Indulge in a cultural extravaganza at the town of Alotau.

Oceania Papua New Guinea
[su_wiloke_sc_company_website]One achieves ultimate satisfaction for the mind and soul when one gets complete peace and good space. Unfortunately, in our daily lives, it is highly impossible for those two integral parts of us to attain that state. Travelling rejuvenates the heart and brain especially to places free from the hustle-bustle and the maddening crowd. Virgin beaches and islands come to our mind whenever we think about untouched places. One such unearthed gem is Alotau which is located on the list of most secluded yet beautiful places on the world. The pristine beauty of nature added with the cultural touch will make your visit to this place a worth coming again one.

Tribal Festival Alotau
(Tribal Festival - Alotau - Papua New Guinea) © ARNE PEDERSEN

Best time to visit this place:

The best time to visit this place is during the dry season. Dry season or the summer, in this place starts from April onwards and extends until October. This time will be the best time since there will be less humidity when compared to the wet season which ranges from mid- November to March.

So you can enjoy the beaches and the town without worrying about the risk of infestation. The month of January is also considered to be a good time to visit this place as the effect of thunderstorms adds a beauty factor to this location. On the whole, you will get a fantastic time visiting this place anytime you visit.

History of the town and culture:

Origin of this name: Alotau means “Beautiful Bay” in the Suau language. Suau language is the local language of the people living on this island.

History:  This Island didn’t have a significant historical record until the World War 2. Before that, this was an old fashioned, sleepy little town with few activities of gold mining and by missionaries. The first major establishment was a coconut grove, and from then this city gathered steam. The resident describes the region as the “Pearl of the Pacific”. During the Second World War, initially, the Japanese occupied this region and the allied forces captured this region by defeating the Japanese. They converted this quaint town into a huge military base comprising of base camps, enormous airstrips, repair base, radar center, and patrol boat base and so on.

Papua New Guinea
(Papua New Guinea) © Krzysztof Kryza

The allied forces built the largest structure ever built on Papua New Guinea, the cold storage with a whopping area of 120000 square feet used for storing cola and ice-cream for the United States forces.These military activities took a toll on the lives of the people residing here. People had a tough time during those days because the invading forces razed the villages and demolished the buildings. This place is the venue of the annual forum for Australian and Papua New Guinea ministers.

Geographical description, the beauty of this place and why famous:

Alotau is located on the southeast part of the island nation of Papua New Guinea. This town is the capital of the Milne Bay province, situated at the northern end of the provincial boundary. The population of this town is about 16000, and it is the 15th largest city in the country. “Pacific ring of fire” houses the country which is a point of collision of several tectonic plates. This means that this region is prone to several volcanoes, earthquakes and other seismic activities like tsunamis. Lush rain forests surround this region which makes inland transportation a very difficult task. Walking is the best mode of transportation in this place. The climate experienced here is tropical one with harsh summers and wet winters.

Papua New Guinea
(Papua New Guinea). © Krzysztof Kryza

Alotau is one of the most unexplored places in the country in which it is located too is away from the radar of the travel map of the world. This place offers several locations which are as rich as the internationally acclaimed locations around the world. Also, the heritage of this place and the people are still existent as it was in the older days. The people still use traditional methods of welcoming, cooking, dressing and celebrating an occasion. Due to the on- arrival of sophisticated technology, these people still follow traditional customs which will enthrall you for sure. This place is worth visiting especially for the unadulterated traditions followed by the people.Nowadays this place is getting prominence amongst the tourists who want to enthrall in totally offbeat locations.

Places to visit in this town:

  • Alotau Town Market: Located at the Centre of the town, the town market is the hub of business activity in the town. Locals from all over the surrounding regions gather here and sell whatever they produce to the other people. There are a variety of things that are sold here which are indigenous to this area. The most popular thing that is sold here is betel nut. Other commodities that are sold here are handicrafts, fresh fish and much A visit to this place will be a good experience to know the culture of the region.
  • Turnbull War Memorial: This place explains the historical significance of this town. This memorial, built in the memory of the leader of the Australian squadron, Peter St George Turnbull, stands tall in this city. The Australian troops were the one who eliminated the Japanese forces away from the region, and thus the people of Papua New Guinea still hold a great reverence for them. The battle of Milne Bay was the first one in which the Japanese lost to the Australians for the first time in PNG. A visit to this memorial will be an emotional one as one would come to know about the hardships faced by the soldiers during the Second World War.
Market Development Facil
Market Development Facil
  • Water activities:

  • The Milne Bay is an untapped paradise of water world which indeed will become a dream destination for a person who loves water activities. The unpolluted coastline is so pure that its fauna is varied and exotic. One can experience some fantastic scuba diving and snorkeling sessions here as they can see the clear seabed below them with marine creatures like manta ray and coral reefs. For a traditional experience, go on a canoe ride with the locals to the middle of the sea.
  • The Alotau Festival: The festival that is held over here is the best way to experience the traditional lifestyle of the people living here. This festival takes place at the Wanigili Centre when a cruise ship arrives at this place. The locals dress in ethnic wear and there perform several traditional activities like dancing, chanting and beating of their traditional drums ( Kundu). You can do shopping here if you want to buy traditional handicrafts and can indulge in a traditional feast
  • Dodobana Cultural Village: Dodobana cultural village is an entirely traditional village which is a representation of the ancient customs and practices of the tribal people living here. This village is 7 kilometers from the town and is accessible via a bumpy half an hour ride. People here are still holding their traditional practices, and it is a new experience for the new age guys like us. The village is a part of the day excursion organized by tour operators in this town.

