Kavieng is situated at the northern tip of New Ireland, a long narrow island, 90 minutes flight from Port Moresby. It has often been described as a "typical Somerset Maughan south sea island port".
The New Irelanders are a friendly people who have maintained their traditional lifestyle. Their main traditional culture is related to the Malagan concept, which embodies the relationships central to the social organisation and kinship ties linking social groups in the villages. The Malagan themes are reflected in their stylistically distinctive carvings and art traditions.
During WWII, Kavieng was at the front line of the Japanese’ southward advance and many of New Ireland’s towns, infrastructure and industry was destroyed. The area is littered with silent reminders of those days gone by both above and under the water.
Kavieng and the surrounding area offers a range of accommodation, beautiful beaches and excellent reef and wreck diving. A road links north to south and is made from crushed coral. Travel is easier by boat and the interesting Malangan culture in the northern and central part of the island is unique within the Pacific. Sorcery, shark calling, surfing, snorkeling, diving and gourmet seafood including coconut crabs, crayfish, reef-fish and unpolluted shellfish make New Ireland and its outer islands an escapists dream.
New Ireland Province is comprised of the larger islands of New Ireland and New Hanover, and its offshore islands Tingwon, Mussua - Emira, Tabar, Anir, Tanga and Lihir. The scenery is stunning and contrasting - low lying coral islands surrounded by golden beaches and pretty, fringing reefs and mountainous islands which drop sharply into the sea.
New Ireland, at 360 km long and not even 10km wide in some places, is the second largest of Papua New Guinea’s outer islands and acts as the eastern barrier for the Bismarck Sea. A range of extremely rugged and precipitous mountains, reaching an elevation of six thousand feet, runs down the centre of the island. New Ireland is an island paradise of sandy white beaches, coral encrusted lagoons, clear springs and flowing rivers.
Kavieng is the provincial capital and administrative centre of New Ireland Province. Located just 2 degrees south of the equator, it is the quintessential South Pacific town; an outpost in a tropical paradise with an airport, harbour, shipping wharves, banks (Westpac and Bank of South Pacific), post office, a small general hospital, fire brigade, hotel, lodge, guest houses, golf course and club.
The islands around Kavieng have many superb swimming beaches with crystal clear, coral encrusted lagoons teeming with marine life, perfect for snorkeling and relaxing in a tropical paradise. The waters surrounding Kavieng has excellent wreck, reef and drift diving as well as caves and plenty of pelagics.
Surfers will be impressed by the numerous un-crowded surf breaks around Kavieng. Swells are a consistent 3 – 5 feet during surf season (November to April), sometimes getting up to 6 – 8 feet and there are both left and right breaks to suit different levels of surfers. Surf boat transfers need to be pre-arranged and you will need to bring all your boards, equipment and spares.
Kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, sailing and kite surfing are other possible water sports activities.
Sport fishing is also popular. Strong currents bring in pelagic fish such as Giant Trevally, Spanish Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Barracuda as well as Yellowfin, Dogtooth and Skipjack Tuna. Plenty of Mangrove Jack, Red Emperor, Coral Trout, Rock Cod and Sweetlips are caught closer to the fringing coral reefs.
On a Land Tour you ca see some stunning coastal scenery, visit an Oil Palm Plantation, pet the freshwater eels at Cathy’s Eelfarm, visit a local village and take a quick swim in the river. You can also visit some of the island villages where communities still live without running water, electricity, TV or internet.
Remnants from WWII can also still be explored such as Japanese bunkers and gun placements.
Kavieng is equatorial, so the air temperature is always hot and humid between 24 – 33°C and the diving is excellent year round. Water temperatures range from 28 - 30°C all year.
The rainy season in New Ireland is officially from the end of December until the end of March. From June to September Kavieng receives the tail end of the South East Trade winds. November to March is known as the Monsoon season when the predominant winds are North Westerly.
April - July before the Southeast Season and September - November before the Northwest season have proven to provide good all round weather and dive conditions.
It is also a good idea to plan your dive trip so that you have at least 2-3 days diving with the incoming currents at the passages for maximum pelagic action.
The surf season is from November until late April.
| Nusa Island Retreat
On Nusa Lik Island, 5 minutes by boat from Kavieng
|Lissenung Island Resort
20minutes by boat from Kavieng
Kavieng is world renowned for its current-swept passages that attract a variety of big, pelagic fish action. Visibility is often between 20-40 metres, with water temperatures of around 29C. Drift dive along reef walls covered in fans, sponges and brightly coloured hard corals. The walls drop away to great depths and provide the perfect hiding place for small critters like the Pygmy Seahorse and nudibranchs. A number of WWII wrecks lay scattered in and around Kavieng Harbour. These include a Japanese merchant ship and many float planes.
A narrow channel between New Ireland and Baudissin. As the tide rushes in and out, the passage sucks reef fish and pelagics between and into its narrow flanks. Big eye trevally, Spanish mackerel, tuna, barracuda, reef sharks, turtles and rays are often spotted here.
The large coral ridge rises to within 15m of the surface and slopes down to 50m in open water, only minutes away from Scuba Ventures Jetty.
A Taiwanese fishing vessel scuttled by fisheries in 1988. She rests starboard side on top of the ridge and is covered in colourful soft corals.
Sitting upright in 12m of water, close to Albatross Passage. The history of Stubborn Hellion is well documented, a great dive for wreck enthusiasts.