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Free flight to Papua New Guinea for work... where should I go diving?

Discussion in 'Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands' started by filmguy123, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. filmguy123

    filmguy123 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pacific Northwest
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    I will be in Port Moresby, PNG in May/June for work for a few days. I have a free flight to get there, and so would like to stay an extra week after work is done to go diving. I am a relatively new diver with less than 20 dives - I will have some more experience before then, but I would be there without a personal dive buddy and so joining tours or a possibly a liveaboard and want to be safe.

    That said, what are my best options for diving? Obviously staying in Port Moresby and diving straight from there (either local dive trips, or a liveaboard departing from there) would be the most convenient and cheapest, but I am open to a nearby location if it is a much better choice! (Ie New Britain island or something?)

    Also, I am not 100% sure but I believe our flight will either go through Fiji or Brisbane on the way in-out (I need to confirm). So one of those may be options, or a hub from which to bounce from.

    Overall cost is definitely a factor! So is balancing best bang for buck, seeing some incredible dives, convenience while being solo, overall price (if I didn't do a liveabroad, I would need to factor in the price of food, lodging, transportation, etc.).

    Thank you for the help!
     
    ScubaWithTurk likes this.
  2. WetPup

    WetPup Weedy Sea Dragon

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kiwiland
    1,106
    660
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    PNG is expensive in general. It's largely related to the expat mining industry there (apologies, I contribute to this). Diving in PNG is no different.

    Given your dive experience, some of the more remote destinations might not be ideal. You can get some pretty strong currents, so I guess it depends how comfortable you are with that. Also some of the dives can be a bit deep, so you may need to sort out an AOW cert if you've not already got one.

    Loloata Dive Resort was the best option straight out of Moresby, but it's closed for the foreseeable future. It's meant to reopen late this year, but I'm not holding my breath on that.

    Alternatively, Tufi has some good diving. And Tawali in Milne Bay is my favourite dive spot fullstop :) Walindi is also not too bad if you don't have a heap of experience. None of them are particularly budget friendly though.

    Tawali and Walindi both have lob's that operate out of the resorts, but it's kind of on an ad hoc basis. They're not regularly scheduled trips.
     
  3. filmguy123

    filmguy123 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pacific Northwest
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    This is very helpful to know. Is Tawaili / Milne Bay beginner friendly? Strong currents and deep dives don't sound like what I am looking for with my experience. I could sort out an AOW before then, but would prefer to take it slow and smart.

    PNG does seem expensive - the liveaboards I see were surprisingly high as well. Ironically, if I fly through Brisbane that may actually be a cheaper to dive from?! I see that the only liveaboards seem to be going out of Cairn...? As an English speaking beginner, it may be smarter for me to be in a well developed country like Australia instead?

    It would be great if I could find a 4-6 day all inclusive live-aboard for $1200-$1500. If not PNG, or not Brisbane/Cairns, where would my best bet be close to the area to fly to? If I go off of my main route, the more convenient the better (ie someplace that I can easily make an excursion from my existing flight itinerary without adding on multiple flight legs, transfers, car rides, etc). Looking for great diving, safe diving, and a good price.

    I believe my route will be Portland, OR to either Brisbane or Fiji airport, and from there to Port Morensby. I don't yet have confirmation but this gives an idea of some of the options.
     
  4. WetPup

    WetPup Weedy Sea Dragon

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kiwiland
    1,106
    660
    113
    Not a chance. A 7 night liveaboard out of Cairns starts at about aus$3000. No such thing as a budget GBR liveaboard really. You've also left it very late to book, as that is peak season, and you are unlikely to even find availability at this point. They can sell out a year in advance.

    Fiji has good diving too, but it's also not really great for beginners. You can get some serious currents ripping through there. That being said, Fiji also isn't cheap.

    For a 1 week trip, including diving, hotels, food, etc. (or an equivalent length liveaboard) anywhere in the southwest Pacific, you should be budgeting at least $2500usd excluding flights.
     
  5. Thrawn7

    Thrawn7 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney, Australia
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    There are cheaper liveaboards out of Cairns.. the diving is very easy and they cater to new divers.. but not the best reef region. You could do 7 days of diving for about $1500 AUD. It would be a bit repetitive and boring though...
     
  6. filmguy123

    filmguy123 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pacific Northwest
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    Thrawn, what options would these be? I'm still at the point where just being under water is exciting enough so perhaps repetive wouldn't be bad?

    Is there a nearby area better suited for beginners? Also it doesn't have to be a liveaboard, I just thought that might be cheaper, but maybe an AirBNB near a dive shop would be best?

    Also fine with a 4-5 day liveaboard
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
  7. Thrawn7

    Thrawn7 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney, Australia
    64
    24
    8
    Deep Sea Divers Den for example does a liveaboard for $710 for 3 days + $200 per additional days. At 5 dives per full day.. you rack up a lot of diving pretty quickly.
     
  8. filmguy123

    filmguy123 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pacific Northwest
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    Deep Sea Divers looks very reasonable! Even factoring in a couple nights stay in Cairns and a RT flight from Brisbane to Cairns. Is there a catch? Would that be good for beginner level?

    It would probably be between something like that and a resort spot in Fiji to do a dive package from.

    Unless there's another great option that would make sense for me to go to in the area given my location and circumstance.
     
  9. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
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    There are cheap PNG - Nadi flights - lots of resorts there but I havent dived there so cant comment on fiji but there may be direct flights from PNG to Vanuatu where there is some decent diving for beginners in Port Vila.
     
  10. Thrawn7

    Thrawn7 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney, Australia
    64
    24
    8
    Diving out of Cairns very much caters for the beginner crowd.. you'd find something like a quarter of the boat would be doing their open water course with the rest mainly pretty new divers. The catch is that it doesn't go very far out of Cairns and they pick the easy dive sites which means you don't get the best reefs.

    The exception would be the two high end liveaboards (Mike Ball or Spirit of Freedom).

    If I was already in PNG.. I'd look long and hard to dive there.. since chances are I'd never be back there again.
     

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