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 with no air conditioning or PA systems. The Papua New Guinea people wear minimal clothing, which can include partial nudity. Flat comfortable shoes and waterproof clothing are advised. 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 buses in this region are very basic with no air conditioning or PA systems. The festival is exclusive to passengers booked on this tour. The Papua New Guinea people wear minimal clothing, which can include partial nudity. 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.

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.

Afterward, return to the town centre to enjoy a stroll through the local market. Let your guide introduce you to the many varieties of fresh fruit, vegetables, produce and crafts available.

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 with no air conditioning or PA systems. This tour involves around 1 hour of walking. Vendors will only accept local currency.

Culinary Delights of Papa New Guinea

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, sun cream and towel. The buses in this region are very basic with no air conditioning or PA systems.

Tawali Resort, Snorkel and Skull Cave – Small Grou

Activity medium

Duration: 8 hours

Experience the Tawali Resort with an opportunity to snorkel and to visit the fascinating ‘Skull Cave’.

Tawali Resort is located on a volcanic bluff overlooking Milne Bay, only accessible by boat. Its remoteness offers a tranquil experience and the resort is surrounded by stunning scenery.

After your bus ride, step aboard a boat to take you on the short crossing to the resort. Situated on the shore is the House Reef, where you’ll have the opportunity to explore the underwater world on the look-out for an array of marine life. You can also enjoy some free time to relax and savour a delicious local-style buffet lunch.

Next, you’ll take a short boat ride across to visit ‘Skull Cave’, an eerie but fascinating experience. Upon arrival walk down into the caves and view the skulls, believed to be those of the local villager’s ancestors. As you re-emerge you’ll have the opportunity to purchase handicraft items from the local villagers.

Your day will round off with the boat ride back to join your bus, for the return journey to Alotau.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by minibus, boat and on foot. Places on this tour are limited and early booking is advised. Children may not participate. The minibuses in this region are very basic with no air conditioning or PA systems. The journey to Tawali is around 1½ hours each way. The local roads are unsealed and may be bumpy. Passengers will be required to walk over uneven surfaces, including steps. Flat, walking shoes are advised. Participants in the snorkelling must be competent swimmers and in good physical health. Please wear swimwear under clothing and bring a towel, a bottle of water and sun protection. Local currency is accepted for purchases.

Tawali Resort, Snorkel and Skull Cave – Small Grou

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