Having travelled quite intrepidly, we wanted a trip that wouldn't fall into the traditional category of 'honeymoon' -- so we decided on Papua New Guinea.
Overlooking the sapphire waters of Milne Bay, Alotau is a city of 10,000 residents and the capital of Milne Bay Province. In 1942, Alotau was the site of the first defeat of the Imperial Japanese Army, as Allied air, naval and land forces pushed back the furthest advance of the Japanese military. Today, Alotau is a tranquil town, far-removed from the turmoil of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea's national capital. Despite its location and importance as a major transit hub for the region, Alotau is but a boat ride away from some of the most secluded, unspoiled islands left in the world.
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Visit Lauadi, a small village on the Solomon Sea that is home to two worthwhile dive sites, Dinah’s Beach and Deacon’s Reef. Both are frequented by whale sharks and hammerheads. Dinah’s is more of a muck dive, somewhat foggy with sediment, whereas nearby Deacon’s offers superb coral gardens.
With your guide, hike across Stirling Ridge, the mountain ridge rising behind the best local resort, where you can view the entire coastline and the dense rainforest canopy. Take a pair of binoculars to view the cockatoos, hornbills, parrots and some 269 species of birds that call Milne Bay their home.
Diving and Snorkeling
Explore the underwater wonders of Alotau’s surrounding islands, home to a range of hard and soft corals, colorful clownfish, anemonies, and other marine life. The visibility is excellent, thanks largely to the lack of development and remote location of the area. Of particular interest is a sunken Japanese Zero dating back to World War II, once a deadly, nimble fighter that ruled the skies over the Pacific, but now overgrown with coral, fish, and marine plants.
Kayak through the clear, teal waters of Milne Bay and the nearby islets, past volcanic islands, coral reefs, and untouched tropical forests. Kayaks are a quiet, unobtrusive, and ecologically friendly way to explore the surrounding seas.
Skull Cave and Waterfall
Explore a local skull cave and waterfall. While the names are somewhat gruesome, skull caves are actually resting places for the dead, a sort of sepulcher of respect for deceased notables. After your visit to the caves, go for a refreshing swim in the falls, savor a picnic at a scenic outlook, and climb to the top of the falls to a series of five, small pools.
Scuba dive alongside incredible whale sharks, trek through dense jungles and watch as locals mingle with fearful-yet-fascinating crocodiles on this 12-day Papua New Guinea luxury journey. This one-of-a-kind adventure takes place in August during the wild Crocodile Festival in the Sepik Region.
The Alotau International Hotel is located on scenic Milne Bay, and offers magnificent sea views. This is a small, intimate property with just 22 rooms, all with air conditioning, cable TV, IDD phones, internet access, and a balcony with panoramic views of Milne Bay. Despite its small size, the hotel has 3 dining outlets: By the Bay restaurant for all-day dining, By the Bay Bar for drinks and snacks, and Bayside Barbecue for al fresco dining with sea views.
The first ecotourism property in Alotau, Napatana Lodge is located in beautiful gardens set back from the beach and Milne Bay, and built in traditional polehouse style to blend in with its surroundings.
The lodge has 5 wooden bungalows, all with double and single beds, ensuite bathrooms, cable television, fans, fridges, toasters and tea/coffee-making facilities, as well as a loft if you have an extra guest. There are also "Flashpacker" rooms - twin/double rooms with a bathroom, television, fridge, fan, toaster and tea/coffee-making facilities, and a shared veranda overlooking the gardens. The restaurant offers a range of local international dishes, as well as various theme nights including quizzes, fish and chips and seafood nights. The lodge also has its own nature reserve to take care of the local wildlife, and guests are encouraged to visit and get involved.
This remote resort, only accessible by boat, is located on a volcanic bluff with expansive views of Milne Bay. The surrounding waters are crystal clear, and marine protection regulations keeps them that way. Guests can expect to see dolphin pods frolicking from time to time from their rooms overlooking the bay. This is an ideal diving locale, surrounded by pristine nature in and out of the ocean. The accommodation is made up of locally-styled lodges, built without the help of power tools by local workers. The resort’s dining room, decorated with 18-foot carved totems, features an al fresco dining area on the adjacent verandah. The hotel also has its own pool, and plenty of activities in the surrounding areas to keep guests happy and occupied.