Diving resort on Papua New Guinea’s Loloata Island set for early opening in 2019


A completely redeveloped Loloata Island Resort, just out of Port Moresby, is scheduled to open in February or March of 2019, according to Lew Nielsen, Director of the resort. The signature tourism project is a joint venture of Lamana Development and NASFUND.

Loloata Island aerial shot. Source: Lamana Development

Loloata Island Resort was originally opened in 1977 as a dive resort by former owner Richard Knight.

In 2016, NASFUND and Lamana Development bought him out.

Lew Nielsen says Lamana Development is both a co-investor and the building contractor in the Loloata Island redevelopment.

‘There have been some advances and improvements in the building of hotels over the last 10 or 12 years,’ he says. ‘Loloata will be a very nice property.’

Nielsen says the hotel will have two conference rooms, which he believes will be attractive to business people wanting to ‘pop out of Port Moresby’ or the Highlands.

Artist’s impression of the resort. Source: Lamana Development


Lamana has an extensive history of hotel development: Airways Hotel and Apartments and Lamana Hotel in Port Moresby, Taumeasina Island Resort in Western Samoa, the Grand Pacific Hotel in Fiji, and the Heritage Park Hotel in the Solomon Islands.

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Taumeasina and the Grand Pacific Hotel were both joint ventures with NASFUND, the PNG-based superannuation fund.

The design is by the Australian company Thomson Adsett. The aim is to create a resort that engages with the natural landscape, developing its own distinct identity.

At the same time, it will embody the history of the original resort.

Nielsen says the resort, which will have 66 accommodation rooms, will be aimed at a ‘diversified’ market.

‘There are 29 dive sites close to the island.’

‘The Japanese are big, we will see them coming again. There is an emerging market out of China.

‘Europe likes us; and North America—and Australia, of course.’

Loloata Island’s Lew Nielsen. Source: Lamana Development

Nielsen says there will also be an attempt to ‘tap into the PNG bigger tourism picture’ by looking for visitors coming off the Kokoda trail.

He believes that because of the close proximity to Port Moresby—it is 15 minutes by ferry and 29 minutes to the centre of town—the resort will be suitable for business travellers.

‘People can actually stay there on a business trip and it is quite a different place to stay.’


The main focus, however, will be on diving; there are 29 dive sites close to the island.

‘It has a unique place in the PNG dive industry, maybe in the world,’ says Nielsen.

‘It has spectacular diving and is probably the world’s best diving so close to a capital city.’

‘The island is self-contained, with power and desalination plants.’

There will be a morning dive, two afternoon dives and an evening dive.

‘The night dives are pretty spectacular—there are fish down there that actually give off light,’ says Nielsen.


Nielsen says the construction required the use of a large barge, mainly at night because of the tides—and logistics will continue to be challenging.

‘The island is self contained, with power and desalination plants.

‘We have our own water treatment plants; it is about as drinkable as you can get.

‘Then we have to bring all the rubbish back, so logistics are going to have quite a big impact.’


  1. Jim Jenkins says

    After having been to Fijis Denerau Island resorts Loloata leaves these behind in terms of the finish and facilities.
    Very peaceful and relaxing.

  2. Ken Kamo LOGONA says

    I am a proud local village man from Tubusereia coastal village. As understood this particular business venture will definitely promote our local motuan traditional cultural activities and bring wealth to our village, community and country as a whole.
    I wish to be given an opportunity to part take in this type of business ventures by buying some small shares on this type of business ventures in the near future, i.e. or other some small contractual spin off business ventures such as security, cultural dancing, selling of small hand crafts or traditional ornaments or this resort to provide hospitality training and direct employments to our youths.

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