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Dive Review of Walindi Plantation Resort in
Papua New Guinea/West New Britain Island

Walindi Plantation Resort: "PNG Honeymoon", Aug, 2014,

by Eric Eckes, CA, US (Contributor Contributor 18 reports with 11 Helpful votes). Report 8049 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 2 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Walindi Plantation Resort was founded by Max and Cecilie Benjamin. Max first traveled to PNG with the Australian Department of Agriculture 48 years ago and has never left. Max met Cecilie in PNG and I believe they opened Walindi in the 80's.

Margi and I were married in August 2014 and we opted to honeymoon in PNG. After spending three nights in the highlands we flew down to Walindi Resort, located in Kimbe Bay, on West New Britain Island. Our flights took us from Los Angeles, CA, USA to Brisbane, Australia, to Port Moresby and then New Britain Island.

The resort is very nice. They have two types of rooms: Bungalows and Plantation House rooms. We opted for a larger Bungalow room. The rooms are spacious with large camera tables. Power is supplied by generator from 6a to 11p each day. They have installed an ingenious 12-volt power system for when the generators are not running so that the room fans can run all night. (Warning: the rooms lack air conditioning!) Mosquitos are prevalent in that part of the world and the resort provided mosquito bedding which was most effective.

The grounds of Walindi are well manicured and a nice path led from our bungalow to the common areas where meals are served and divers convened each day to discuss their experiences. The food quality was mixed. Breakfast was served in the library which is the one air conditioned room available to guests. Eggs cooked to order, breakfast meats, fresh fruit, juices, coffee and cereal were very good (rated: 5/5). The quality of lunch was a mixture of good and simply OK. If you ate at the resort the food was good with hot and cold sandwiches available (rated: 4/5). The food served on the day boats wasn't as good and very repetitive which was a disappointment (rated: 2/5). Dinners were our favorite and rated a solid 5/5. Dinner was served buffet style and each night always included a beef, chicken and seafood main course so there was always something for everyone. The beef for that part of the world was actually very good which I attribute to the fact that they have a cattle ranch on the island. Dessert each night ALWAYS included vanilla ice cream which would be served with either cakes or fruit. I understand Max has a sweet tooth for ice cream and finding it in this part of the world was a definite treat. Dinner was served in a beautiful outdoors restaurant.

Other common facilities enjoyed were their wonderful bar where everyone would gather after diving/before dinner for a beer, glass of wine, or mixed cocktail. Walindi has a small pool (it looked more like a large Jacuzzi!) which seemed awkwardly placed between the bar and restaurant. They have a nice gift shop containing many PNG artifacts including several carved wood masks from the Sepik region of PNG. We purchased two masks and Cecilie did a wonderful job of having them fumigated and sent to the U.S. for us. We had heard a lot about buying artifacts from a place called PNG Arts in Port Moresby. If you want quality, get them at Walindi! They are high quality and much nicer than those found at PNG Arts.

The resort offers a number of tours including WWII plane wrecks, mud baths, a volcano hike (its actively smoking!), and a night trip to visit the fireflies.

Diving in Walindi is almost exclusively from boat. Walindi has three boats which take you out on full-day trips. (Warning: there are no heads onboard). The dive operation is run by a character named Gary Kulisek. Gary, who hails from Montreal, Canada, has extensive diving and boating experience and runs a very safe operation. I was very impressed by his staff's daily dive briefings and they were very attentive to divers in the water. Each night at dinner Gary would give us our dive options for the next day rather than dictating each day's dives.

Boat trips consisted of three dives daily. We would meet at the dock around 8a and would usually return around 4p. Lunch was either served on Restorf Island (which we renamed Lunch Island) or on boat. The first dive was typically to a deep sea mount followed by shallower dives as we worked our way back to the resort. The trip out to the first dive site was typically 1 to 1.5 hours.

We had heard that Kimbe Bay was known for hard corals and it did not disappoint producing some of the largest corals we had ever seen (and we've been around the world!) As for sealife, the sea mounts (bottom between 80-100 feet) offered the greatest chance to see large schools of barracuda and reef sharks (plenty of white-tip, black-tip, and gray). As for small stuff, go to Susan's Reef to see pygmy seahorses!

We were however, disappointed at the lack of variety of fish given its location in the Coral Triangle. In 32 dives we saw only one octopus. No frogfish or ghostpipefish. The island is heavily invested in palm oil and I'm wondering if this has had an impact on the local sealife. Night dives are a favorite of ours and we were deeply disappointed in the quality of the sealife in the two night dives that we did. There was very little activity at night. The trips back to Walindi after our last dive each day often included large escorts of dolphins.

I'd sum the diving up like this: if you love hard corals then Kimbe Bay will knock your socks off. The corals looked healthy and the largest we had ever seen. If you love schooling barracuda and reef sharks you will love Kimbe Bay. Warning: there can be a fair amount of current at the Sea Mounts which is why I don't recommend it as strongly for beginners as I do for experienced divers. If you want to see a fully intact Japanese Zero plane from WWI them come here. Rumor has it the pilot ran out of fuel and ditched his plane in the ocean (its easily reachable at 50 feet). If you want to dive with a very safe operation, come to Walindi. Gary Kulisek runs a first class operation and is even willing to share a story or two with you at dinner! :)

Aside from a lack of air conditioning in the rooms we found the resort top-notch. The food was wonderful and varied, the staff very attentive, the grounds were immaculately maintained, and we had a nice camera station in our rooms.

If PNG is on your bucket list then I encourage you to visit Max, Cecilie and Gary at Walindi.

Websites Walindi Plantation Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Red Sea, Raja Ampat, Komodo, Sipadan, Truk Lagoon, Yap, Palau, Fiji, Galapagos, La Paz, Cozumel, Philippines, Belize, Key West, California
Closest Airport Hoskins Getting There LAX to Brisbane to Port Moresby to Kimbe

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 84-84°F / 29-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 80-100 Ft/ 24-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None. Divemasters accompanied both deep and shallow water divers.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Walindi doesn't have a dedicated camera room, however, the bungalow we stayed in had a large room with an area dedicated to cameras. This area had a large working table with a shelf underneath to hold your dive bags, cameras, etc. There were plenty of power outlets. The resort runs on generator which shuts down between 11p and 6a. Despite this, each room had one plug dedicated to 24 hour power. There were two camera rinse tanks by the boat dock and the water was changed daily. There was no camera pro onsite.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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