Alotau is one of the world’s last great frontiers. This port is the gateway to a land of thriving tribal cultures, smoldering volcanoes and vast pristine mountainous rainforests of Papua New Guinea, as well as many historical memorials and relics from the Battle of Milne Bay during WWII. If you stay in town, stroll along the bustling harbor filled with fishing boats, outriggers and small ferries to arrive at the market. Delight in the scents and tastes of fresh tropical fruits from pineapples to guavas to kumquats.

Port: Alotau
Experience

Alotau

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  • Alotau Town Highlights

    Discover significant sights of Alotau and meet local students, with interaction and cultural demonstrations, on this short but informative tour.

    Take scenic drive from the coastline to the hill top, pausing at the Top Town lookout for a breathtaking panoramic view of the bay. It’s a great opportunity to take a photo of your ship in port.

    Uncover the experiences of the local people who still have vivid memories of what life was like when the island of Samarai was the administrative capital of the Milne Bay province and most exciting place to be. Learn how the battle of Milne Bay changed the world, as the locals knew it, and why the whole town was moved to Alotau. You'll even meet some of the people who have made Alotau what it is today.

    Moving on, take a short drive to the opposite side of town, to visit the Cameron Secondary School, the provinces’ first established high school in 1967. You will be welcomed by the students, who are proud to take you on a guided tour of their school. You will have the opportunity to interact and learn more about them. Experience some of the cultural demonstrations at the cultural village built by parents and students, featuring traditional activities, arts & crafts, including face painting.

    Return to the town center and find out what day to day life is like as you stroll through the bustling local marketplace. Your guide will introduce you to the many varieties of fresh local fruits and vegetables that are included as staples in cooking each day.

    The return trip gives you an interesting perspective of the blend of traditional and modern lifestyles that make Alotau and Milne Bay Province such an intriguing place to visit.

    Please note: This tour approximately 80 minutes of easy to moderate walking/standing, at times over natural and uneven surfaces, and a few steps. Participants must be 10 years of age or older. This tour is not recommended for wheel chair guests or those with walking or mobility concerns. Guides are not professionally trained and are quite shy by nature. However they do like to answer questions about their town and life so feel free to ask many questions to get the most out of your experience. Local infrastructure is basic, tour bus seats are uncovered and most vehicles are not air-conditioned, nor have PA systems. Some roads are not paved and even paved roads can be bumpy at times. Closed flat soled comfortable walking shoes, modest light comfortable clothing, sun protection and bottled water from the ship are recommended.

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  • Authentic Png Cooking Class

    Uncover the flavors of PNG with a cooking class that teaches you to make traditional clay pot dishes as you assist in the preparation of the meal.

    As you leave the wharf, begin with a drive through the township and up the hill for panoramic views and photo stop. Continue on to your destination, the Masurina Lodge, nestled in the hillside overlooking the town of Alotau. It is the longest established hotel in Milne Bay and is owned and run by the Abel family, whose long standing ties date back to the late 1800’s when the Pioneer missionary families came to Papua New Guinea to spread the gospel.

    On arrival, enjoy a welcome drink and a short orientation tour of the lodge before being directed to the hotel kitchen "back of house" to commence an instructional cooking class. Guests are invited to assist with aspects of preparations for the cooking of the typical traditional clay pot dish under instruction from a senior member of the hotel. The class is takes between 30—45 minutes and you will become familiar with the staples of the PNG diet.

    Upon completion of food preparation and while the food is cooking, transition into the lodge's Conference Room for a short commentary on a small but unique private World War II exhibit , which includes an authentic Japanese rifle. Time permitting, there also time to wander around the lodge, enjoy a drink at the bar (own expense) or even take a quick dip in the swimming pool.

    Once lunch is ready, make yourself comfortable in the air-conditioned dining room to sample what you have assisted in preparing earlier. After lunch there may be some more free time to enjoy the facilities before returning back to the ship.

    Please note: This tour is not recommended for wheel chair guests or those with walking or mobility concerns. Participants must be 6 years of age or older. Guides are not professionally trained and are quite shy by nature. However they do like to answer questions about their town and life so feel free to ask many questions to get the most out of your experience. Local infrastructure is basic, tour bus seats are uncovered and most vehicles are not air-conditioned, nor have PA systems. Some roads are not paved and even paved roads can be bumpy at times. For those wishing to swim in the pool, we suggest you wear your swimsuit under clothing, bring a towel from the ship and use suitable sun protection. Due to local customs, it is suggested that women wear shorts over their swimwear. Comfortable walking shoes and local currency for additional purchases, such as drinks and local arts and crafts, are recommended. Those who participate in water activities do so at their own risk and responsibility and must know how to swim and be comfortable in the water.

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  • Village Experience

    Experience life in a traditional village, see a palm oil plantation and nursery, and pause at a memorial that commemorates a major World War II battle at Milne Bay.

