Alotau is the provincial capital of the Milne Bay Province located in the southeast bay of Papua New Guinea. The town and surrounding area has been an important staging ground during World War II and we will see remains and memorials dating back or referring to the war. On a tour of the town, visitors will appreciate lovely vistas of the bay and experience the markets, which are frequented not only by locals, but also by islanders selling their products or looking for produce to take back into Milne Bay. View more
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Catch a glimpse of the highlights of Alotau and the Milne Bay area on this half-day orientation tour. Locals introduce you to the town providing an insight into the area's cultural, historical, and natural attributes.
The European History of Alotau began with the early 16th century explorers, followed by Christian Missionaries in the late 19th century. More recently, Milne Bay was historically significant as the site of two key battles between the Allies and the Japan during World War II. The wreckage of these battles is still rusting in peace today.
The word 'Alotau', means "Bay of Views" in the local Suau language, and has been the Capital of Milne Bay Province since 1968. Relatively isolated by its mountainous surrounds, Alotau is a relaxed town and considered to be one of the safest in Papua New Guinea. Lying on the coast and surrounded by spectacular reefs, islands and beaches. The landscape is blessed with mountains, rainforests, a waterfall, and a cave system.
Depart from the port area on a local bus for approximately 20 minutes towards Ahioma. The drive takes you around Milne Bay to the beaches of Ahioma where remains of a former war barge still stands. Stop briefly before continuing on to Top Town Lookout to photograph the panoramic view of Milne Bay, passing the Anglican Church and Alotau General Hospital en route. A comfort stop is made at the Alotau International Hotel before re-boarding the coach.
Head towards the Turnball War Memorial and No. 3 airstrip, dating from World War II. During the drive, you may pass the Alotau Market, in the town centre. Stop for about 10 minutes to take some photos of this memorial to Australia's Squadron Leader Peter St George Turnbull, killed during the Battle of Milne Bay. Picture in your mind the scenes from 50 years ago.
The coach then takes you to Boitunum or Rabe Village. Here you have a chance to experience Milne Bay culture first hand, sample local fruit, and learn about traditional customs. Spend about 30-40 minutes here before making your way to the souvenir/artefact shopping area. Locally produced carvings, clay pots and woven baskets are displayed.
The bus then returns you to Alotau, the pier and your awaiting ship.
Please note: This tour is primarily a panoramic drive with frequent stops requiring guests to get on/off the bus. Guests must be able to get on and off the bus without assistance. This tour is not recommended for guests who utilise a wheelchair. Transportation and guides are the best in the area but may fall short of your expectations. Vehicles utilised are local buses and are not equipped with air-conditioning. We thank you for your understanding. Operational requirements will dictate the order of stops and the itinerary above is subject to change, due to local and weather conditions. Dress for hot and humid weather and bring a bottle of water, rain poncho for any tropical showers, and your camera. Bring local currency for any purchases.
Take in the highlights of Alotau and Milne Bay on this half-day introduction to this historic part of Papua New Guinea.
Depart the pier in local buses of varying sizes, to explore the Milne Bay area. Please plan to dress for the hot and humid weather as the transport is not equipped with air conditioning. Milne Bay played a significant role in World War II history, with American and Australian forces were based here from May 1942. When the war in the Pacific escalated and the Japanese navy started moving south, two battles ensued in Milne Bay, which altered the course of the war.
In May 1942, during the Battle of the Coral Sea, allied forces turned back the Japanese after an intensive battle in the skies. Three months later, a second attempt saw the Japanese troops land at Ahioma. After twelve days, the Australian army defeated the invading troops.
Highlights that may be seen (weather permitting) during your island drive include:
Turnbull War Memorial
Visit the site of original No.3 airstrip during WWII and its memorial to Australia's Squadron Leader Peter St George Turnbull, killed during the Battle of Milne Bay.
Access this privately owned land where six American landing barges were "dumped", 1km from the shore.
The site where the Japanese first landed and the first exchange of gun fire in the Battle of Milne Bay took place.
Corporal John French Memorial at Goilani River
The monument to Corporal John French, honoured with the Victorian Cross for his valour and bravery
Alotau War Memorial
Stop for a photo of this commemorative plaque in the town centre
Area where some of the most confused and fierce fighting in the battle of Milne Bay took place
The remains of the wharf believed to be used by American troops during WWII for fuel loading.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking, some of which is on unpaved paths that could be slippery in rain. Guests must be able to get on and off the bus without assistance. This tour is not recommended for guests who utilise a wheelchair. Transportation and guides are the best in the area but may fall short of your expectations. Tour operates in local buses that are not equipped with air-conditioning. We thank you for your understanding. Operational requirements will dictate the order of stops and the itinerary above is subject to change, due to local and weather conditions. Dress for hot and humid weather and bring a bottle of water, insect repellent, a rain poncho for any tropical showers, and your camera.