Rabaul Tours

Rabaul Papua New Guinea.

A destination like no other.

Formerly referred to as the ‘Pearl of the Pacific’ Rabaul Papua New Guinea is like nowhere else in Asia Pacific. A still active volcano stands sentinel at one of the most scenically beautiful harbours on earth. Rabaul possesses a unique atmosphere. Much of the town still lies eerily under fallen ash from the last major eruption yet in the eastern precinct modern-day life flourishes around the port of Simpson Harbour.

Rabaul today is becoming a very popular destination for visiting cruise-liners. The key attraction lies in the unique blend of present-day beauty and former disaster and upheaval. The stunning scenery is best viewed from viewpoints atop Namanula and Observatory Hills but a visit to the Duke of York Islands is a must too. There are often dolphins frolicking in Simpson Harbour and even magnificent diving opportunities.

History buffs are also sure to be fascinated by the vast amount of World War II history left behind after the Japanese occupation. Close to 600kms of tunnels were constructed during this time some of which can still be explored today and relics abound in situ such as gun emplacements and fallen aircraft. The Kokopo War Museum is also a must.

South Sea Horizons have a headquaters here and are the experts in Rabaul. Learn more about our range of Rabaul Tours below.

RABAUL MASK FESTIVAL

Itinerary

Duration: 10 days/9 nights

Day 1 – Rabaul

Welcome to Papua New Guinea! Touch down at Rabaul Airport (aka Tokua Airport), where you’ll be transferred to your hotel. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6.30 pm in the reception area. You’ll learn a bit about the history of Rabaul from the hotel owner, enjoy a welcome drink at the bar, and perhaps head out for an optional dinner with fellow travellers. If arriving early, be sure to explore and get a feel for the town. Rabaul’s nickname ‘Pearl of the Pacific’, though apt, was replaced with ‘Pompeii of the Pacific’ after the devastating eruption of Tarvurvur volcano in 1994. Despite this loss, Rabaul is still an alluring destination of beauty and depth.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
Meals Included

There are no meals included on this day.

Day 2 – Duke of York Islands

Marvel at the force of Mother Nature from the base of an active volcano. From here you will be picked up by your vessel and transported to the Duke of York Islands. While each island around East New Britain has its own personality and story, the Duke of York Islands are where you’ll experience the real PNG. Cruise around the islands and hear some local history while taking in a wonderful array of colours. Keep an eye out for dolphins, dugong (sea cows with forked tails) and local fishing canoes. The waters around here are crystal-clear blue lagoons, the beaches are white, and the vegetation is lush – it’s a real slice of paradise. Today’s tour includes a barbecue lunch cooked on one of the beaches. Afterwards there will be plenty of time to relax and enjoy the hospitality of the locals. You’ll also make a stop at Mioko Island to learn more about traditional weaving, cooking and fishing. Enjoy a traditional sing-sing (a gathering of tribes for cultural performance) and an overnight village stay.

Accommodation
  • Village stay
Included Activities
  • Duke of York Islands – Mioko Island tour & sing sing
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Day 3 – Rabaul

Rise for an early breakfast and take in scenes of local life. After a briefing on the rest of the day’s activities, you’ll depart the Duke of York Islands and be dropped back at Vunagum by mid morning. Your tour of the area includes a trip to the Rabaul Markets (keep some small denominations of PNG Kina (5–10 kina notes) handy for trinkets or local fruits and snacks). Visit Yamamoto’s Bunker to learn more about the genius behind Japan’s early WWII naval successes. Then, across the street, check out the remains of the Old Nuigini Club and gain some insight into what Rabaul was like both pre- and post-eruption, and pre-independence. After a visit to the Japanese Submarine Base, make a stop at the Volcano Observatory for a look out over Old Rabaul – a fantastic photo opportunity. Also explore the Japanese tunnels and barge tunnels at Karavia Bay. There’s a fascinating maze extending some 20 metres underground, made up of three stories, a kitchen and various escape routes. Lunch today will be at a hotel in Rabaul. In the evening, enjoy some free time to relax back at the hotel.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Rabaul – Old Niugini Club
  • Rabaul – Japanese Submarine Base & Tunnels
  • Rabaul – Rabaul Markets
  • Rabaul – Yamamoto’s Bunker
  • Rabaul – Karavai Ceremony
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Day 4– Rabaul

