New Ireland Dive Sites Papua New Guinea

New Ireland Dive Sites Papua New Guinea

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.

The New Ireland dive sites in Papua New Guinea offer world-class diving. There are many Japanese World War II shipwrecks here due to the occupation.

Papua New Guinea has over 45,000 km2 of pristine reefs of varying topography. The country as a whole is a relatively undived area but can offer something for every diver.

Located in the far north of Papua New Guinea, New Ireland is pretty remote. The New Ireland dive sites have strong currents which bring in many sharks to the waters. Divers can enjoy the fabulous pelagic interactions on many sites that these magnificent creatures provide.

Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below.

New Ireland Dive Sites Papua New Guinea - 3 LIVEABOARDS

From $413 / day

Oceania Liveaboard in Papua New Guinea

The newest liveaboard in Papua New Guinea was launched in 2019 from a well-established operator.

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From $372 / day

FeBrina Liveaboard in Papua New Guinea

A well-known boutique liveaboard that is offering the best diving in Papua New Guinea.

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From $374 / day

Solomons PNG Master Liveaboard in Pacific

This Solomon Island liveaboard was formally the TAKA and now part of the Master fleet.

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New Ireland Papua New Guinea Dive Sites

Being a two-hour flight from Port Moresby the capital of Papua New Guinea, New Ireland diving is remote and offers excellent pelagic and macro life as well as the shark diving. There are many Japanese wrecks here from the World War II occupation.

New Ireland Highlights

Rabaul and Kavieng are the two main dive areas of New Ireland.

Rabaul has 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 massive variety of marine life, great for macro life and larger pelagics.

Chapman’s Reef

On Ao Island is a drop off with large schools of barracudas, tunas, grey reef sharks and Queensland groupers. There can be strong currents.

Three Islands Harbour

There are three Japanese naval wrecks from WWII. These are a sub-chaser, the Sanku Maru and a Type C midget submarine.

Lying on her starboard side, the Sanku Maru is resting in 22m of water, 50 away from the midget submarine. The Subchaser is also close by, between 2-14 metres depth. All wrecks are entirely overgrown with corals and house plenty of marine life.

Albatross Channel

A narrow passage between two islands, there is a ridge at 9m at the mouth that leads to a sandy plateau at 27-40m of depth. Here there are many pelagic fish including grey reef sharks, mantas and mobula rays. On the plateau in the soft corals look for pygmy seahorses and leafy scorpionfish.

Georges Wreck

The Wreck is a 70m converted cable laying vessel used as a Japanese minesweeper. The reason for her sinking is not 100% clear with many rumours ranging from scuttling to a bombing.

She is covered in marine life with many nudibranchs, crocodile fish, boxfish and damselfish. The port side is intact with a bridge at 35m, and the propellers are at 56m the deepest part of the wreck. The starboard side has the hold which still contains cables and metal containers.

Japanese Mitsubishi Bi-Plane

A reconnaissance seaplane that is also known as Pete that is sitting at 29m. She is intact with both wings, fuselage and tail fins in place and her propeller buried in the sand. Covered in sponge life and soft corals there are cleaner shrimp and Picasso triggerfish.

Piper Cherokee

Is dived together with the Yam Pilaus Ship and are at 24m and covered in pipefish, and even harlequin shrimps. The Yam Pilaus is broken up and has sweetlips and crocodile fish around the structure.

The Zero

Is a Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero Fighter sitting mostly intact in 33m of water. The open cockpit has boxfish and many sweepers and glassfish that are filling the area, the control stick is still in place. Shrimps and morays cover the fuselage with the soft corals growing over the machine gun in the nose section.

Midway Reef

This seamount is only at 3m below the surface but has vertical walls that descend to 600m.  Currents can be substantial, so it is a drift dive with turtles, grey and white tip reef sharks. Schooling barracuda, jacks, fusiliers and trevally are around the reef wall.

Submarine Base

Is the base used by the Japanese in WWII for their submarines. The site has a vertical drop off with a gouge where damage was sustained to the reef by the subs and when the tunnels were mined into the rock.

Grey and white tip sharks are in the wall area with trevally, tuna and jacks schooling around.

The reef area has damselfish, tangs and anthias along with bumphead wrasse.

Other Activities

Papua New Guinea has many activities outside of scuba diving. There is a large bird population with excursions to enjoy the action, volcanic springs and red mud, for a natural spa treatment. Local village visits for cultural activities and purchasing souvenirs.

Marine Park and Conservation in Papua New Guinea

In 1993, Papua New Guinea joined the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which is a legally binding international treaty under which all 193 parties agreed to protect 10% of marine eco-regions worldwide in a network of marine protected areas.