Tourism unaffected by Tavurvur volcano eruption in Rabaul


Last week’s eruption of the Tavurvur volcano at Rabaul has failed to daunt the spirits of tourists visiting the area, according to a local hotelier.

Mt Tavurvur volcano erupts. Credit: John Lau via Facebook

Mt Tavurvur volcano erupts. Credit: John Lau via Facebook

The Rabaul volcano at the north-east end of New Britain often erupts, although at a low level. The last big eruption was in 1994, but this most recent eruption was nowhere near as dramatic or disruptive.

The eruption shot lava hundreds of metres into the air, while the accompanying ash cloud reached 18km, almost double the cruising altitude of most commercial aircraft. Qantas re-routed some of its flights from Shanghai and Tokyo around the volcano.

Fortunately, according to the Rabaul Hotel proprietor Susie McGrade, the winds were blowing away from Rabaul township, although light brown ash still swept across, covering the town and surrounding areas.

‘Once we get a couple of thunderstorms in the rainy season—from October—the ash will disappear,’ she told Business Advantage PNG.

But she describes the eruption as ‘fantastic’ for tourism, as people interested in volcanos and ‘the effects of the natural world’ are attracted to these events.

Anniversary celebrations

Next week’s events to mark the 100th anniversary of Australia’s first battle of World War One, when Rabaul was captured from the Germans, are going ahead.

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‘There has been no drop off in bookings. All the hotels are full,’ McGrade told Business Advantage PNG.

HMAS Yarra. Credit: RAN

HMAS Yarra. Credit: RAN

The Australian navy vessel HMAS Yarra will arrive to take part in the commemorations. The original Yarra, HMAS Yarra was present at the formal surrender of German New Guinea to the Australian forces at Rabaul on 13 September 1914.

A total of 200 visitors are expected to take part in the week-long commemorations.

Direct flights

McGrade also says access to Rabaul has been made easier by the commencement of direct flights from Cairns to Rabaul, each Monday and Friday, with most tourists staying the week in the area. The only downside she says is that Australians are unable to obtain a visa on arrival, unlike other nationalities.



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