Travel around to see the sights around Kokopo today. Your tour of the area includes a visit to the Bitapaka War Cemetery, where the first Australians who fought here during the first and second world wars have been laid to rest. Hear about the 2nd/22nd Battalion and the interesting war history of Rabaul – namely the Battle of Rabaul, also known by the Japanese as Operation R. You will also visit the Blue Lagoon, where you can see some Japanese barge tunnels. These tunnels were built by the Japanese to conceal their barges and to protect them from the bombing raids of the Allies in World War II. Finally, check out the nearby volcano and hot springs. Here you can stand at the base of the volcano and marvel at the force of Mother Nature.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kokopo – Bitapaka War Cemetery
  • Kokopo – Blue Lagoon
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Day 5 – Rabaul Mask Festival

Your reward for a 4:30 am start today is the Kinavai ceremony, a re-enactment of the landing of the Tolai People into Rabaul. The canoes paddle across the water at the break of dawn, and you can hear the canoes and the chants long before you see them. The stillness of the morning air coupled with the chanting makes for a riveting spectacle. Then, after breakfast back at the hotel, it’s time to delve into the first day of the Mask Festival, so get amongst the colourful array of PNG cultures on display. Dance groups perform throughout the day here, and you’ll see and hear an amazing variety of songs and instruments. Each clan has a unique beat, and each culture a distinct dance. After an early optional dinner, head up to Kainagunan or Gaulim Village in the Baining area (approximately 50 minutes from the hotel). Here you’ll watch as the men from the Baining clans immerse themselves in flames and escape unscathed. It’s an exhilarating ritual performed nowhere else in the world. Interestingly, the Baining people are one of few cultures in PNG that doesn’t use the Kundu drum; they use bamboo instead.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Rabaul Mask festival and Kinavai festival
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 6 – Rabaul Mask Festival

Enjoy a free day to soak up the festivities. With your hotel situated right next door to the festival grounds, you can come and go as you please, exploring at your own pace.

Included Activities
  • Rabaul Mask festival
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Day 7 – Rabaul Mask Festival

After breakfast your leader will give you a briefing on what to expect today at the show. We will then transfer the group to the show grounds for more of the festival. You will be given free reign to around the festival at your own pace and take in the sites.

Feel free to take a walk around Kokopo Town. We can organize a guide to show you around for a small tip to the local guide.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Rabaul Mask festival
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Day 8 – Matupit Island

Located directly across the bay from the currently active Tavurvur volcano, Matupit Island boasts a population of 200–300, many of whom have resettled throughout the province following the 1994 eruptions. On arrival you will be greeted by the islanders with frangipani leis (garlands) and be taken through the village, stopping by the locals schools, church and craft market. Take the opportunity to make purchases and participate in traditional crafts and activities. You’ll get a sense of how the local inhabitants survive on a day-to-day basis by seeing how important fishing and the collection of Megapode eggs are to the local economy (another major revenue stream is the coconut). You might find your own Megapode egg – or buy one from the local villagers – to take back to the hotel and have it cooked for your breakfast. Lunch today will be a traditional one, cooked right on the beach by your local friends. In the evening, return to Kokopo and check into the Rapopo Plantation Resort, your base until the end of the trip.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kokopo – Dolphin watching &snorkelling
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Day 9 – Kokopo

Enjoy some free time today. You might like to partake in further activities, all of which are optional. Keen scuba divers can take a half-day trip to explore the incredible coral reefs and underwater World War II wreckage. Deep-sea game fishing is also possible. Those looking to relax and unwind might like to indulge in an ‘Island Massage’, sure to reinvigorate you after your week of adventuring. This is available at the resort. Otherwise, simply relax, unwind and take a refreshing swim in the pool. Say goodbye to your local leader, and perhaps enjoy dinner with your fellow travellers for one last celebration.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kokopo – Kokopo Markets
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Day 10 – Departure Day

Your trip comes to an end after breakfast. With no further activities planned, you’re free to depart at any time. A transfer to the airport is included.

Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Departure Transfer
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

RABAUL BICYCLE TOUR

Pedal at a peaceful pace to markets, peace memorials and historical sites as you discover Rabaul along the harbour.

Itinerary

Duration: 3 Hours

Your Itinerary Highlights:

  • Rabaul Harbour – enjoy one of the most untouched beautiful harbours at your own pace
  • Rabaul Market – relocated after the eruption to cater for the remaining population in Rabaul. This market is a true example of a Papuan market which supplies the community
  • Japanese Peace Memorial – the main Japanese memorial is a testament to the forgiveness of the local people
  • Yamamoto Bunker – Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto commanded the entire Pacific campaign for the Japanese from this bunker including orchestrating the bombing of Pearl Harbour.
  • Bicycle ride – soak in the fresh ocean air as you leisurely cycle along Rabaul Harbour

RABAUL EXPERIENCE TOUR

Enjoy a true Rabaul experience from the Volcano to weaving a basket.

