WALINDI PLANTATION DIVE RESORT
PNG'S DIVING PIONEER
In 1983, a Papau New Guinean of Australian descent, Max Benjamin, decided to turn his famiy's plam nut plantation into a guest house. He had just returned from a dive trip to the red sea, and was struck by how vibrant his own reefs were. He was not wrong; PNG really does have everything. So he opened his own dive shack and lodge. That original plantation has become the veritable father of diving in PNG. "they used to be our free diving sites" he once said. "Then we realised how good the diving was here, it was just so much better, so we started taking guests out"
Not satisfied with accessing the dive sites of Kimbe Bay by boat, he and his friends started the MV FeBrina live aboard boat.
Walindi is probaly the most famous dive resort in PNG. The rooms are reasonably sized and well apointed. They have fans and power points for batteries that run off an inverter system. The food and service is very good. The resort has a fully stocked bar.
That small dive shack has moved on and up. It's now a massive dive shack run by an excellent team of guides; skippers and Mechanics. At its head is Capt Gary Kulisek; a grandee of NAUI and tech diving. He can talk the hind legs off a donkey but he is never afraid to drag his wetsuit on and take people diving. Gary is a character, but he runs a clean ship and the dive centre is really first class.
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Walindi Plantation Resort
There is little doubt that the scuba diving in Kimbe Bay is some of the best tropical diving on earth. We will go out on a limb here and say that diving in the Witu Islands, the Fathers Reefs and Kimbe Bay are probably the best tropical dives in the World. New Guinea (PNG) is a must visit dive destination for every certified diver. Diving tours in New Guinea (PNG) are surprisingly good value.
Your New Guinea dive holiday starts with a short flight on an Airnuigini dash 8 which takes you from Port Moresby to Hoskins Aerodrome. Hoskins, which is the airport that serves Walindi Plantation Resort is located on the island of New Britain; which in itself is absolutely enchanting. From the first moment you step into your air conditioned minivan, you know you are in a different world. The car drives along a small road through plantations and trees. Beyond the plantations lie a string of dormant volcanoes that dominate the skyline. Every now and then you see people walk on either side of the road, going about their business, and then you are are back in the countryside with the cows and oil palm trees.
After 45 minutes or so you will arrive at the Walindi Plantation Resort. Much of the wealth of New Guinea comes from Palm Oil. Many years ago, the Benjamin family decided to start an oil palm plantation, which ran successfully until Max Benjamin, a keen diver, went to the red sea on holiday. As soon as he got back on the boat he realised that the diving in Kimbe Bay was easily as impressive. He flew home with his family, built two bungalows and opened the Walindi Plantation Resort. (Successive ecological surveys show that the Very impressive Red Sea, has 350 Species of Fish, and the Bismarck Sea has 1050).
The Walindi Dive Resort maintains its plantation heritage, with colonial style bungalows raised off the ground, overlooking the sea. These stand alone deluxe bungalows are the premium product of the resort. Behind them lie the Plantation House Rooms, smaller attached rooms in blocks of four, facing towards the sea within the garden. All rooms at the Walindi Plantation Resort are Self contained.
The Restaurant at Walindi serves an array of healthy wholesome dishes, with many vegetarian options.
Walindi Dive Centre, Kimbe Bay
The diving in Kimbe bay is diverse with excellent visibility. On some sites 30m visibility or much greater visibilty is normal every day.
The marine life in Kimbe is varies from minute to massive. Grey Reef, White Tip and Silver-tip Sharks abound. Yes this is one of those places when you often see sharks on every dive. Schools of barracuda swirl on many dive sites. I have seen Dolphins underwater here. The fish life is rich and the large game fish are always around. Giant Trevally, Kingfish, Queenfish, horse eyed jacks spanish mackerel, bullet mackerel and tuna populate the blue while the reef fish dominate the walls and reefs behind you. Mind blowing macro dives are also found in the mangroves, on the coasts and in specific locations. The choice of dive sites varies from underwater Japanese planes, to pinnacles and long reef systems. The diving is extremely varied.
Kimbe Bay and the Walindi Dive centre have all aspects of the underwater world covered.
The Diving Centre in Walindi is a professional affair with four excellent metal boats, all equipped with Oxygen, VHF radio, cellphone and twin engines. The dive boat skippers have decades of experience, and the dive guides know the reefs like the back of their hand.
Walindi is famous worldwide for its scuba diving and snorkelling. Over 900 species of fish and 420 species of coral at last count can be found within Kimbe Bay itself - that is over half the total world species of hard corals in one Bay, a truly remarkable statistic. The diving is quite special. You have the close in pretty reefs which are stunning and 45 minutes away such as Katherine's reef Christine's reef and Donna's. Further inland is the Zero that ran out of fuel. (See above).
Further away is Bradford Shoal, Joelles and many more. These are the sea mounts that rise up from the seafloor to 18m and have schools of Barracudas, Dolphins and sharks swirling around them.
Further north again is the series of reefs and rocks that make up Anne Sophies reef. If you want to go further out to the Witus then you really need to book the FeBrina live aboard.
ASK ABOUT CULTURAL AND HISTORIC TOURS TO ADD TO YOUR TRIP AT WALINDI