Five great surfing experiences in Papua New Guinea


Where to surf in Papua New Guinea? Robert Upe, John Borthwick and Craig Tansley track down five great surfing experiences.

View from the PNG Explorer Credit: Chris Peel


WHAT’S THE SURF LIKE? There’s boat access to several nearby reef breaks, which typically break at 3–5 feet, sometimes up to 6–8 feet. Surfer numbers are capped and most likely you’ll be surfing with just five or six others. As for all of PNG, the best surf is from November to April.

STAYING THERE Nusa Island Retreat is on a small island across the harbour from Kavieng. The laidback retreat has 11 traditional bungalows, some sleeping up to six. The best are overwater and include verandahs with hammocks and en suites. There are also beach bungalows, with a mix of en suites and shared bathrooms. Dinner and drinks are in an open-plan restaurant/bar with a sand floor. The evening buffet includes fresh seafood – outstanding every night during our visit.

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO? The retreat shares the island with a village, where you’re welcome to mingle or buy handicrafts. There’s a beautiful beach for swimming opposite the restaurant, or snorkel over wrecks (some of them sunk during World War 2). Kayaking, fishing and diving are also on the cards.


Tupira surf beach

PNG WHAT’S THE SURF LIKE? PNG’S inaugural international surfing event – a round of the 2017 World Longboard Championship – was conducted at Ulingan Bay, opposite Tupira Surf Club. That such an event can be staged here is testimony to the consistency and quality of the waves. There are nine reef breaks in the area, including a right-hand point break.

STAYING THERE Tupira Surf Club offers back-to-basics accommodation in a guesthouse that sleeps 12, six twin rooms and a two-bedroom bungalow. Fresh and organic food is on the menu.

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO? Go fishing, catch prawns at night, hang out with the locals or go bird watching to see PNG’s famed bird of paradise.

Story continues after advertisment...


PNG WHAT’S THE SURF LIKE? PNG’s far north is blessed with uncrowded waves. There are at least eight reef breaks and two beach breaks close to Vanimo (and many more a bit further away). All levels can find a wave here, whether it’s easy Town Beach or Lido Point, a right-hander that can peel for 150 metres. Seasonal swells originate from Philippine monsoons and North Pacific storms and range in size from 2–10 feet. There are plans for a round of the WSL longboard championship to be held at Vanimo this year.

STAYING THERE Vanimo Surf Lodge has traditional beachfront huts facing Lido Point. The lodge has capacity for 16 guests but rarely achieves those numbers. There is an adjoining shower and toilet block, as well as a bar and eating area with a table-tennis table and hammocks. Hire boards are available. The food is fresh and local, whether it’s from the sea or land.

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO? Waterfall bushwalks, village tours and beach or boat fishing are available.


WHAT’S THE SURF LIKE? The wave at Dalom is an easy beach break. Beside a creek and surrounded by jungle, a little guesthouse sits right on a white-sand beach. Step from the door, let the creek current carry you out to the break, and then surf until dusk. You can explore in both directions along the coast for more challenging waves, such as further south at Rubio Plantation Retreat.

STAYING THERE Dalom Village Guesthouse has six basic rooms and several bungalows. The meals are filling but simple, mainly fish, rice and vegetables; bring a few chocolate bars and other treats, if so inclined. The villagers are very friendly but, this being a traditional rural culture, don’t expect nightlife.

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO? Other activities include beach fishing, trekking and cycling.


WHAT’S THE SURF LIKE? You’ll be accessing deserted breaks by small ship along the New Hanover and New Ireland coastline in the Bismarck Archipelago. Surfers have a choice of breaks – some, like The Slab (shallow right-hander) are for experts, but mostly these are waves for intermediates.

STAYING THERE While the cabins are fairly simple and functional, there’s nothing downgrade about staying on the PNG Explorer  – there’s even an espresso machine on board serving fresh-ground PNG coffee. Passengers gather for communal seafood dinners on deck, and beers are served cold at sunset.

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO? Fish in waters that have hardly been touched by commercial fishing. Marlin jump as you troll; if you can’t catch a 10-kilogram plus game fish, throw your rod away. You can also snorkel, visit traditional villages and dive World War 2 wrecks (Japanese and American planes).

This article first published in Paradise, the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini. Reproduced with permission. Air Niugini flies to all of these destinations.

Leave a Reply