Behind Papua New Guinea’s internationally-acclaimed eco-resort


The Nuli Sapi resort in Milne Bay has been named one of the world’s top 10 ‘eco-stays’ for 2014 by travel publisher Lonely Planet. Paul Howell spoke with its delighted founders.

Nuli Sapi eco-resort. Courtesy: Trip Advisor

Nuli Sapi eco-resort. Credit: Trip Advisor

PNG landowners Isaiah and Maniana Mwado’s first foray into the hospitality industry has enjoyed great success after just a few years in business. That’s not just in the face of competition from other resorts in Papua New Guinea, but in competition with resorts and eco-tourism destinations across the world.

The Mwados opened Nuli Sapi resort on Logeia Island in Milne Bay, in partnership with manager Kayleigh Colbran, in 2012.

The four generous bungalows have accommodated a range of international guests including from Australia, Denmark, Italy, and Belgium since then, with plenty of positive feedback being recorded on crowd-sourced travel website Trip Advisor.

Big endorsement

But the biggest endorsement came this February, when Nuli Sapi was included among the year’s Top 10 ‘Eco Stays‘, by global travel publisher, Lonely Planet.

‘You’ll be awestruck by the setting,’ the annual report noted. ‘The bungalows themselves are simple but comfortable and made entirely of bush materials, with a veranda perched over the water.’

‘It was a huge surprise for us, and a very welcome endorsement,’ Manager Kayleigh Colbran told Business Advantage PNG.

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Starting up

The unique community-based resort was two years in the making.

Landowner Isaiah and his cousin Maniana provided much of the legwork and project management during the building phase, with Colbran and her partner contributing the initial finance.

Colbran says the local community is also an important partner in the project, with guests free to participate in a range of authentic tours and local activities. As the resort improves its occupancy rate (70% is the current goal), Colbran hopes to increase the range of activities available, including a revival of traditional craft.

Eco features

In the same way, the local environment features strongly.

‘Everything is designed to factor in the local environment,’ Colbran said. ‘It’s all built with local materials, using traditional skills.’

The resort runs on solar energy, and uses a nearby dam for water.

Obstacles to be overcome

Of course, there are still challenges in running a remote-area tourism venture.

Just getting to Logeia Island can be a long and difficult journey for international visitors, and Colbran is among a number of local business leaders calling for Gurney Airport at Alotau to be opened up to international traffic from northern Australia.

She says Port Moresby’s poor reputation for visitor safety also discourages tourists from visiting far more secure regional areas such as Milne Bay.

But, she says, the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority is slowly changing perceptions.

Paul Howell is a freelance business journalist.


  1. Allan Wawah says

    The promotional story is great and attractive for tourism development. However, safety remains one of the key obstacle for tourism development. The PNG government through its enforcement agencies need to ensure business environment is condusive always to attract tourism and investment generally. We all need to support in our small ways to create a safe haven for tourism in PNG.

  2. Congratulation!
    Continue to make it more wounderful so that visitors can flood in.
    Lovely news

  3. Daniel Tovakuta says

    This is great news, especially for tourism operators at rural areas. It provides variety for visitors to choose from, creates income earning opportunities (at the rural level), and above all preserves our natural environment.

    Congratulations to the owners and the hardworking people of Logeia Island, M.B.P!

  4. Congratulations!
    We need more of this as a tailored tourism product
    Exciting news!

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