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Loloata Island, PNG or Great Barrier Reef? Which option to choose?

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Hi Guys,

 

I am travelling to Papua New Guinea next August for a land based trip. The trip starts on Saturday 8th, so I have booked a whole week extra off work beforehand to get there from the UK, which will probably take the best part of two days. This gives me the flexibility to book a few days somewhere before arriving in Port Moresby for the start of the holiday proper.

 

I guess I have two options: fly via Cairns and spend a few days diving on the Great Barrier Reef, or fly to Port Moresby and spend a few days on Loloata Island.

 

From the research I have done so far, I have identified a liveaboard by Pro Dive in Cairns, for 3 days and 2 nights diving the Barrier Reef. However, they do not start there trips on a Tuesday, which would be the best day to start (Tues, Wed, Thur diving, Friday de-tox, Sat fly to POM); starting on a Monday is a bit tight with flights, landing in CNS at 4:20 am and leaving the jetty at 6:00am, and Wednesday is too late.

 

Alternatively, fly "directly" to POM, arriving on Thursday and transfer to Loloata Island. Then diving on Friday, and join the start of the tour on Saturday. This only gives two nights and one full day of diving, at around $800.

 

Currently, I shoot wide-angle only (as I don't have a macro port yet), which I know is not best suited to PNG diving.

 

So I guess the question I am asking is: what is the best thing to do, given I only have a few days? Which is a better dive destination? Are there alternative dive operators in Cairns the might better suit my needs? Is Loloata Island worth the cost? Which sites should I ask for?

 

By the way, I am a single traveller so can't share the costs, and am looking for a group-type trip to buddy with someone. Any information gratefully received.

 

Thanks,

Phil.

 

 

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Loloata is the best of the options.

Edited by pmooney

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Agree on Loloata. It is close to POM and the diving is much better than close to Cairns.

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Loloata is ok, but as an alternative, you can also dive from Port Moresby's Bootless Bay via the Dive Centre. John runs a nice operation with great freedom for photographers. He knows a plane wreck which is great for wide angle (visibility permitted). I have fond memories of Horseshoe Reef and Suzies Bommie as dive sites. Make sure you have a safety sausage or even rent John's dive reel/buoy if you go to the bommies on your own, it's a long way back if the boat loses you to the currents! :)

Depending on where you are going with your holiday, there's also Madang, Tufi, Kavieng, Rabaul among other towns with diving and resorts as well. You don't say so it's hard to give you the right info.

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Hi Phil,

 

Both destinations are great, but if you only have wide angle I would recommend the Great Barrier Reef, either a 3 day trip to the Ribbon Reefs or 7 day trip that includes the Ribbon Reefs and Osprey Reef, some of the best wide angle options you will get anywhere. On the Ribbon Reefs are potato cod, lovely corals, schools of jacks (trevally), giant bommies, turtles, gropers, reef sharks, sea snakes and maybe a few dwarf minke whales still hanging around at that time, while Osprey has sheer walls dropping a mile, sharks everywhere, pelagic fish, gropers and the biggest soft corals you will see anywhere. Try either Mike Ball or Spirit of Freedom.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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Loloata is good.

If you have more time and budget, you can fly to Alotau and dive with Tawali Resort.

You can connect flight in the morning and arrive Tawali in the afternoon.

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