Alotau: Top things to do

With PNG’s 42nd Independence anniversary fast approaching, nearly all provinces in the country will host some form of celebration to commemorate this day.

Most of these will be cultural activities and will come all in a day on the day.

However, if you are planning to have more fun in the days leading up to this big day or the days after, why not choose the peaceful town of Alotau and its outer lying islands and atolls.

Milne Bay Province takes in the land at the extreme eastern end of Papua New Guinea together with seven groups of islands; the Trobriand, Woodlark, Laughlan, Louisiade Archipelago, the Conflict Group, the Samarai Group and the D'Entrecasteaux Group. The names come from a variety of explorers from as early as 1660 when D'Entrecasteaux sailed through the area.

Over the years, Milne Bay Province has been visited by missionaries, miners, traders in pearls, scientists and Japanese and American warships. During the war Milne Bay became a huge naval base through which hundreds of thousands of servicemen passed.

Today thousands of tourists arrive to enjoy various attractions and activities there.

Diving: Places to dive in Milne Bay and the surrounding islands are innumerable and are best enjoyed from a live-aboard dive boat. The local experts, Milne Bay Marine Charters, also offer day trips.

Reef Tours is a locally-owned Diving and Tour Operator business that operates in Milne Bay.

Tucked away, only accessible by boat, may be Papua New Guinea's best kept scuba diving secret -Tawali Resort. Tawali offers the best of Milne Bay diving and more.

Goodenough Island also has some of the best snorkelling sites in the province.

Cruising: Explore the islands in style, aboard the luxury Melanesian Discoverer, which cruises between Alotau and Madang via the Trobriands. Small boats can also be chartered. 

Island hopping: Airlines PNG offers a regular ‘milk run’ around the islands, which is the ideal way to see a range of remote areas in a short amount of time.

Walking/Trekking: The Wedau area on the north coast offers a stunning selection of walks, including a three to four day hike from Wedau to Alotau. For great views you can hike to the top of Mount Pasipasi (600m), behind Dogura. The Cape Vogel area also has bush trails and waterfalls to explore from the Bogaboga Guesthouse. –

Take a tour: Locally organised tours will give visitors an insight into the everyday life of the people of Milne Bay. A local tour is also the perfect way to discover the true highlights of the area.

Bird watching: The Alotau area is well known for abundant bird life.

Cultural Activities: Trobriands: One of the best locations to enjoy the charms of the friendly and peace loving Milne Bay people is the low-lying Trobriand Islands. Their unique social system is dominated by hereditary chieftains who continue to wield tremendous power and influence, although inheritances and lines of power are passed through the female side of the family. From June - August the Milamala yam harvest festival is held. The Milamala starts with a procession of men carrying the newly harvested yams from the garden storage hut to the village yam houses while the women ahead sing and dance. During the festival time, traditional rites are observed. It was from Malinowski's anthropological studies of the customs and sexual practices during this time that The Trobriands became known as The Islands of Love.

Climbing: At 26 kilometres across and 2566 metres high, Goodenough Island is a spectacularly rugged island which rises above a flat coastal plain. Accommodation is available in the area’s largest settlement, Bolubolu and in Vaiava village. The peaks of Goodenough Island can be climbed from Lokulokuya Village in two days, however permission must be gained and it is advised to take a guide.

Pic sourced: Family history across the seas

Author: & Trip Advisor