Deep Water Diving in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea, renowned as the birthplace of muck diving, is often associated with divers scouring black volcanic sand in search of cryptic critters and bizarre benthic beasties. However, thanks to its location at the far western edge of the vast Pacific Ocean, there is also an abundance of excellent deep water diving in Papua New Guinea. Here, divers are spoilt for choice with pristine reefs (it is located in the Coral Triangle, after all), plentiful pelagic life and historic WWII wrecks. The town of Tufi, on mainland New Guinea, is famed for its jagged fjord-like coastline and iconic wreck dives, while the islands of New Ireland and New Britain boast offshore seamounts that attract the big boys. There’s no shortage of epic deep water diving in Papua New Guinea, all you need to decide is where to go......


Tufi's top-side scenery of verdant fjord-like rias may remind you of Norway, but rest assured, the water here is warmer and the marine life decidedly more tropical. During WWII, Tufi served as a US military base, where they built patrol torpedo boats (PT boats) and launched air raids in search of Japanese ships in the region. Tufi Jetty, situated at the edge of the town's main fjord, serves as a gateway for divers seeking a glimpse of the past, revealing the remains of two PT boats that were sunk during a 1942 air raid. As you explore the seabed, you will also find a Land Rover and scattered ammunition before ascending to complete your safety stop in a macro wonderland.

The Tufi region is also a great launchpad to dive two more of Papua New Guinea's WWII maritime relics: the S Jacob naval ship and the remains of a B17 bomber, known as Blackjack. Both sites can reach depths of almost 50 metres, making them suitable for experienced divers looking to explore the best deep water diving in Papua New Guinea. While the wrecks provide ample depth, there are also several seamounts scattered among Tufi's offshore reefs, where you can explore greater depths in the company of passing pelagics, including the occasional great hammerhead shark.

New Britain

Journeying north from Tufi, you'll traverse the Solomon Sea en route to the island of New Britain. For those looking for the best deep water diving in Papua New Guinea, your adventure begins in Kimbe Bay, where you can embark on a luxury liveaboard bound for the Witu Islands and Father's Reef out in the Bismarck Sea.

The Witu Islands offer a mix of black-sand bays and offshore seamounts, with Goru Arches and Dickies Knob being two of the most famous sites. Both sites offer ample opportunity to explore the depths and, with a bit of luck, come face-to-face with reef sharks. For those heading to Father's Reef in search of the best deep water diving in Papua New Guinea, Shaggy's Reef and Jayne's Gulley are two must-dives.

New Ireland

New Ireland, a long and thin island located to the east of New Britain, has plenty to offer those seeking out the best deep water diving in Papua New Guinea. Kavieng is the province's capital and the main port of entry to New Ireland, be that by air or by sea. When departing from the harbour and heading north, you set a course into the Pacific Ocean, while a southward turn directs you toward the Bismarck Sea. This strategic location bore witness to WWII action, and deep divers can explore wartime wrecks as well as vibrant reef awash with colourful corals and marine life.

During WWII, Allied troops devised a system of codenames for Japanese planes, with 'Pete' assigned to one class of plane. The wreckage of a 'Deep Pete' plane lies a short distance from Kavieng Harbour, resting at a maximum depth of 40 metres (hence the name). For those who prefer reefs to wrecks, Albatross Passage is a deep dive where you can encounter grey reef, whitetip and blacktip sharks. Albatross Passage also has a huge array of macro critters. As you ascend towards the end of the dive, keep an eye out for nudibranchs, leaf scorpionfish, mandarinfish and the cryptic ghost pipefish, artfully blending in with its host feather star.

Our team of dive travel specialists has extensively explored both the Papuan mainland and its surrounding islands. We've tracked down the best resorts, most luxurious liveaboards and places to go to help you get the most from your adventure to discover the best deep water diving in Papua New Guinea.

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

Rachel Gaw
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