The island of Loloata, and its sole occupant the dive resort, is somewhat of an institution in Port Moresby having been an integral part of the local expatriate scene since the 1970’s.
The island was originally acquired in the early 1970’s by an expatriate Australian – not an easy thing to do in a country where almost 97% of the country is “owned” on a communal basis by the many tribes of PNG and an outright purchase involves tortuous and complicated negotiations…
Back then the island was host to a small weekend guesthouse which served as somewhere for expatriates in Port Moresby to get away to.
Then in 1977 Loloata was acquired by Dik Knight, another expatriate Australian who had come to PNG as a freshly conscripted Australian Army Officer in 1970 and stayed on after independence as a math’s teacher in the Eastern Highlands.
Dik intended to develop the guesthouse in to a fully fledged dive resort – but the late 1970’s and the 1980’s were halcyon days for expatriates in PNG and while there were some diving related activities, the focus was more about providing a weekend bolt hole for the capital’s expats.
The emphasis changed to scuba diving in the 1990’s as PNG’s incredible biodiversity became known internationally and its premiere locations Milne Bay, at the south-east tip of the mainland, and Kimbe Bay in New Britain started to attract divers from all over the world.
Major investments to establish the dive infrastructure and acquire the resorts two 10m aluminum-hulled boats were made and the rest is history as Loloata has established itself as one of the main diving locations in Papua New Guinea.
Loloata Dive Resort – Logistics
Loloata Island is located in Bootless Bay, about 20km from Port Moresby.
It takes about 25 minutes to drive from the airport to the jetty in Bootless Bay, followed by a short 15 minute boat ride across the bay to the resort.
The ride out to Loloata is now done in a large, modern and very comfortable catamaran that is both closed to the elements and air-conditioned.
Which is a very nice upgrade from the previous banana boats that typically ferried you back and forth.
The island itself is shaped somewhat like a crocodile and its name means One Hill in the local Motu language, with loloa meaning hill and ta meaning one.
The island is just 1200m long and 300m wide, with “the hill” running down the spine of the island and the accommodation, dive shop and main facility occupying the northeast corner.
Loloata’s location is quite close to many of the best sites on the barrier reefs to the south, which means those sites are only about 40 minutes away from the resort.
It also means that it does not take long to get back to the shelter of Loloata when the wind starts to blows around midday…
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