Walindi Resort, Kimbe PNG

Posted on June 28, 2017


Walindi Resort sits on a plantation one hours drive from Hoskins airport in West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea. The property in on the shores of Kimbe Bay. Anyone who is anyone comes here to dive. The promise of “gin-clear” waters, a smorgasbord of aquatic life and few tourists makes this journey more of a pilgrimage for the die-hard scuba junkie.

I stumbled across this place by accident; and oh what a happy accident. It took several emails, re-jigging my plans in Port Moresby and a heft bank transfer to secure six dives and a volcano hike. I’m planned to do all of this in just three days before heading back to the capital and flying out to Indonesia.

This morning on arriving at the domestic terminal at Jackson’s airport I was met with chaos. Provinces are so difficult to access in PNG that flying really is the only way to get around. The roads out of the capital are few and in bad condition. Everyone flies. Plane tickets are relatively cheap. It’s as normal as taking the bus. Some journeys are a brief 35 minutes.

The tiny planes line up and all are scheduled to leave within 20 minutes of each other. But the trouble is they don’t appear to leave on time so you have hundreds of people streaming through one set of doors towards the runway to catch five flights all boarding simultaneously. The few foreigners waiting are all perched on the edge of their seats. Sweaty faces are wearing anxious expressions, heads cocked to one side and everyone straining to hear the tannoy announcements over the din of wailing babies, chatter and airport staff yelling gate numbers. 

One thing I have noticed is the age bracket of travellers here. PNG appears to attract mostly couples in their early sixties upwards. Then random (40-something) sole travellers like me. Those who have lived a bit and can now afford to come here. The fear factor which is peddled constantly about this country means that you cannot travel here on a budget. You are held to ransom by the ex pats running guest houses, taxis and restaurants. 

My flight was stopping at three destinations. Lae after half an hour, then 50 minutes later Kimbe (my stop) and the final destination Rabaul which is 60km from the island of New Guinea. Sitting next to me on the plane was a local. She was born in New Ireland in the northeastern province but now lives in Cairns, Australia with her family. She and her husband moved to get their kids a better education.

She can’t bear Port Moresby and says while she misses home greatly she can’t wait to get out of capital. “PNG has so much more to offer! Where are you going?”.

“Kimbe,” I reply excitedly.

“Ahh you’re a diver. Let me guess ….Walindi?!” she said with a twinkle in her eye.

I nodded enthusiastically, grinning.

“You’ll love it,” she replied closing her eyes as we took off.

That’s exactly what I wanted to hear.