There are two main options for diving Milne Bay Province – either you go for liveaboard based diving, which will enable you to experience the remoter locations such as the East Cape Reefs and Nuwakata Islands in northern Milne Bay, or the sites around Samarai Island and the China Strait in the south.
Tawali has the advantages of being a dedicated dive resort which is fairly close to Alotau and the airport, plus there is easy access to the numerous excellent dive sites on the north coast, while the Conflict Islands appear to be more of an exclusive and up-market life-style resort that offers scuba diving as one of its recreational pursuits.
Diving Milne Bay Province – Liveaboards
There are two liveaboard dive boats based in Milne Bay plus there are another two that operate there at certain times of the year.
MV Chertan, which is based in Alotau, is owned and operated by Rob van der Loos who has been diving Milne Bay Province for nearly 35 years. Rob probably knows Milne Bay better than than any other single individual, plus he is a really great guy who goes out of his way to do everything possible to make your trip successful.
Chertan has itineraries that cover the southern area of Milne Bay around Samarai Island and the China Strait, the northern around East Cape and Nuwakata Islands plus the north coast around Tawali and Normanby Island.
MV Spirit of Niugini is based from Tawali and operates four distinct itineraries that all start and finish at the resort, with the second one providing a pretty special opportunity to dive the B-17F Black Jack wreck at Boga Boga on Cape Vogel:
- Tawali – Conflicts Group, Samarai, Nuwakata Islands, East Cape Reefs – Tawali
- Tawali – Cape Vogel, Northern Nuwakata Islands, East Cape Reefs – Tawali
- Tawali – East Cape Reefs, Nuwakata Islands, Ferguson Island, Normanby Island – Tawali
- Tawali – Samarai, Nuwakata Islands, East Cape Reefs – Tawali
Diving Milne Bay Province – Tawali Dive Resort
Tawali Dive Resort is perched on a limestone headland on the Solomon Sea side of the peninsular that forms the north coast of Milne Bay.
The main lodge and accommodation are up on the limestone headland, surrounded by dense rainforest and overlooking the resort’s house reef and main jetty, while to the west is a large bay where the service area for the resort is located.
Arrival at the resort is via boat at the main jetty and a wooden boardwalk leads you up to the entrance of the lodge which hosts the reception area, the restaurant, a small bar and the large observation deck overlooking the bay.
Covered walkways lead from the main lodge to the individual guest bungalows and then around the headland to the service area.
There are numerous excellent dive sites on the north coast and Tawali dives them all regularly using its day boats – so you go out in the morning and come back later in the day depending on how many dives you are doing.
Diving Milne Bay Province – Best Time to Go
Milne Bay is an all-year round destination as the shape of the bay itself and the many islands of the province mean that sheltered locations can always be found.
But to dive Milne Bay at its very best, you should visit from November through to late January as that is the dry season for that part of Papua New Guinea and the minimal run-off from the rivers and streams means that underwater visibility can be exceptional