TOP IDEAS FOR EXPLORING THE ISLANDS
The names come from a variety of explorers from as early as 1660 when D'Entrecasteaux sailed through the area.
Alotau is a good base for visiting the outlying islands. Visit East Cape, the easternmost point of the mainland on a day trip or you can stay at Oima Guesthouse in the last village. Snorkelling and diving are fantastic here and beaches and you won’t be disappointed by the scenery en route to the cape.
Samarai & the China Strait: The 24ha Samarai Island was the provincial government headquarters until 1968. Choose a guesthouse here or you can stay on other nearby islands. They all have good beaches and reefs and some have walking trails.
Fergusson Island in the D’Entrecasteaux Group of islands has an active thermal region, hot springs, bubbling mud pools, spouting geysers and volcanoes. Your accommodation can help you find a guide to bring you to the outdoor natural spa where you can unwind and treat yourself. Salamo offers guesthouses for accommodation, as does Nadi, 45 minutes by boat along the coast. You’ll also find plenty of amazing tracks for walking and tramping here. The district headquarters is at Esa'ala on Normanby Island, at the entrance to the spectacular Dobu Passage. Guesthouses close by can be base while you travel and explore the many reefs close to town offering stunning snorkelling.
At 26 kilometres across and 2566 metres high, Goodenough Island is a spectacularly rugged island rising 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. Snorkelling in this area is one-of-a-kind.
Further afield, Misima Island was the scene of a 1930 gold rush from which a major mine has now been developed. After a quick visit, head north to Woodlark Island to meet the expert wood-carvers and find a souvenir to remember your visit.
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. Experience a unique social system 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 discover the Milamala yam harvest festival, starting with a procession of men carrying the newly harvested yams from the garden storage hut to the village yam houses while the women sing and dance. You’ll be mesmerised by our traditional rites in The Islands of Love.
You’ll enjoy a comfortable stay at Losuia, on the island of Kiriwina. Enquire here into village stays and arrange a visit to the numerous freshwater holes or burial caves. The best beach for swimming is at Wawela, which also has a lovely lagoon and reef if you enjoy snorkelling.