Papua New Guinea Diving
Remote but accessible scuba diving in Papua New Guinea is unique in many ways, the diversity and abundance of marine life will amaze the diver in you.
Papua New Guinea diving offers a unique chance to dive remote locations. Here you will find unusual critters, large pelagic life and World War II wrecks. Just north of Australia with over 600 volcanic islands, PNG is part of the coral triangle and has fantastic biodiversity. There are several dive area’s to be covered by the liveaboards offering diving year-round in this incredible dive destination.
Scuba diving Papua New Guinea, there are pristine reefs with diverse marine life that includes pelagic life, macro species, unusual critters and marine mammals.
Colourful coral atolls, reefs and WWII wrecks await you with hammerhead sharks, whale sharks and dolphins among the many sightings. Muck diving here is world-class with new critters still being discovered in the remote and partly unexplored reef systems.
With dive sites open to all level of divers this is truly a unique and fantastic adventure to join a liveaboard in Papua New Guinea.
Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below.
Papua New Guinea Diving - 4 LIVEABOARDS
Oceania Liveaboard in Papua New Guinea
The newest liveaboard in Papua New Guinea was launched in 2019 from a well-established operator.Book Now
True North Diving Liveaboard
A small cruise ship is touring Australia and more that offers diving on set itineraries.Book Now
Papua New Guinea is internationally recognised as world-class diving, with over 45,000 km2 of pristine reefs of varying topography this relatively unexplored area has something for all divers.
Best Places to Dive in Papua New Guinea
The best diving in Papua New Guinea is reached by a liveaboard that has various schedules dependent on the season to offer guests the most amazing experience in this unique environment.
The dive areas can be split into the following areas.
New Ireland – Rabaul and Kavieng are the two main dive areas of New Ireland.
Rabaul has pristine white sand beaches and uninhabited tropical islands with rainforest, underwater there are many critters and WWII wrecks.
Kavieng offers some of the best diving in the area with a huge variety of marine life, great for both macro life and larger pelagic marine life sightings.
Kimbe Bay - on the northwestern coast of New Britain.
Dormant volcanoes surround Kimbe Bay, below are colourful corals with almost a thousand species of fish.
Highlights in the Kimbe Bay area include scalloped hammerhead shark, grey reef shark, white-tip reef shark, barracuda, and dolphin encounters.
The Witu Islands are a group of islands formed by volcanoes, these black sand islands are surrounded by deep water and are ideal for diving. The best diving in the Witu Islands is around the volcanic caldera opening on its southern section where there is a spectacular lagoon.
Fathers Reef is a chain of reefs out in the open ocean with excellent marine life ideal for all levels of divers. Among the various sightings, dolphins can be spotted together with the shark species such as hammerhead and silvertips.
Milne Bay - has plankton rick waters with a large variety of marine life and wrecks.
The Milne Bay area has some fantastic wreck dives from World War II alone with steep drop-offs in nutrient-rich waters that bring in larger pelagic life for divers to enjoy.
Tufi offers incredible marine diversity and a range of marine life encounters.
Dives in fjords, wreck and reefs along with shark diving that can be enjoyed in this area.
Best Dive Sites in Papua New Guinea
In the Witu area and was a large volcano and the crater that has flooded resulting in both the land and sea topography being uniquely stunning. This Papua New Guinea diving site is a perfect example of the diverse marine life to be found in the area. There are also various marine mammals such as pilot whales, dolphins and even orcas and sperm whales are seen fairly often.
In the New Ireland region is a narrow passage between two islands. Here there are many pelagic fish including grey reef sharks, mantas and mobulas. Being an example of the best diving in Papua New Guinea the plateau here is covered in soft corals with pygmy seahorses and leafy scorpionfish.
Has a steep drop off with frequent sightings of manta rays, hammerheads and the occasional whale sharks or minke whales.
Flying Fortress Bomber
In the Milne Bay area it is one of the many wrecks in the area this is a B17 plane called ‘Blackjack” that had an emergency landing close to the beach in 1943.
On Fathers reef and is a shark diving experience, and there are multiple white tips joining divers very closely. Also participating in the feeding frenzy are free swimming moray eels, and a school of batfish are always around the mooring line.
One of the best sites dives sites in Tufi, where the strong current brings in the action. Rays, reef sharks and hammerheads are visitors to the area. The reef drops off to over 200m with plankton brought in by the currents.
There are white sand beaches and uninhabited tropical islands with rainforest; underwater there are many critters and WWII wrecks.
Read more information about Papua New Guinea Dive Sites
The Kimbe Bay and New Britain area of Papua New Guinea is statistically the coral capital of the world, due to its biodiversity and location in the coral triangle. For more information about Kimbe Bay and New Britain dive sites, please click on the photo.
Milne Bay and Tufi offer excellent biodiversity underwater and provide some of the best sites when enjoying Papua New Guinea liveaboard cruise. For more information about Milne Bay and Tufi dive sites, please click on the photo.
The New Ireland region of Papua New Guinea was occupied by the Japanese during WWII and has many wrecks that can be explored as a result. For more information about New Ireland dive sites, please click on the photo.
Witu and Fathers Reef areas in Papua New Guinea offer shark diving with dolphins and some unusual and strange critters on pristine coral reefs. For more information about Witu Islands and Fathers Reef dive sites, please click on the photo.
Papua New Guinea Scuba Diving Highlights
- Common sightings - Reef sharks, turtles, barracuda, nudibranchs
- Special sightings - Whale sharks, hammerheads, orca, dugongs, pygmy seahorses
- Topography - Reefs, wrecks, walls, seamounts
- Visibility - 15 to 30m
- General information - The diving is accessible to all levels of certified divers from Open Water upwards (there's no minimum number of logged dives required. To gain the most from your Papua New Guinea diving experience, an Advanced Open Water certification is recommended to be comfortable at all the dive sites.
- Onboard options - Throughout your PNG diving adventure, you will get to meet the friendly locals who paddle out in their outrigger canoes to trade fresh fruits and veg to visiting boats.
Best Time to Go
Weather in Papua New Guinea varies with local climate zones and topography. Generally, it is hot and humid all year, with diving available year-round.
Water temperatures are 24 to 29C, so a 3mm or 5mm wetsuit is recommended depending on the time of visit and your preference in the cooler water.
The rainy season goes from December through to March; dry season is May through October.
Regionally you can expect:
New Ireland: November - April: Rainy season in the North of the islands
New Britain: November - April: Rainy season in the North of the islands & May - October: Rainy season in the South
Milne Bay: Very unpredictable February to March. September to November is usually the best months for diving.
Port Moresby: May - October: dry, windy and dusty. Port Moresby, the capital, is situated on a narrow dry belt. 20km further inland the climate is already much more humid again.
How to Get There
International flights are into Port Moresby at Jackson’s International airport. Here there are local flights from Air Niugini and Airlines PNG to New Britain, Alotau or Rabaul, to join your liveaboard.
Transit can be via Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila, Tokyo or Bali.
Local time vs GMT
What to pack
Food and drink
Papua New Guinea Kina (PGK)
On entry for most nationalities
Hira Motu, Tok Pisin and English is spoken widely
Jackson International Airport (POM)
Christian plus local beliefs
Suncream, lightweight, beach apparel plus cover-up
29 - 32 C daytime, 23 - 25 C evenings
Traditionally vegetarian with yams, pork and chicken on special occasions