    After departing from the pier, you will settle in for a leisurely drive along the coast of Milne Bay, an island-dotted body of water first explored in 1660. While natural beauty prevails, you will also see architectural highlights that include an Anglican church.

    Continuing on past several picturesque coastal villages, you will arrive at the Hagita estate and watch the picking of the pail oil fruit and the nursery. Being the world’s most popular vegetable oil, palm oil is vital to the local economy. It’s used to manufacture items such as shortenings, shampoos and perfumed soaps.

    Following your visit, you will next stop at Gabugabuna village for another perspective of life in Papua New Guinea. You will watch cultural performances and traditional methods of cooking, gardening and extracting starchy sago from palm stems. The sago is then made into a paste for food, so it’s a vital staple for the villagers.

    Then, it’s on to the beach to watch a re-enactment of fierce-looking warriors returning to the village in a large canoe. It wasn’t so long ago that the villagers actually used these war canoes in conflicts with neighboring islanders.

    On the return to the pier, you will pause briefly at the seaside Alotau War Memorial, a black granite monument dedicated to those who lost their lives at the Battle of Milne Bay.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 2-hours of easy to moderate walking/standing, at times over natural and uneven surfaces. Tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair and are able to make their own way on and off transportation. Guests must be self-sufficient or if assistance is required, they should travel with a companion who can provide this. However, some transportation might not have a storage space for wheelchairs; please check with the Destination Services Desk onboard. Participants must be 7 years of age or older. Guides are not professionally trained and are quite shy by nature. However they do like to answer questions about their town and life so feel free to ask many questions to get the most out of your experience. Local infrastructure is basic, tour bus seats are uncovered and most vehicles are not air-conditioned, nor have PA systems. Some roads are not paved and even paved roads can be bumpy at times. Closed flat soled comfortable walking shoes, modest light comfortable clothing, sun protection and bottled water from the ship are recommended. Of special note, the only restrooms on this tour are at Gabugabuna Village and are rudimentary pit toilets.

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  • Cultural Immersion

    Gain a greater understanding of the local culture by visiting a cricket ground and two neighboring villages that are both traditional but quite different.

    After departing from the pier, you will drive along the naturally beautiful coast of Milne Bay, an island-dotted body of water first explored in 1660. Before long, you will arrive at the country’s first cricket ground.

    Missionaries introduced the game to Papua New Guinea in the 1890s, and it has grown in popularity ever since. Cricket is even played in rural areas, and the country boasts a national team nicknamed the Barramundis.

    Continuing on, you will approach Daduwe, which requires a short walk through the forest to reach. It’s well worth the effort. While in this traditional village, you will watch the residents prepare meals, weave mats and baskets, and perhaps even make canoes.

    You may also see ancient potshards from the days when various chiefs gathered in Daduwe to feast when traveling the Kula trade route. Trade was important beyond the exchange of goods because Kula rituals determined social hierarchies and created strong bonds between distant villages and islands.

    You will see some of those cultural differences in the nearby village of Bou. Here, you will watch a folkloric performance and see children paddling their canoes as they are trained to become skilled for sea ferrying once they reach the age to sail the seas. Canoes are the means of transportation in these islands for those who embark on trade missions or wish to visit neighbors or relatives at places that require sea travel to reach.

    Finally, on the return to the pier, you will pause at the seaside Alotau War Memorial, a black granite monument dedicated to those who lost their lives at the Battle of Milne Bay.

    Please note: This tour includes just under 2-hours of easy to moderate walking/standing, at times over natural and uneven surfaces. Tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair and are able to make their own way on and off transportation. Guests must be self-sufficient or if assistance is required, they should travel with a companion who can provide this. However, some transportation might not have a storage space for wheelchairs; please check with the Destination Services Desk onboard. Participants must be 7 years of age or older. Guides are not professionally trained and are quite shy by nature. However they do like to answer questions about their town and life so feel free to ask many questions to get the most out of your experience. Local infrastructure is basic, tour bus seats are uncovered and most vehicles are not air-conditioned, nor have PA systems. Some roads are not paved and even paved roads can be bumpy at times. Closed flat soled comfortable walking shoes, modest light comfortable clothing, sun protection and bottled water from the ship are recommended. Of special note, the only restrooms on this tour are at the local villages and are rudimentary pit toilets.

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  • Historical & Scenic Highlights

    Discover the significant role that Milne Bay played during World War II by visiting memorials at key sites, as you tour some of the area’s most beautiful settings.

    Settle in for a leisurely drive along the coast of Milne Bay, a spectacularly scenic, island-dotted body of water first explored in 1660. In World War II, hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers passed through the huge naval base here. You will discover the details of their heroic efforts at the Turnbull War Memorial, which is named after the commanding officer, who was killed in 1942 during the Battle of Milne Bay. The battle was especially significant as it was the first major defeat of the Japanese on land.

