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Walindi Plantation Resort
 

Land Tours
Dive Sites in Kimbe Bay

 
If flying from Port Moresby to Hoskins, it is our recommendation that you sit on the left hand side of the plane! As you fly over the mountainous interior of New Britain, Kimbe Bay glistens in the sunlight to your left. Strung along the shore, and far out to sea can be seen the reef complexes that make this area of Papua New Guinea world famous. For it is within the embracing arms of Kimbe Bay that can be found the finest coral reef diving on this planet. Your excitement and the prospect of these reefs is further heightened as you fly low across the bay to touch down at Hoskins - reefs rise from the deep blue only yards from the beach, and the verdant cover of palm groves and rainforest contrast dramatically with the indigo of the Bismark Sea.

A 45 minute drive from Hoskins airport is the world-famous resort of Walindi Plantation, the only resort that offers scuba diving on the pristine reefs of Kimbe Bay. An oil palm plantation bought by Australian Max Benjamin in 1969, Walindi is an 800 acre property running along the western shore of Kimbe Bay, between the villages of Kimbe and Talasea. Behind the resort neat lines of palm trees cover the coastal plain, and beyond these the rainforest towers up the sides of the dormant volcano of Gabuna. The resort overlooks the entire bay, and a fringing reef runs close to shore, plunging into the depths. The eastern limit of the bay is marked by a string of perfectly conical volcanoes that give the area truly a primeval bearing. The resort can accommodate only 20 guests, with a choice of 10 self-contained seafront bungalows, each with private bathrooms and balconies looking through the neatly tended tropical gardens to the sea beyond. A central lodge contains the lounge and dining area, with a fresh water pool and bar. The dive store is set apart from the accommodations, close to the jetty that runs to the edge of the reef.

There are about 200 oceanic reefs in Kimbe Bay, generally running in two lines parallel to the shore, the first line about 1-2 miles off shore, the second line about 5-8 miles off shore. Out in the vastness of the bay others rise from immense depths to breach the surface. The walls of these reefs can be anything from 1000ft to 10000ft in depth, making for exhilarating diving! The reefs are so rich in marine life that they belie description! Corals normally associated with deep water, such a black corals and sea fans can be found in 30-40ft of water, and the swarms of tropical fish that swirl though these coral gardens are endless. Fairy basslets, coral trout, snapper, surgeonfish and triggerfish are just some of the estimated 3500 species of fish that can be found in these waters. There are more species of fish and coral in Kimbe Bay than anywhere else in the world! As testament to the diving to be had at Walindi, it is interesting to note that more world championship winning photographs have been taken here than anywhere else - in fact the first three prizes at the 1992 Antibes Festival were all taken at Walindi! For the underwater photographer, the opportunities are unmatched, as the ability to dive for an extremely long time in shallow water means that you can maximise your bottom time to its fullest extent. America's In Depth magazine has consistently voted Walindi as having "the best reef diving from a resort, anywhere in the world".

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Land Tours

TALASEA THERMAL AREA/PANGULA HOT RIVER
About 30 minutes by road from Walindi, near the small village of Talasea, are Garu Hot Springs, a large thermal area consisting of bubbling mud pools, sulphur springs and Pangula "hot river", with a temperature of about 34C - perfect place to rest your aching bones after a long walk!

TALASEA AIRCRAFT WRECKS
Two allied aircraft sit side-by-side on an overgrown WWII Japanese airstrip; one is from New Zealand, the other America. Both landed here after sustaining engine problems, and according to the locals both crews were executed by the Japanese on landing. Nearby, in the jungle, is a wrecked Betty Bomber that failed to make the strip. The road to Talasea passes through coffee, copra and palm oil plantations, and up onto the hill that overlooks Kimbe Bay.

GABUNA VOLCANO
Towering behind Walindi, her steep flanks are blanketed in dense rain forest. The crater area is a mass of sulphur fumeroles and steam vents, the entire area has a pervading smell of rotten eggs! It takes about two hours to reach the summit from Walindi, with a walk across the palm covered coastal plain and along a forest track to the caldera. We recommend taking a guide and packed lunch, and making this a full day trip.

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