Liveaboard Diving in Rabaul

What To Expect On a Rabaul Liveaboard

Liveaboard diving to Rabaul showcases some of the finest diving that Papua New Guinea has to offer. Dive safaris take in a wonderfully diverse array of dive sites from coral-encrusted seamounts and reef walls plunging into the depths, to the remnants of this WWII battlefield and popular muck diving spots.

A township on the tip of eastern New Britain Island, Rabaul has had a rather turbulent history. Sitting on a bay formed thousands of years ago from the collapse of a volcanic crater, Rabaul used to be a lively town and the capital of the province, until it was engulfed by falling ash from one of the nearby volcanoes erupting in 1994. You can still see the glow of some of the local, but distant, active volcanoes on a clear night.

Today, Rabaul is a popular starting point for Papua New Guinea dive cruises along the northeast and south coasts of New Britain, with the stunning scenery, lively volcanoes, and the charming culture of the local Tolai people.

Liveaboard Diving From Rabaul

When the rainy season arrives in other regions of Papua New Guinea, the best Rabaul liveaboards adjust their dive tours to enjoy the good weather and diving conditions at the east end and southern reefs of New Britain.

No Rabaul itinerary would be complete without checking out the wrecks of WWII planes and boats scattered throughout Simpson Harbour. The evidence of the many air and sea battles remain frozen in time, waiting for divers on the seabed at anywhere from 5 to 50 meters (15 to 150 feet).

Liveaboard boats in Rabaul will typically take divers to explore the colorful coral gardens and plummeting walls offshore from the striking 1,000-meter (3,000-foot) cliffs that overshadow Tavui Point. This popular liveaboard tour destination, locally known as the Submarine Base, all manner sea life play in crystal waters that sheltered Japanese subs during the war.

Rabaul dive tours often head south to enjoy the best conditions while diving the vibrant and prolific fringing reefs and floating along the striking coral walls with the ocean currents. But it’s the unique and bizarre creatures hiding amid the sandy bottom that is often the highlight of any Rabaul dive cruise.

Some of the best Rabaul liveaboards happen in July when you get to do more than just chat with the locals who paddle out to your boat to sell fruit and vegetables. Extend your PNG adventure by combining your diving safari with a visit to the Rabaul Mask Festival, where you’ll discover the wonders of traditional Papuan - Melanesian dancing, singing, and traditional costumes.

Getting To Rabaul

The best way to experience Rabaul is from a Papua New Guinea liveaboard. After arriving into Papua New Guinea at Jacksons International Airport in Moresby, you'll transfer over to one of the national airlines for the hour and a half flight to Tokua airport on the island of New Britain. The 60-minute drive north along the coast offers incredible views out over Blanche Bay and the Pacific Ocean before reaching Rabaul to begin your dive liveaboard.