Coral Diving in Papua New Guinea

The Coral Triangle straddles the Equator and bridges the gap between the mighty Pacific Ocean to the west and the Indian Ocean to its east. While the apex of the triangle is taken up by the Philippines, the eastern corner by Sumatra and the western corner by the Soloman Islands, it is Papua New Guinea (PNG) that sits at the triangle’s heart. The Coral Triangle is recognised by marine biologists as being the epicentre of global marine biodiversity and contains more than three-quarters of all known coral species in the world. If you want to dive among some of the world’s most impressive and diverse coral reefs, you will be hard-pressed to beat the kaleidoscopic coral diving in Papua New Guinea and the myriad critters that call the reefs home...

New Britain

The island of New Guinea, shaped like a bird, sits second behind Greenland on the list of the world's largest islands, and while its western half, including the 'bird's head', is part of Indonesia, its eastern half, including the 'bird's tail feathers', forms the bulk of Papua New Guinea's total landmass. To the east of the main island lies a string of smaller islands, the largest of which bear names that will be familiar to those from the UK…

The island of New Britain is separated from its neighbour, New Ireland, by St. George's Channel and is also home to the excellent diving in Kimbe Bay. Over 400 species of hard coral have been identified in Kimbe Bay, which is also blessed with an abundance of colourful soft corals and the myriad critters that seek shelter therein. Aside from being at the heart of the best coral diving in Papua New Guinea, you also have the chance to spot reef sharks, turtles, rays and a veritable cornucopia of critters seeking refuge in the reefs.

New Ireland

While Kimbe Bay is known as the best coral diving in Papua New Guinea, its neighbour, known for its big currents and big fish, also boasts stunning coral vistas below the waves. But those big currents also bring with them an abundance of important nutrients, and, as a result, the reefs thrive. When not keeping an eye out for passing sharks and rays, the vibrant soft corals, sponges and giant sea fans will keep you enthralled.

The reefs' coral coverings also shelter a host of macro critters, and you can find leaf scorpionfish, mandarinfish and various ghostpipefish hiding among the colourful fronds. New Britain may get the headlines, but there's no shortage of excellent coral diving in Papua New Guinea, and the reefs of New Ireland are almost as spectacular.

Milne Bay

As a whole, Papua New Guinea has some of the world's most breath-taking dive sites; epic soft corals in New Britain; princely pelagic diving in New Britain; and the elongated Milne Bay, nestled between the bird's tail feathers, is primarily known as being the birthplace of muck diving. The diversity of macro critters is astounding; ghostpipefish, nudibranchs, flatworms, seahorses, frogfish, cuttlefish, mandarinfish and even rhinopia all enjoy the bay's calm waters.

There are several superb dive sites in the bay, but for those looking to find the best coral diving in Papua New Guinea, the ones on the bay's northern shore are more likely to be in the path of any current-borne nutrients and are just as well-suited to wide angle as to macro photography. Deacon's Reef, in particular, stands out; vivid soft corals, huge gorgonian fans, and green tubastrea coral trees tick the boxes for the coral fans, while you should keep an eye on the deeper water for an occasional hammerhead sighting too...

Our team of dive travel experts have dived extensively throughout the country and are on hand to help you find the best coral diving in Papua New Guinea. From luxury private-island resorts on the water's edge to well-appointed liveaboards, there's more than one way to dive PNG, and we'll be happy to help you design your dream itinerary...

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Emily C, Eleanor and Jacqui are our 'Coral Diving in Papua New Guinea' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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