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About Alotau

As the provincial capital of the beautiful Milne Bay region, Alotau is one of Papua New Guinea's most picturesque and interesting towns. Maintaining strong links with Papua New Guinea's cultural past, the town hosts an annual canoe festival with race participants donning traditional dress and ceremonial war paint.

 

Shore excursions in Alotau

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Ahoima Cultural Experience

Activity medium

Duration: 2 hours

Experience the real Milne Bay!

On this memorable tour you will be far away from towns, cities and the fast pace of modern life and will enter a world of traditions, culture and customs not found anywhere else.

At your first stop, Dodobana, you will be welcomed in the traditional welcome ceremony and begin to understand the meaning and importance of the betel nut in the Papua New Guinean culture. Experience true Melanesian hospitality and discover how to find substitutes for steel wool and love potions in the jungle vegetation. In this lifestyle, doing chores together becomes fun, and you will have the chance of participating in some of the daily activities of each member of the family. You will be astonished by the creativity of the young dancers as, clad in their traditional tribal costumes, they perform a series of energetic and entertaining tribal dances.

Continue onto Gehigehi where you can learn the traditional and modern ways of catching fish, go for a swim, enjoy a paddle in the fishing canoes and sample fresh produce from the village gardens. Finally you will be serenaded with local singing, as well as engage with young children in their games and activities.

On your return you can admire the beautiful coastline and remember the experiences and people you’ve encountered, as you return back to the modern world.

Essential information

This excursion will operate minibus and on foot. The buses in this region are very basic and are non air conditioned. Flat comfortable shoes and waterproof clothing are recommended on this tour. Passengers wishing to swim should wear swimwear under clothes and take a towel and sunscreen. You must wear water shoes or trainers that you don't mind getting wet.

Alotau Cultural Festival

Activity mediumShopping

Duration: 2 hours

Celebration of the culture and traditions of Papua New Guinea.

The canoe (kenu) and (kundu) drum play a huge part in the lives of the Milne Bay Province locals. Throughout history, both were widely-used in ceremonies and rituals and meticulously crafted from special timber, all under strict customs to derive the best results and appease the gods. On your visit to Alotau you’ll have an opportunity to see a mini kenu and kundu festival arranged just for you, so you can truly take in the colour and sound of this unique event.

At the festival site you will find a variety of activities and performances, including demonstrations by the elaborately decorated Lopo war canoes, bearing up to 25 warriors, traditionally dressed and displaying their paddling prowess and the skills involved in manoeuvring a canoe.

The festival is also rich in entertainment. Traditional dancing groups come from far and wide in a mix of colourful traditional costumes. When the performances have concluded, the dancers and drummers are happy to pose for memorable photos of your visit. Local choirs perform traditional songs and there are cooking demonstrations, showing you traditional methods of cooking, without using microwaves, ovens and gas cookers.

You can also browse through the displays of arts and crafts if you wish to purchase locally-made gifts and artwork for souvenirs of the Milne Bay province and Papua New Guinea. This opportunity is truly a melting pot of Papua New Guinean culture in action.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by minibus and on foot. Your ticket includes entry and 1 return transfer to the Education Milne Bay Centre, buses operate regularly back and forth between the Festival site and the port. The festival is exclusive to passengers booked on this tour.Vendors will accept local currency and Australian dollars.

Alotau Highlights

Activity medium

Duration: 2 hours

Discover the fascinating history of the Milne Bay Province, known throughout the 19th and early 20th century as the ‘Pearl of the Pacific’.

Beginning at the Top Town Lookout, discover the connection between Alotau and the original provincial capital, Samarai. During your tour, you will find out how the Battle of Milne Bay changed the world as they knew it and why the whole town was moved to Alotau. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet some of the people who made it what it is today.

Enjoy a stop with wonderful photo opportunities at Alice Wedega Park, named after the first Papua New Guinean woman to be knighted by the Queen. Discover the story of those magnificent trees that border the Park and the central role this location plays in the Milne Bay community. Here, you can take some time to just sit and enjoy the wonderful view of the bay from beneath the shade of the magnificent rain trees.

Accompanied by your guide, you’ll hear the stories behind the places you’ll visit, including Cameron High School, the first High School in Milne Bay. At the school you’ll be welcomed with a smile and a song, and touring the school you’ll be shown examples of traditional activities, arts and crafts, including face painting that are the heritage of the traditional subsistence culture of this coastal area.

Your return trip gives an interesting perspective to the blend of traditional and modern lifestyles, which make Alotau and Milne Bay Province such an intriguing place to visit.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by minibus and on foot. The buses in this region are very basic and are non-air conditioned. This tour involves around 1 hour of walking. Vendors will only accept local currency.

The Battle of Milne Bay

Activity medium

Duration: 2 hours

Discover the importance behind the Battle of Milne Bay, and its effect on WWII.

The Battle of Milne Bay was vital to the course of the Pacific War and was fought between the Australian Army and Japanese invading forces from August 25 to September 7, 1942.

Explore the eastern coastline by local bus to Ahioma, east of Alotau town, to see Wahuhuba, the site of the first Japanese landing, occupied by local villagers for many centuries. Upon your return to the town centre of Alotau, drive past the Corporal John French Memorial, just outside of the town and learn about the impact of the Battle of Milne Bay on the local population of the area.

Next, you’ll pass KB Mission, the site of the fiercest fighting, before making your way to Kainko. This is the site of the original No.3 airstrip during WWII, and its memorial to Australia’s Squadron Leader, Peter St George Turnbull, who was killed during the Battle of Milne Bay.

On your return to town you’ll visit the shore-side monument built in 2002 by The Australian War Graves Commission in memory of those who fought in the Battle.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by minibus and on foot. The buses in this region are very basic and are non-air conditioned. This tour involves around 30-40 minutes walking.

Traditional Cooking Class

Activity mediumMeal includedRefreshments included

Duration: 3½ hours

Expand your culinary knowledge on this tasty tour!

Every culture can be defined by their cuisine, and a great way to remember where you have travelled is to be able to re-create those memories, at home in your own kitchen. Papua New Guinea food is distinctive in its use of fresh fruits and vegetables and in particular sweet potatoes, taro and coconut.

Yo0u’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the cuisine of Papua New Guinea when you arrive at the Masurina Lodge. As a group, you’ll be able to assist in the preparation of a traditional clay pot dish, which will consist of local fresh produce. Whilst that is cooking away you will have time to relax and enjoy the Lodge, which was the first hotel to be built in Alotau. You can visit the small, but unique WWII private memorabilia collection, purchase a drink at the bar, or just have a refreshing dip in the pool.

When your clay pot lunch is ready, you’ll be able to sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labour. With a full tummy you’ll make your way back to the ship, with inspiration and the recipe in hand.

Essential information

This tour will operate by minibus and on foot. You will be assisting in the preparation of some aspects of the meal, not cooking the whole meal yourself. Should you wish to bathe please bring swimwear, suncream and towel.

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