How to reach Alotau and how much it costs:

Given here are the directions to reach the town from the capital city of Papua New Guinea which is Port Moresby. Since the country is poor at inland transportation, air and water is the only way to reach this place. The airport that is present in Port Moresby is Jacksons International Airport, and this is about 8 kilometers away from the city. This airport is well accessed from places like Brisbane (Australia), Manila (Philippines). From here flights operate to Alotau, whose airport name is Gurney Airport named in the memory of the Royal Australian Air force squadron leader Charles Raymond Gurney who was killed here during the Second World War. Air Papua New Guinea or by Air Niugini operate the flights out here. The time taken to travel between these two places is about 1 hour and 15 minutes maximum, and the cost that incurs is rough $250.

Alotau Milne Bay
(Alotau - Milne Bay - zuidoost Papoea Nieuw Guinea) © Rita Willaert

Another way is by sea. Though most of the people prefer air travel due to the travel time taken.The comfort factor as many people find seas to be uncomfortable and nauseating due to its turbulent nature, traveling by sea is truly an unusual view if you want to see the mountainous and canopy surrounded terrain and if you are okay with the roughness that the sea provides.

Cruises from the port of Moresby are available, and it may cost roughly about the same price as the airplane charges.

Places of Accommodation in this town:

Since infrastructure is quite basic in this country, expecting luxurious places to stay fetches a rare chance. There are several places to stay which are cheap in rates and offer excellent services. Given below are few places accommodation that may suit your needs

  • Tawali Resort: One of the best places to stay in this region. Located near the coastline, giving you fantastic view of the pristine sea. This resort includes all the comfy factors one needs to enjoy in the vacation. Located at a remote position which means you can enjoy your vacation in pure solitude. The hotel management arranges for the trips through the town, aquatic activities and so on. Amiable resort team. Rates starting from $87.
  • Alotau International Hotel: One of the luxurious hotels in this town. This hotel has an end facing towards the sea which means that you can enjoy the views in peace. The bar is available which serves some good varieties of liquor. The service is semi-western one, and the staffs are friendly. Rates starting from $155 per day.
    Alotau Papua New Guinea
    (Alotau, Papua New Guinea) © Mike Aeria
  • Driftwood: Driftwood hotel offers amazing packages to its guests such as arranging snorkeling, scuba diving tours and their buffet which includes an enormous seafood platter will make your stay in this hotel an amazing and unforgettable one. Their staffs are very friendly and helpful so that they will take care of your needs. Rates starting from $213 per day.
  • Alotau Waterfront Lodge: One of the economical places to stay in this town. This lodge is located at the city Centre and reached from the shore by walk. The amenities are basic yet neat and satisfying providing you good accommodation for cheaper rates. The lodge comprises of a restaurant and a bar which are amazing. The bar serves good alcoholic drinks, and the seafood platter in the restaurant is good. Rates starting from $107 per day.
  • Masurina Lodge: An apartment type of hotel that is well suited for people who would prefer bed and breakfast type of service. The rooms are clean and neat and the service is good by the hotel management. They provide free Wi-Fi, bar fridge, Air conditioning, TV, laundry and so on giving you utmost comfort during your stay.

Places to eat in this town:

Papua New Guinea’s cuisine is heavily influenced from European, Indonesian and Chinese cuisine. Their staple food is rice, sago and sweet potato (kau kau in their language). Their dishes will be a blend of these items in addition to seafood, greens and seasonal fruits. The traditional dish of these people is the mumu which is cooked in the covered oven. These mumu consists of pork meat, rice, sweet potatoes and greens, served during traditional occasions. Other traditional dishes of these people are taro, kau kau, sago and pork. Given here are some of the good restaurants in this town where you can have a good, hearty meal:

Alotau market
(Alotau market) © Jim
  • Jeff’s bar and grill: Here is the spot in the city where you can get a scrumptious Barbeque with a glass of beer accompanying it. This place is best visited during weekends where locals visit the bar in their traditional way. The restaurant here provides an extravaganza buffet and also some quick bites from the fast food center.
  • Napatana Bar: The ambience of the bar is so awesome; you will visit this bar just for its surroundings. The interior of the restaurant, decorated with a war canoe with rafters and also traditional carvings. They provide a multi-cuisine buffet.
  • By the Bay Restaurant: This restaurant provides international cuisine which includes Indian delicacies like fish Chettinad.
  • Malabu café
  • Masurina lodge
  • Driftwood resort

Tips for tourists:

Alotau canoes
(Alotau canoes) © Jim
  • Papua New Guinea, on the whole, is very under developed country regarding lifestyle as well as infrastructure so one must be ready to face any crisis prevailing over that situation.
  • Since dense forests surround the region, stay away from denser areas and take necessary preventive measures to avoid infestation.
  • Take a mosquito repellent with you as these areas are prone to malaria.
  • Contact the embassy of your country before planning over there regarding the situation over there to stay safe.
  • Contact your hotel management to arrange trips as you may be a victim of cheating.

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