PNG boat trip recommendations

GODS QUAD's picture
GODS QUAD started the topic in Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 1:11pm

Hey Swellians,

In the process of trying to plan a boat trip with a group of mates to PNG around March 2020. I was expecting it to be pricey but, ah.... not this pricey! The PNG Explorer is $5K for 10 days and seems like the grand luxury of options.

So just throwing it out there to see if any of you have been on the Explorer or any other boat around the islands and can vouch for it.
In comparison, are the surf camps just as good or any better surf wise?

Thanks for the advice in advance!
- G O D.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 8:41pm

Might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the PNG Explorer is the only boat working the area.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 9:23pm

Have been on the Explorer. Pricey yes,
more expensive than when I went hence preventing another trip as yet.

I could barely state how good it is though. If you want uncrowded waves (I mean letting perfect sets go, can barely remember your best barrel you had so many) then this is the spot.

Land before time up there. Waves for all your crew from rippers to someone cruising on a mal. Fishing and food to die for. Lots of other fun extra curricula things going on too.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 9:29pm

Some golden moments solitude?

Laurie McGinness

GODS QUAD's picture
GODS QUAD's picture
GODS QUAD commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 9:52am

Thanks for the pointers, crew. Yeah, wasn't sure if the Explorer was the lone wolf around there or if there were other options. I couldn't find any others.

Sounds epic, Solitude. Been dying to get there for years, just trying to justify the costs. After airfares, equipment adjustments, boat fares and beer money, we've calculated roughly $7-7.5K. The price to pay for uncrowded waves hey!?

Has anyone stayed on any of the resorts or surf camps around PNG with good/bad experiences to share?

chook's picture
chook's picture
chook commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 10:14am

a bunch of kneelo stayed in a camp on Nusa island a couple of years back...they had a great time. very jealous i didn't get in on the trip.

https://www.nusaislandretreat.com/

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 10:43am

I stayed at Nusa Island. Great place, even better if you score a swell but I didn't. Fun little waves but not what you travel for. That said if you did score a swell there are heaps of reefs around that would be great and seriously uncrowded.

Laurie McGinness

chook's picture
chook's picture
chook commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 10:54am

damn...it all looked so good from the vids and pics at Nusa. i guess the kneelo crew were very lucky and scored good waves. must be really frustrating to travel that far and pay that much and have no swell. it's for these reasons that i have real trouble committing to an OS trip and just end up at bendalong or seal rocks.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 10:54am

Hey God,

If you want a different option, one that involves a bit more gumption but a bit less money, then scope Airbnb for Kavieng. There are a number of places, ranging from the cheap ($35 per night) to the relatively lavish ($63 per night), the latter being an easy walking distance from Picaninis. It's also a short paddle across to Nusa Island Lefts.

You'll have to clear some hurdles. The first being to register with SAPNG and pay taxes for surfing the region (keep in mind you'll be funneled towards the surf camps), then find good, cheap food to eat, and lastly some method of transport should you want to head down the east coast for more swell.

Without a boat the surf options are a bit more limited but it's an alternative to the camps.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 11:22am

blindboy.........Yeah mate. Golden hour fishing for Tuna and subsequent sashimi washed down with a golden beer. Plenty of those moments in the surf as well. I'd have to say just as many good things out of surf as there was in.

I've heard similar stories about Kavieng. Supposedly amazing set up but need a decent swell for it all to light up. Heading that bit further out on the boat makes your changes of scoring much better. Undies the skipper reckons most trips always score between 3-6' waves. One of the best parts about the place is it in the doldrums, meaning lots of glass offs.

7K??? I thought it was about 6 from the east coast. That is a lot. Plenty of other uncrowded places around Oz and the world for much cheaper.

GODS QUAD's picture
GODS QUAD's picture
GODS QUAD commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 1:07pm

Blindboy & Chook, this is what worries me about staying at a camp. I'd hate to go that far and get skunked on waves. Good to know those details, thanks Stu, sounds like a bit of a pain sorting that stuff out though to be honest.

We're not totally ruling out the charter, just asking around to see what else is out there as we almost had a heart attack seeing how pricey it was. The issue is half of the group have limited leave time, are cashed up and just want to rock up and surf without worrying about anything. The rest of us are a bit more akin to roughing it, are wary about dropping a huge sum for the charter and hence are looking to see what other options are around.

Recently did surf trips to Fiji and Indo islands, staying at resorts and scored incredible waves both times with no more than 5 or so guys in the water each session and that cost just over $1k, so hard to swallow the price tag for only "a chance" of epic waves in PNG.

Appreciate all the info dudes.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 1:26pm

Nusa is great for chilling out with absolutely no dramas and there is something to surf just about every day. The boat trip seems to deliver much better waves. Kavieng seemed relatively cool but you would want to keep your wits about you. Didn’t hear of any violence against tourists but plenty amongst the locals. There are spots along the coast but might be hard to find without a guide.

Laurie McGinness

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 3:02pm

Stayed to Nusa Island. Our group surfed 2 / 3 times a day for the entire time we were there. Must have been lucky because most days the waves were like twice as big or more than shown on that clip from the Perfect Wave. Picaninis and Long Longs didn't work while we were there nor did Nusa Lefts but what setups!. Exclusively surfed Ral Island Nago Lefts. As the expat AU guy that organised the boats each day would say "its fickle". Know guys that have stayed there many times and never seen Picaninis or Long Longs work, one trip they didn't surf much at all, only a hand full of times. People have lots of theories, go early out of season or go late to score but its very different season to season.

My trip cost around $5000 based on flights to/from Brisbane plus 2 nights accommodation/food/airport transfers plus the trip costs. All tour costs are ex Brisbane.

Food excellent and local staff so friendly but Australian people that run the place hit the bar each night until very late meaning there was lots of noise in camp and then the bar staff needed to be ferried back to Kavieng after midnight (boat starting up under your room more or less) and sleep is difficult anyway with no aircon and extremely hot/humid nights.

We heard a local was bashed to death a day or so after we left and then the local police needed to stay on the island to clam things down except they got pissed in the bar each night and started fighting amongst themselves.

Staying in an a Airbnb in Kavieng? Good luck with that, most reliable surf is via the resort and Kavieng is a frontier town.

The boat is meant to be all time, it was in port when we were there, looks a fantastic setup and I reckon it delivers what Nusa Resort promises. If I were travelling that way again it would be on the boat.

GODS QUAD's picture
GODS QUAD's picture
GODS QUAD commented Wednesday, 9 Jan 2019 at 11:06am

Appreciate all the info, crew.

After digesting all of this amongst us, I think we're going to bite the bullet and do the charter. We came to the conclusion that it'll be better waves, less fuss and prob the one and only time we have the chance to do a boat trip together in empty waves before some of us settle down.

Plus I don't think any of us would be able to handle the pics or stories coming through from the others if we passed it up. Time to start saving!