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Best Diving Destinations in Papua New Guinea

About scuba diving in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is a country in Oceania that occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, just 160km to the north of Australia. Jackson's International Airport is the major international airport in Papua New Guinea. Scuba diving in Papua New Guinea is highly recommended for those who love the underwater world. The immense diversity of sites for beginner and advanced divers alike include coral walls, coral gardens, reefs, sea grass beds, coral atolls, and many wrecks from WWII. Diving in Papua New Guinea gives divers the opportunity to explore thousands of creatures living under the sea. Experts say that the oceans surrounding Papua New Guinea have up to twice as many marine species as the waters of the Red Sea and up to five times as many as the Caribbean. The marine life includes barracudas, shark species (occasionally scalloped hammerheads), trevallies, fusiliers, tuna, butterflyfish, dolphins, and endless species of nudibranches. Kavieng, Loloata, and Rabaul are very good places for wreck diving (boats, planes, barges, and submarines). New Britain is one of the most famous diving destinations, with 70% of all coral species in the Indo-Pacific region. In West New Britain, Kimbe Bay, the Witu Islands, and Father's Reef are popular destinations, where there is a huge range of giant soft coral species, abundant barrel and elephant sponges, and prolific marine life. World-famous dives (Bradford Shoals, Inglis Shoals, Vanessa’s, and Susan’s) are only a few of the 200+ reefs and dive sites sprinkled throughout Kimbe Bay. Rabaul and the south coast of New Britain are heaven for those seeking marine animals. New Ireland is an area known for its WWII wrecks, big currents, and big pelagics at some sites. The feature of this island is reef walls that drop vertically down to 300m/1000ft close to the beaches. The diving is concentrated around Kavieng, which has a huge variety of marine life, and is a great place for macro diving. Apart from walls, fantastic reefs, coral gardens, Milne Bay is also well known for muck diving. A must-do dive is the Black Jack wreck (depth of 50m/164ft), which is one of the best-preserved B17 planes in the waters of Papua New Guinea. On the mainland, the main diving spots are Tufi (deep fjords are the main feature), Port Moresby, Bootless Bay, and Madang. Port Moresby is the starting point for excursions to the Eastern Fields Reef and Portlock Reef. Two sites worth visiting in Bootless Bay are Suzie's Bommie and the Pacific Gas shipwreck. Madang, on the north coast, has the reputation of being one of the most ecologically diverse reef systems in the world.

When to go to Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea has a tropical climate. Diving is available all year round, with the high season generally from mid-April to November. The average water temperature varies from 25C/79F along the edge of the Coral Sea to 29C/85F in the Bismarck Sea. Temperatures on the coast may vary between 23-29C/75-85F. Visibility varies from 15-46m/50-150ft.

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