Loloata Island Resort is Papua New Guinea’s best kept secret. A diving resort (SEE LOLOATA- DIVE PAGE) only a short distance from Port Moresby and nestled in Bootless Bay, Loloata offers an incredible array of diving opportunities or just a welcome break from the daily grind.Papua New Guinea already has the reputation as one of the best diving locations in the world, so it is no surprise to find Loloata is a ‘must visit’ on the dive community’s list.
But you don’t have to be an avid diver to admire the beauty of the island resort or enjoy the step away from the everyday to a bit of tranquility. Many use the resort as a chance to sit back and relax, while others take full advantage of the diving with more than 30 moored dive sites available.
Despite its less than positive reputation, Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s wonders .The landscapes in and around the Port Moresby precinct are majestic; sweeping hills joining into a large harbour and the people are possibly the friendliest you will ever meet. Arriving at the Loloata jetty, which is about 20 minutes drive out of Port Moresby, you turn down a dirt track which brings you to a small timber jetty, untouched by time and technology. The ferry boat to Loloata, the Tahira Cat which takes about 10 minutes putting through Bootless Bay, is a rustic looking vessel, with peeling paint and the impression it had once been used for recreational fishing in years gone by.
The rustic atmosphere is something which resonates throughout the whole Loloata experience, giving the definite impression you are in an isolated paradise, even though it is literally only kilometers from the capital’s centre. Loloata, which literally means ‘one hill’, was opened in 1977 by owner operator Dik Knight and his business partners Julie Tanugeta and Olinda Petilani. Originally it was specified as a dedicated dive resort to appeal to enthusiasts of the fantastic underwater opportunities of the region, in fact, Dik himself discovered one of the popular dive wrecks, a World War II aircraft during a dive in 1980. Arriving at Loloata Island Resort, you are moored at the end of a long jetty which leads down to a palm tree flanked entrance way, it is the epitome of a tropical paradise and the greetings from the staff at the island are an assurance you will feel completely at home.
In fact, the level of service is strongly consistent and the fact the staff make an effort to remember your name and use it whenever they are speaking to you is a testament of the resort’s level of customer service.The island’s wooden accommodation units, both air-conditioned and non air-conditioned, all have sea views, whether they are direct in the case of the beach front units or indirect from the hillside rooms which also overlook the mangroves. All of the rooms have polished timber floors and traditional amenities, but don’t expect all the mod-cons of televisions, telephones and internet facilities in your room, because this isn’t the point of Loloata at all.
The aim is to get away from everything, and although all of the rooms are modern and fitted with new bathrooms, comfortable beds and intricately carved lamps, there is no television to spoil the noise of the ocean outside your room. Guests are woken in the morning to the sound of the ocean gently lapping the shore and with no rigorous schedule to keep to; the island is the perfect place to kick back, whether sitting in the restaurant area with a cool beverage or watching the ocean from your balcony. The waterfront rooms are only metres from the main restaurant and bar area of Loloata, whereas the hillside units are a few minutes walk away along a mangrove and ocean edged path.
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Grey Dorcopsis Wallabies hop across the paths and you can expect to come across the world’s largest pigeons, the Queen Victoria Crown Pigeon, also known as Goura, which is a majestic looking bird with a delicate feather crest. The island also has its own Doria Tree Kangaroo and a variety of other bird life, plus the occasional sea snake which deems it appropriate to cross the path while heading into bush land, however, rest assured, although poisonous if met in the wrong circumstances, the snakes are fully aware of their size in comparison to humans and therefore far more weary of us than we are of them.
Aside from the island’s relaxing attributes and a variety of island walks and snorkling opportunities, the dive sites at Loloata are practically unsurpassed. There are a variety of wreck and other adrenalin spiced dives for the more experienced. The ‘Big Drop’ dive is a sheer wall dropping into dark water where divers are likely to see sharks and stingrays, likewise, the ‘Tunnel’, a 12-metre swim through is another popular choice for experienced divers. The wreck dives allow divers to explore prawn trawlers, tug boats and a barge to name a few, all sunk for recreational use.
There are also a range of reef dives available which allow you to see a large variety of brightly coloured native fish and mesmerising coral clusters.Every Friday night at Loloata Island Resort is a cultural night where guest are given a chance to experience true Papua New Guinean culture by the way of song and dance. Girls wearing grass skits which fly around their waists when they move and adorned with tribal tattoos dance with grace, while the boys and men wear appropriately flashy feathered headdresses and beat tribal drums in time to the songs. Talking to fellow guests, many had either been to Loloata before or were already planning their next trip. Loloata is not the kind of place you can experience just once and always store in the memory bank, there is something about it, and Papua New Guinea in general, which will keep tugging at you until you return. Accommodation at the resort is an all inclusive package, including the rooms, all meals and transfers.
And the meals are what you would expect from a restaurant, a fantastic breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet of Papua New Guinea’s freshest fruit and vegetable produce and locally caught fish. Airlines PNG and Loloata Island Resort’s newly formed package makes traveling to the spectacular dive resort for action or relaxation an easy prospect. There direct flights leaving every weekday from Cairns and airport transfers direct to Loloata from Port Moresby International Airport. You can expect to pay roughly $1500 (ex Cairns) for two adults to experience the magic of Loloata Island Resort for two nights, including return flights from Cairns flying Airlines PNG and inclusive of all meals (prices depend on flights’ schedule and availability).
Diving is additional although there are multiple diving packages available from the resort.
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Includes all meals
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