Diving Milne Bay – where it all began… the “spiritual home” of scuba diving in Papua New Guinea. This large bay on the tip of New Guinea island was what put PNG on the wish-list of traveling divers world-wide!
The catalyst was an expatriate teacher from England named Bob Halstead. Who, inspired by the pioneering underwater adventures of Hans and Lotte Hass, decided to build the first liveaboard dive boat in Papua New Guinea. Which he did – using traditional methods and local craftsmen.
The boat, the 20m MV Telita, was launched in the mid 1990’s and started operations in Milne Bay. With Bob as the skipper and his first wife Dinah as the hostess and cook.
It was Halstead’s numerous articles and images, published around the world, about their adventures that first introduced many divers (including me…) to Milne Bay!
Much has changed since those days, but diving Milne Bay is still as good as it always was. And the marine biodiversity of the area is simply amazing.
The area of Papua New Guinea referred to as “Milne Bay” is actually a bit confusing. Because in reality there are two Milne Bays…
The first is the large, sheltered bay on the south-eastern tip of the main island of New Guinea. Named, as it is, after the British Admiral Sir Alexander Milne. Then there is the much larger province of Milne Bay stretching out over a huge area covering almost 270,000 km².
Milne Bay became a major Allied air-base during WWII. And was also where the epic battle was fought against the invading Japanese forces in 1942. Hailed as the first time the seemingly invincible Imperial forces were decisively defeated.
The province is roughly the size of the UK. But while there are over 600 islands, they cover just 5% of the total area – the rest is open water… And those islands fall in to four main groups. The Trobriands, the D’Entrecasteaux Islands, Woodlark Island and the Louisiade Archipelago. Check out the links and sections below to learn more about this interesting and incredibly bio-diverse area of Papua New Guinea.
Diving Milne Bay
Excellent reefs, superb critter sites, cruising pelagics and mantas. What a combination, but the bay is a big place and the diving varies.
The northern area has great variety with its reefs and critter sites. While in the south there are lots of critters AND mantas – Read more…
North Coast Dive Sites
The north coast has some tremendous diving. Which ranges from stunning offshore sea mounts to black sand critter diving.
While the seamounts can be spectacular. The coastal sites also offer superb coral reefs and hard to beat diving – Read more…
Lauadi – Dinah’s Beach
Lauadi is a small village on the north coast of Milne Bay. It’s a pretty place, with lush vegetation and a black sand beach.
But what makes Lauadi special is the incredible variety of critters that can be found in that black sand just off the beach – Read more…
Lauadi – Deacon’s Reef
Located on a headland not far from Dinah’s Beach at Lauadi is one of the best dives on the north coast of Milne Bay – Deacon’s Reef.
Huge gorgonian fans, coral trees, schools of anthias, bright red sea whips & barrel sponges all in just 12m of water – Read more…
Milne Bay Mantas
The discovery of the manta ray cleaning station at Gona Bara Bara island is one of those classic Papua New Guinea diving stories!
The site is Giants@Home. And it’s one of the most reliable places in all of PNG to see and often interact with manta rays – Read more…
Samarai Island jetty is another of Milne Bay’s signature dive sites and is one of those places you can spend many hours exploring.
For in the accumulated debris underneath the jetty are lots critters – making it one of the best critter dives in Milne Bay – Read more…
Tawali Skull Caves
Probably not everybody’s idea of fun. But how often do you get to stand in the darkness surrounded by dozens of human skulls?
The skull caves are well worth a visit and they are a good way to spend a non-diving afternoon at the end of a trip – Read more…
Milne Bay 101
There are really two Milne Bays… The large bay on the south-eastern tip of PNG that was a major Allied base during WWII.
Then there is the much larger province of the same name. Occupying a total area that is roughly 10% bigger than the UK! – Read more…
Milne Bay Logistics
Located at the eastern end of the main island of New Guinea. Milne Bay is only about 350km as the crow flies from Port Moresby.
Flying is the only option as the one road on the south coast stops roughly half-way to Alotau at a village called Kupiano – Read more…