PADI Scuba Diving in Papua New Guinea
Located in the Asia Pacific region’s Coral Triangle, Papua New Guinea is densely packed with tropical fish and corals. With the constant movement of the surrounding Bismarck, Coral and Solomon Seas, the waters off of Papua New Guinea have a stunning array of species just waiting to be discovered.
Diving in Papua New Guinea is available year-round through Resorts, dive centers and liveaboard dive boats all offer year-round dive opportunities and there are prices to suit all budgets. With barrier reefs, coral walls, fringing reefs and sea grass beds – along with spectacular World War II wrecks, diving Papua New Guinea reveals treats around every corner.
With 16,000 kilometres/10,000 miles of coastline and 52,000 square kilometres/20,000 square miles of reef systems, divers enjoy minimal contact with other dive groups. All dive operators focus on personal attention in a safe, relaxing environment. You can expect excellent, quality service on any dive vacation to Papua New Guinea.
Locate a PADI Dive Shop in Papua New Guinea.
Depth: 5-20 metres/15 – 65 feet
Visibility: 15-46 metres/50 – 150 feet
Currents: None of note.
Water Temp: 23-31° Celsius/74 – 87° Fahrenheit
Dive Season: Year round. The best diving is from April to June and September to December.
Weather: Costal temperatures range from 24-29° C/75-85° Fahrenheit The dry season runs from May to November.
Access: Boat, jetty, beach, shore and liveaboard.
Skill level: Beginning to advanced.
Courses: Although many dive centers are resorts offer introductory experiences, divers will get the most out of their visit to Papua New Guinea if they have completed at least their PADI Open Water Diver course certifications.
Scuba Gear: Tropical scuba equipment is appropriate. Bringing a camera – and the appropriate training – is also a good idea.
With the emphasis on macro creatures, you’ll also want to consider bringing a plastic magnifying glass and a pointer on your dives so you can point out and easily see tiny animals such as pygmy seahorses and nudibranchs.
Divers with gear flying from international points often receive additional luggage allowance – check with your airline before traveling.
Locate a PADI Dive Shop in Papua New Guinea.
Length of Stay: You’ll want to stay a minimum of eight days in Papua New Guinea. This lets you explore two areas or mix a dive trip with a cultural activity.
Some of the most exciting creatures in Papua New Guinea waters are small, so macro diving is very popular. Divers frequently see a seahorse or colorful nudibranch and wonder if it is an undiscovered species. It’s unlikely that it’s a new species but it is likely that divers see something rare anywhere else. Examples include Harlequin Ghost Pipefish and large frogfish. Other encounters include a variety of sharks, sea snakes, pelagic fish and everyone’s favorite tropical find – turtles.
Most Famous Dive Site
Some of the most coveted Papua New Guinea dive sites are those that include World War II relics that include cargo ships, bombers, seaplanes, barges and freighters. You can find wrecks nearly anywhere in Papua New Guinea from 5 metres/15 feet below the surface to the Blackjack - a B-17 bomber in Oro Province that lies at a 50 metres/165 feet.
Getting to the Site
Most wreck dives are accessible only by boat. Many liveaboard dive boats in Papua New Guinea will incorporate wreck diving into their itineraries.
Papua New Guinea’s authentic culture attracts visitors to experience Sing Sings (cultural festivals) throughout the country. Many travelers also enjoy overnight stays in local villages or cruises and tours as a way of experiencing the area’s culture.
For many Papua New Guineans, walking is the only mode of transport. That means the rugged and mountainous terrain is abundant with walking tracks. One of the most popular is the five to nine-day Kokoda Trail, but some lesser-known tracks are just as challenging and rewarding. Likewise, the mountains of Papua New Guinea - in particular Mt. Wilhelm , which is more than 4200 metres/14,000 feet - can provide fantastic hikes that are a bit shorter. Newly developed routes include Black Cat Track (seven days) and Bulldog Track (six days). Qualified guides can provide local knowledge and insight that will enhance the experience.
Papua New Guinea is a relatively new surf destination and uncrowded waves start just 10 minutes from the capital of Port Moresby.
In the southeast, you’ll want to arrive from June to September for the best surf. But, if you’re heading to the north, time your arrival from October through late April. Papua New Guinea is one of the few places in the world where both divers and surfers can enjoy great conditions at the same time.
Language: Although there are over 800 distinct languages, English is the official language of government and business so it is widely spoken. Pidgin English is also common and learning some phrases of this unique language is a fun addition to any visit.
Currency: The Kina. Most international traveler’s checks are accepted and banks are found in all the major centers. Major credit cards are also accepted at most hotels, restaurants and travel agencies.
Tipping: Tipping is not expected. Consult your group leader or hotel manager before distributing any tips or gifts.
Transportation: Most transportation is via domestic air carriers Airlines PNG and Air Niugini. Accommodations and tour operators may provide airport pickup services if arranged prior to arrival.
Tourist Visas: A 60-day visitor Visa is available on arrival for citizens of the USA and Canada at a cost of 100 Kina.
Health Requirements: Visitors should drink bottled or boiled water. Papua New Guinea is also classified as a malaria-prone zone, so travelers should consult their doctor for malaria precautions. Insect repellent, long-sleeved shirts, trousers and closed shoes are recommended as protection against mosquitoes.
Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority - www.pngtourism.org.pg
Papua new Guinea Dive Association – www.pngdive.com
Photos courtesy of the Papua New Guinea Department of Tourism.
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