    Make a brief photo stop to view the remains of an Australian shipwreck at Numamaka before reaching the KB Mission, another important World War II battle site. As you will learn, heavy casualties were suffered on both sides during the fierce fighting here. The Allied forces eventually prevailed, driving the Japanese back toward Milne Bay.

    Continuing on to the bay, you will pause at the seaside Alotau War Memorial, a black granite monument dedicated to those who lost their lives at the Battle of Milne Bay. It’s a somber reminder of the sacrifices made during the war. While here, there’s an opportunity to shop a good selection of arts and crafts from the Milne Bay province.

    Drive up to Top Town Lookout for a sweeping view of Alotua and the sea beyond before returning to the pier.

    Please note: This tour includes just under 2-hours of easy to moderate walking/standing, at times over natural and uneven surfaces. Participants must be 7 years of age or older. Tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair and are able to make their own way on and off transportation. Guests must be self-sufficient or if assistance is required, they should travel with a companion who can provide this. However, some transportation might not have a storage space for wheelchairs; please check with the Destination Services Desk onboard. Guides are not professionally trained and are quite shy by nature. However they do like to answer questions about their town and life so feel free to ask many questions to get the most out of your experience. Local infrastructure is basic, tour bus seats are uncovered and most vehicles are not air-conditioned, nor have PA systems. Some roads are not paved and even paved roads can be bumpy at times. Closed flat soled comfortable walking shoes, modest light comfortable clothing, sun protection and bottled water from the ship are recommended. Of special note, the only restrooms on this tour are at the Turnbull War Memorial.

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  • Tawali Snorkel & Skull Cave

    Journey to a paradise where the outside world fades away and the magic of nature unfolds before your very eyes. Swim and snorkel in the waters of Tawali and explore the enigmatic Skull Cave.

    A 90 minute transfer by road and by water takes you to, what may be Papua New Guinea's best kept secret, the beautiful waters of the Tawali Resort. Only accessible by boat and located on a volcanic bluff overlooking the clear protected waters of Milne Bay, Tawali offers travelers a unique location to snorkel, relax and enjoy the unspoiled wonders of this magnificent part of the world.

    During the day, your group might be split in two and will rotate through the activities, depending on its size.

    You will have the opportunity to explore what could be conceived as the darker side to the history of Milne Bay, Skull Cave. Take a short dinghy ride from Tawali Resort and a 15 minute stroll along the magical shore line of the local village. It is here that you will find yourself at a series of limestone caves. Follow your guide down into the caves as you walk into the footsteps of the villagers’ ancestors. As you take the journey, just try to imagine what it would have been like to live in these times. There are a couple of versions of exactly why the skulls are there. Today you’ll be the judge, as you find hundreds of human skulls laying in a series of piles all over the caves; a site to behold! When you re-emerge from the cave the local villagers will be there to offer you an opportunity to purchase some of their handicraft as a memento or your day.

    Around mid-day, you’ll enjoy lunch at the resort before continuing the day’s activities. Tea, coffee and water are included; other drinks are available for purchase.

    Papua New Guinea sits in what is called the Coral Triangle, due to the incredible amount of coral species that abound in this area, as well as a diverse number of marine species. Today, you will also have the opportunity to jump in the water and snorkel at the House Reef. The guided tour to the House Reef site is best done in two separate snorkels, one from each wharf of Tawali Resort. There have been a large variety of critters found at Tawali since the doors opened. Stargazers, Epaulet Sharks, Octopus, Ghost Pipe Fish, Sea Horses, Mandarin Fish and Harlequin Shrimps to name but a few. It’s one of those places that the more you are in the water the more you see. You’ll have approximately over one hour to snorkel and discover this diverse marine environment.

    You will also enjoy free time at the resort, where you can take a dip in the pool, snorkel off the beach or sit out on the observation deck and take in the tranquil views.

    Please note: Participants must be 6 years of age or older. This tour is not available for wheel chair guests and not recommended for those with walking or mobility concerns. There is very little movement of air at the caves, so it quickly gets quite hot and humid. Guides are not professionally trained and are quite shy by nature. However they do like to answer questions about their town and life so feel free to ask many questions to get the most out of your experience. Local infrastructure is basic, tour bus seats are uncovered and most vehicles are not air-conditioned, nor have PA systems. Some roads are not paved and even paved roads can be bumpy at times. We suggest you wear your swimsuit under clothing, bring a towel from the ship and use suitable sun protection. Due to local customs, it is suggested that women wear shorts over their swimwear. Local currency for additional purchases such as drinks and local arts and crafts are recommended. Those who participate in water activities do so at their own risk and responsibility and must know how to swim, be comfortable in the water and able to cope with occasional currents.

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