Rabaul Part 1

It’s been quite a while since I posted; I apologize for my negligence.

The next few posts will be about a wonderful little trip I took to Rabaul / Kokopo with Bonnie Chaban in November. Bonnie was taking a big trip around Austrailia and New Zealand, and decided to pop over to PNG to visit me!

Rabaul and Kokopo are situated on the edge of a large caldera on the tip of the island of New Britain. Rabaul was the capital of East New Britain until 1994 when a volcanic eruption by Mount Tavurvur buried much of the town in ash, causing 80% of the buildings to collapse. The town of Rabaul is still recovering from the eruption, and Kokopo is now the capital.

We met at the airport in Port Moresby. I had checked in for both my flights in Goroka, and she had checked in for her POM -> Kokopo flight in POM. We got out our tickets to see if we were sitting close, and randomly we were right next to each other! Already an awesome start to the trip!


Seats 3F and 3G

We stayed at Kokopo Beach Bungalows, which was lovely. They even had GF bread!! The first day we took a harbour cruise around Rabaul harbour and the volcanoes. Mount Tavurvur recently had a small eruption, spewing ash all around Rabaul and damaging many trees. You can watch the eruption here, and here.


Boats near Rabaul harbour & coconut trees that have been damaged by the recent eruption of Mount Tavurvur

Rabaul has changed ‘hands’ several times, first colonized (by outsiders) in the late 1800s by the Germans until WWI when it was captured by the British. The Japanese captured it during WWII and it became the main base for the Japanese war effort. For more history, you can check out the Wikipedia page for Rabaul.


Japanese tunnels

Since Mount Tavurvur has been somewhat active, we weren’t allowed to climb up to the top, but we did stop and walk around the base.


Mount Tavurvur


Top Left: Bonnie & I with Mount Tavurvur in the background Top Right: Steaming water at the base of Mount Tavurvur Bottom Left: Lava rocks Bottom Right: Our tour guide

As we travelled away from the Mount Tavurvur we passed some Megapode birds, which kind of look like a cross between a turkey vulture and a chicken. They build giant nest-mounds near the volcano, capitalizing on the volcanic heat. If the volcano wasn’t so active we would have been able to see their nests and even sample some Megapode egg.


Left & Top Right: Views of Mount Tavurvur Middle Right: A rusty gun left over from the war Bottom Right: Megapode birds

When we got back to the hotel we decided to indulge in some of the local alcohol, Live Lave (pronounced Livé Lavé). Live Lave is produced by New Guinea Fruit Company, based out of Goroka. I had been warned against it this alcohol, but we just had to try it – besides, it was only about K9 (~$4.50 CAD) per bottle… The ginger flavour was almost good, but the aftertaste was how I imagine nail-polish remover to taste…


Here you see us about to try Banana & Ginger flavours. We also tried a berry flavour.

That’s all for today, expect ‘Part 2’ in the near future (featuring dolphins & picturesque tropical-island-ness).


2 thoughts on “Rabaul Part 1

  1. That was such a great trip! Thank you so much Amanda for encouraging me to come! I still keep the pictures from that trip as my cycling screen saver. Last week I got an email from Goway travel with info that they are starting a PNG tour. Info is at http://www.goway.com/trips/dest/australia-and-south-pacific/cntry/papua-new-guinea/typ/holidays-of-a-lifetime/. Probably more expensive than it needs to be, but hey – the world is coming. So, when have the rest of you planned your trip? 😉

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