, along with the Kavieng Club and Fissoa Village Guest House, can put you in touch with trusted tour operators who can deliver anything from a day fishing with a barbecue on the beach, diving or surfing in season, birdwatching, mountain trekking and caving, to a Boluminski Highway cycling.

Site and contents © Geoffrey Heard 2013 - bushtrackpng.com - tel: 7384 7177  /  7631 7539