Itinerary

Duration: 3 Hours

Your Itinerary Highlights:

  • Volcano Cruise – Discover the Volcano with unique ocean access to its base, where you will enjoy the sites not accessible by any other way.
  • Basket Weaving on Matupit Island – Be dropped off at Matupit Island which is under under the shadow of the volcano, it is under here we witness traditional basket weaving display by the local island inhabitants.
  • Traditional food cooked on the fire in the customary way for guest to sample.

HELICOPTER TOUR OF RABAUL HARBOUR & VOLCANO

The Sky will literally be your limit when you savour the fantastic views of Rabaul Harbour and Volcanoes that surround it

Itinerary

Duration: 15 Min

NOT available until March 2018

Your Helicopter Ride Highlights:

  • Matupit Island – the island in the shadow of the live Tavurvur volcano.
  • Tavurvur Volcano  – One of the few live Volcanoes which still puff’s to this day.
  • The Gazelle Peninsula – The Rabaul Caldera is at the tip of this peninsular as it extends showcasing the fertile landscape.
  • Rabaul Harbour – view one of the most beautiful untouched harbours in the world by air.

Historical Rabaul and Kokopo by coach

Rabaul is rich in war history from World War I and II and we include the major sites on this historical tour by bus coach.

Itinerary

Duration: 3 Hours

Includes major sites of WW1 and WWII – The first Australian loss of lives in both wars was in Rabaul.

  • Japanese Underground Hospital – This underground hospital was set up during WWII by the Japanese with a system of tunnels, pulleys, a kitchen, quarters and camp area and a reminder of the causalities of war.
  • Japanese Submarine base – The Japanese Submarine base set up by Admiral Yamamoto in WWII to shelter the soldiers and submarines from air bombing raids.
  • Rabaul hotel – one of the only standing buildings after the last Volcanic eruption in 1994, It has hosted visitors since 1952 including Prime Ministers, sports start and HRH Prince Andrew Duke of York.
  • Yamamoto bunker – Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto commanded the entire Pacific campaign for the Japanese from this bunker including orchestrating the bombing of Pearl Harbour.
  • Volcanic Hot Springs – Visit the hot springs at the base of the Kaia – Tavurvur
  • Volcano – Marvel at the live Kaia (Volcano) – Tavurvur
  • Drive around Matupit Island

Let’s Go Fishing in Rabaul

Experience a true fishing experience in the abundant Rabaul harbour where the mackerel are jumping on this day fishing tour.

Itinerary

Duration: 3 Hours

Your Itinerary Highlights:

  • Rabaul harbour Cruise.
  • All fishing equipment included – rods, nets, bait.
  • Local knowledge on where the best fishing spots are.
  • FISH!!!
  • All fish caught will be donated to local hospital or if time, we can cook it on the beach in a traditional style.

Dolphin Watch & Snorkelling

Watch the majestic dolphins swim in their natural habitat, then snorkel with the local fish.

Itinerary

Duration: 5 Hours

Your Itinerary Highlights:

  • Cruise past volcano.
  • Find our resident Spinner Dolphins.
  • Tow line behind boat amongst he dolphins ( Depending on weather and current safety).
  • Snorkell at Pigeon Island.

Matupit Island Tour

Travel to the lava landscaped Matupit island, populated by 300 people on this full day excursion and immersion with the friendly islanders.

Itinerary

Duration: Full Day

Your Itinerary Highlights:

  • Matupit Islander greeting with frangipani leis.
  • Village tour of schools, church and craft market.
  • Witness the way of life of the islanders – collecting Megapode eggs & fishing.
  • Traditional lunch cooked on the beach by the friendly islanders.
  • Experience the lava landscape of the island.

Duke of York Islands Overnight Homestay Stay & Tour

Experience something truly unique in this overnight homestay on one of the Duke of York islands.

Itinerary

Duration: Overnight

Your Itinerary Highlights:

  • Cruise arounds the Duke of York Islands.
  • A chance to view Dolphins, dugongs and local fishing canoes as we navigate through this small archipelago of crystal clear waters, white beaches and lush forest.
  • Barbeque Lunch cooked on the beach of fresh seafood caught in the waters surrounding you.
  • Overnight Homestay and islander hospitality on Mioko Island with traditional weaving, cooking and fishing.
  • Witness a traditional sing-sing – a gathering of local tribes for a cultural performance and dance.
  • Exploration of Mioko island village and community.
  • Return to Rabaul for village basket and mat weaving.

RABAUL TOUR BOOKING REQUEST

Questions about Rabaul?

Please contact us using the form below with any queries about our Rabaul tours. We will reply to you promptly. Thank you

SOUTH SEA ON SOCIAL

REQUEST THIS TOUR