Kavieng is located at the northern tip of New Ireland and is the commercial hub of the region. New Ireland is geographically unique in that extends 320 kilometres in length and just ten to fourteen kilometres in width. Situated within the New Ireland Province, the region includes New Hanover, the Saint Matthias group, Djaul Island and other island groups Tabar, Lihr, Tanga and Feni Islands. New Ireland boasts a population of around 160,000 people.
Three main cultural paradigms are still practiced by locals on New Ireland. While Tumbuan rituals are also practiced by coastal tribes in East New Britain, Malagan and Kabai are particular to New Ireland. The Malagan figure carvings, which are used in the final stages of ceremony to honour the dead, have become an iconic artefact due to the fact that early European travellers collected and returned with them to Europe. They can be viewed across a number of museums in Europe and Australia today. Malagan Beach Resort and Kavieng Hotel also have these types of carvings on display.
Things to see and do
Diving spots are plentiful in the region, with World War II wrecks dotted throughout Kavieng Harbour. Between the north of New Ireland and New Hanover, the region is flush with superb dive sites. Albatross Passage, one of New Ireland’s better known dive sites, features stunning marine life and coral in a terraced, colourful landscape that rolls out to the Bismarck Sea.
The region experiences swells between three to five feet during November and April with Kavieng known for several quality surf breaks. Travel south along the East Coast to discover more great spots to surf. New Hanover is also known for its waves and is well worth checking out.
Fishing enthusiasts won’t be disappointed by the abundance of sport, fly, game and bottom fishing available here. The intersecting currents and tides bring in many pelagic species that navigate the pristine waters. New Hanover boasts great fishing. Try Lissenung Island Resort, Pelagic Pursuits, Clem’s Place or Nusa Island Resort to book a fishing charter.
New Ireland is renowned for the Boluminski Bicycle Tour, a five day bike ride traversing 264 kilometres of the Boluminski Highway. Cyclists can stop-over in a number of villages along the way where they can absorb the local lifestyle and enjoy traditional cuisine, fishing with the locals and cultural entertainment.
Other attractions worth checking out
- Kavieng Golf Course
- Traditional shark hunting
- Friday Night Seafood Buffet at Kavieng Hotel
- Kavieng market
Annual Festivals & Shows
- Kontu/Tembin Shark Calling Festival (held most years but best to check locally)
Namantanai Mask Festival (held most years but best to check locally)