East New Britain and in particular the Gazelle Peninsula is rich in history, culture, recreational opportunities and environmental diversity
History

Kokopo and Rabaul towns both have a remarkable history originating from the occupation of three colonial powers; Germany, Australia and Japan. The administrative headquarters of these various colonial powers interchanged regularly between Rabaul and Kokopo. Reminders and remnants of these ruling powers are still obvious throughout the districts with Bitapaka War Cemetary, the Kokopo War Museum, Admiral Yamamoto's Bunker and the Japanese barge tunnels offering keen insights into days gone by.

We are in fact located on the site of the original Kokopo Hotel when it was under German administration. This hotel was called "Hotel Deutjcher Hof".

Culture

The culture of New Britain is diverse and unique. The area is populated by five ethnic groups being the Tolai, Baining, Pomio, Taulil and Sulka people. The customs and traditions of these groups are still prevalent in today's society such as the ‘paying of bride price ceremonies’ and ‘breaking of TABU (shell money)’. Big men who have won their prestige through wealth or military prowess and the male secret society play an important role in village life. Ceremonies feature leaf-draped, anonymous figures topped by masks referred to as the Tumbuan and DukDuk.

Recreational

East New Britain abounds with outdoor recreational opportunities. From fantastic fishing, snorkelling and diving to trekking, mountain climbing and caving there is literally a limitless range of activities to keep you occupied. A helicopter ride over the area will give you an appreciation of the breathtaking nature of this land.

Environmental

Where else in the world could you get up close and personal with an active volcano? Rabaul is literally built on the crest of a dormant volcano with one of the deepest harbors in the world. In 1994, the active Mt. Tavurvur erupted and still sends out shots of steam today. For bird watchers and nature lovers we have an abundance of bird life with one of our most well-known; the megapode birds, which lay their eggs in volcanic ash. Locals mine for these eggs by digging down through metres of ash to find them - a true test of resilience and commitment.

We offer a variety of tours which can be tailored to suit your interests. Kokopo Beach Bungalow Resort has been in the business of tours for many years, trading as Taklam Tours and has a sound reputation for delivering a quality product. We place high priority on safety and will assess all conditions before undertaking an activity. Our tours include a tour guide and driver.

If you just want to relax, we have a lagoon pool which is also ideal for children since our pool is fenced thus providing safety for them. Set amidst landscaped gardens, you can cool off anytime with a refreshing dip. We also have direct and easy access to our private beach. Although our sand is volcanic, the beach is safe and private for swimming.

If not, relax on our new treetops deck which provides panoramic views of the islands and the volcano. Situated amongst the treetops you can enjoy the outdoors like never before!

Gazelle Peninsula Tour

Discover the history of East New Britain with our full day Gazelle Peninsula Tour. You will visit the Bitapaka War Cemetery which is the resting place of many allied servicemen. Then visit the Kokopo Museum which hosts an extensive range of war relics and reminders of the Japanese and German occupation of East New Britain. Continue on to visit the Japanese Barge tunnels which concealed the Japanese forces from allied detection. In Rabaul visit Admiral Yamamato's bunker, a key figure of the Japanese military, and the historical New Guinea Club. Then go up close to the volcano and hot springs to see the might of this magnificent natural phenomenon. You will finish the tour with a visit to the Volcano Observatory and the Submarine base where you can snorkel in the crisp cold waters of the Pacific Ocean. Suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

Ramale Caving

Take a half day tour to the Ramale Valley which was used as the hiding place for missionaries during WWII. These caves were dug by the German missionaries and used as hide-outs from the bombing raids. See the missionaries' attempts to disguise their living quarters by constructing a pipeline made from old drums which was meant to divert smoke from their cooking and throw the enemy off their scent. The Valley is quite steep and requires a moderate level of fitness to traverse it.

Volcano Climbing

Rabaul is surrounded by 6 volcanoes. Mt. Kombui or the "mother" as she is known, provides the greatest challenge to climb. Mt. Kombui is about 700m above sea level and is the highest mountain in East New Britain. The hike starts early through coconut plantations and is a steady slope of track with some steeper areas. From the summit, the panoramic view takes in the Duke of York Islands, the ghost town of Rabaul and the mouth of the active volcano, Mt Tavurvur. We recommend a high level of fitness.

Kokopo Town

If you are not feeling so adventurous you can take a half day tour of Kokopo town. This includes a visit to Bitapaka War Cemetery, the Kokopo war Museum, the old Tobera Airport, the town market and sampling of cacao and coconut, both key products of the region. Suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

The other available land tours are a village tour and bird watching which are organized on request.

There is nothing more magical than heading to the islands in a boat. Surrounded by sparkling waters and a cloudless sky, you will be mesmerized by the colour and clarity of our unspoiled waters.
Harbour Cruise
Our harbour cruise takes you up close to both volcanoes - Vulcan and Tavurvur. You cruise into Simpson's Harbour which is one of the deepest ports in the world. Passing by the “Blue Lagoon”, you will circle the "Beehives" (two remarkable rocks in the middle of the harbour) and cruise around to Matupit Island which bore the brunt of the last eruption. From here you continue to the base of Mt. Tavurvur to see the men of Matupit 'mine' for the megapode bird eggs. It is an experience to see these men dig for these eggs through metres of ash. From here to you head to Pidgeon Island which is a nature reserve and hosts some spectacular marine life. The snorkelling here is world class and you will enjoy having the island to yourself.
Duke of York Islands

The Duke of York Islands is a group of islands to the east of the Bay, some of which are inhabited. We offer two tours to these islands, being a Day Tour and a Village Stay. The waters surrounding the Duke of York islands are the deepest aqua blue, crowned with white sandy beaches, no amount of words can prepare you for its beauty. On our day trip you get to see some historical sites, visit some villages, snorkel and swim in the tranquil waters.

For the Village Stay, you are transported by boat to the island of Mioko, where you sleep in a village house, participate in village activities and enjoy some village cooking. The facilities are rustic so be prepared to 'rough' it. Around the Duke of York Islands you will see pods of wild dolphins which are extremely friendly and majestic creatures.

Fishing

Papua New Guinea is world renowned for its fishing and diving adventures and Kokopo provides the perfect place to experience this. Fishing the waters off East New Britain offers novice and experienced anglers a challenge they will always remember.

Our fishing is primarily for blue water species, including famous predators such as Mackerel, Tuna (Dog Tooth and Yellow Fin), GTs, Sailfish, and of course the Blue Marlin. The Coral Sea off East New Britain is sprawling with an abundance of marine life and you can get a great catch on one of our boats.

Diving and Snorkelling

PNG is world renowned for its untouched reefs and marine life and thus East New Britain offers an abundance of diving and snorkelling opportunities. Simpson Harbour boasts World War II boat and plane wrecks, good walls and the Beehives (a small group of craggy islands) to explore.

At the Submarine Base, WWII Japanese subs are parked right up along the edge of the reef and there is a magnificent snorkelling location on the flat coral beds and along the edge of the 75m drop-off (also great for diving). Pidgeon Island and Mioko (Duke of York) Island are a short boat trip from Kokopo Beach Bungalow Resort and have spectacular marine life and reefs.

(675) 7122 7688 / (675) 722 09281