Kimbe Bay is located roughly one third of the way along the north coast of New Britain. The largest of the 200+ islands of the Bismarck Archipelago on the southern ridge of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
The islands of the archipelago were formed some 8-10 million years ago by what geologists refer to as “tectonic uplift”. Hence the series of incredible mountain ranges that run right along the spine of the whole island.
So high are those ranges that they effectively isolate the north coast from the south. Therefore, although the north coast of New Britain follows the usual monsoonal seasons, the south is completely opposite. So when it is the dry season to the north of the mountains, it is the wet season to their south.
The mountains also create a partial weather shadow over the north, directing more rain on to the south coast. As a result it is the second wettest place on earth, with annual rainfalls of between 6-8m!
Kimbe Bay’s Volcanoes
The flight from Port Moresby to Kimbe Bay takes you straight north from the capital. Over the incredible Owen Stanley Range and across the Huon Gulf to the western tip of New Britain.
The approach in to Kimbe takes you over the Willaumez Peninsular, the western boundary of the bay. So you get a spectacular introduction to the visually defining feature of this part of New Britain – volcanoes…
On the tip of the peninsular are two large freshwater lakes. They occupy the huge caldera left by the massive eruption of the Dakataua volcano some 1150 years ago. And then dotted along the long and narrow isthmus are three smaller volcanoes.
The final approach in to Hoskins Airport is overshadowed by the large Mount Pago volcano, and its two smaller siblings. The periodic rumblings from which provide very poignant reminders of the powerful underground seismic phenomena that created those tectonic uplifts.