Wreck Diving in Papua New Guinea

Receiving the Rodale's Scuba Diving Readers' Choice Award in 2002 and being rated as the Top Dive destination in the world also in the same year, Papua New Guinea diving remains one of the country’s bigger tourism pulls.

Historically, parts of Papua New Guinea became strategic locations for warfare in World War II and were used as bases from which opposing armies camped, planned, and infiltrated from. Many remains from the WWII can be found scattered in the waters of Papua New Guinea. These war vessels now make for some of the best diving experiences one can have when visiting the country.


The Mitchell Bomber, a WWII plane wreck, the USS Boston and Coral Queen are magnificent wreck dives in the Madang area. While here, you may also want to try an eye- catching night dive on the Coral Queen, where schools of Flashlight fish with their bio-luminescence will light up the water quite spectacularly.

From December 1942 the Tufi Wharf was a USN Advance PT Boat base which operated along the coast. Just off the wharf divers can see wrecks of PT boats, empty 200 litre drums, anti-tank barriers, aircraft machine guns as well as two live torpedoes still completely intact.

New Ireland
Soon after Pearl Harbour, Kavieng, viewed as a strategic vantage point into Papua New Guinea, was invaded by the Japanese in January 1942. An allied air attack on Kavieng was launched in 1944 seeing the unanticipated loss of 11 Allied aircraft. All but one aircraft has been found since. The B25 American Mitchell Bomber dubbed the “Stubborn Hellion” can be accessed by boat 30 minutes from Kavieng.

Other wrecks of interest include the Catalina Float Plane, Japanese Aichi E13A Seaplane, Mitsubishi F1M Type-Zero Biplane and Japanese shipwreck in Kavieng Harbour.

At a total of 64 known Japanese WWII wrecks, Rabaul is recognized as the wreck diving capital of Papua New Guinea as it offers by far the most number of wrecks compared to any other location in Papua New Guinea. At this location both aircraft wrecks and shipwrecks can be dived.

The islands in and around Milne Bay are home to some of the fighter plane wrecks of the 1942-1943 period. Some models of fighter planes used in WWII in Papua New Guinea are only found here, in almost perfect condition.

General Information
The water is warm all year round with the temperatures ranging from 26°C to 30°C thus a 3mm diving suit or a protective lycra is adequate. Supply tanks, weight belts and dive guide services are provided by most dive operators with extra charges for equipment hire.

Due to the high interest of international visitors wanting to sample what PNG’s diving has on offer many diving companies, both on land and abroad as well as beach-side accommodation, have popped up in the popular diving areas and are equipped with the needs of wreck diving tourists.

Generally diving season spans from between May till December each year, however it also depends on the location you may want to visit and the ocean currents of that area. [EMTV]
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