Welcome to the Milne Bay Province official tourism website! 

Esa'ala District consists of two large islands called Fergusson Island and Normanby Island, with smaller surrounding islands like Dobu and Sanaroa islands. These islands were geologically exhumed due to regional tectonic activity and are known for their bubbling hot springs, dormant volcanic structures, treks, and some of the most unique cultures and vibrant people in Milne Bay Province.  The District is home to the endemic Goldie's Bird of Paradise, one of many flora and fauna that are found only in the province.

The headquarters of Esa'ala District, home to about 60,000 people, is Esa'ala Station on Normanby Island, accessible by sea via the Dawson Strait between Fergusson and Normanby islands. 

Popular Destinations

District: Esa'ala

Popular Destinations - DeideiSource: Catherine Styles

Deidei Hot Springs

Popular Destinations

On the western part of Fergusson Island lies the bubbling and boiling geysers and mineralized mud pots of the iconic Deidei Hot Springs, across the sea from Esa'ala. Nearby to the geysers is an eco guest house from which locals will guide you to see these features also known as "underground volcanoes". 

Some of the oldest metamorphic rocks in PNG are found on Fergusson and Normanby islands, as well as on Goodenough Island in the Kiriwina-Goodenough District. 

Budoya Catholic Church

Popular Destinations

A historical church and Catholic mission known for being a home for six months to the Trapp family of singers in the 1950s, including Maria von Trapp who the Sound of Music was based on. 

The mission is located in a lovely anchorage at Salamo on Fergusson Island, opposite Esa'ala Station on Dawson Strait. 

One of the long-serving missionaries, the beloved Fr. Jim Moore (MSC), was born on 22 July 1930 and came to Budoya in April 1956, where he spent most of his priestly ministry. He died in 2012. 

Sewa Bay

Popular Destinations

The beautiful and serene Sewa Bay, nestled on the western side of Normanby Island, is a magnificent bay and home to a truly pristine natural environment and eco-system, genuine unique cultures, and flora and fauna. It is a great place to relax and take in the local culture and attractions. 

Sewa Bay spans 7 km by 4 km, and in itself is a supreme snorkeling and swimming spot. Salibolia on the eastern shores of the bay is the site of the Goldie's Esa'ala Creative Festival, with a jetty as well. 

Top Activities

District: Esa'ala

Bird Watching - Goldie’s Bird of Paradise

Top Activities

The Goldie’s Bird of Paradise is restricted to the D’Entrecasteaux Islands east of Papua New Guinea. A guided hike through the forested mountains on the islands of Fergusson and Normanby to see these endemic majestic species will surely be of your liking.

Top Activities - Women Weavers of Milne BaySource: WWOMB

Basket Weaving (Kodo)

Top Activities

The local women of the Esa’ala District are well known for their mastery in basket weaving. We recommend you take a tour to see a basket weaving demo by the lasses of the district. Basket weaving is an ancestral practice that was passed down through generations and is still around today. The kodo is a large feasting basket widely used in this area for carrying almost anything. There are traditional methods used to weave pandanus leaves, coconut, and palm fronds into various styles - not an easy skill that many people possess today.

Sanaroa Island Snorkeling & Coral Gardens

Top Activities

Sanaroa Island is larger than Dobu Island and is located off the southeastern coast of Fergusson Island in the Milne Bay Province. It is part of the D’Entrecasteaux Islands, with a population of over 2,000 people. The local people there live a simple subsistence farming and fishing lifestyle. 

Go fishing with the locals, snorkel the stunning reefs, or dine with a family to taste traditional cuisine. It is an absolutely pure way of life out here so be ready to embrace nature and culture!

Iconic Attractions

District: Esa'ala

Dobu Methodist/United Church

Iconic Attractions

The Dobu Methodist Church was established in 1891 by Reverend William Edward Bromilow (1857-1929) and his missionaries, and is still faithfully maintained by local preachers. It is one of the oldest Christian churches in PNG and is valued in the communities as being influential in the elimination of tribal warfare, magic, witchcraft, and sorcery of times past. In the old world, most men and women used inherited magic competitively in gardening, war, romance, and in kune or kula. The advent of Christianity minimized these practices, and the Dobu Methodist/United Church is an icon of the early evangelization of Papua. 

Ask about the history of the church and you may also hear about these mystical tales!

Goldie's Bird of Paradise

Iconic Attractions

The Goldie's Bird of Paradise is a species of bird-of-paradise endemic to this area. You can embark on an adventurous tour to the hill forests of Fergusson and Normanby islands to witness these marvellous endemic birds that inhabit and rule our tropical jungles. 

Watch a video of this magnificent bird here

Iconic Attractions - Bwaruada Pastors Training CollegeSource: Modakula Kunuyobu - MBTB

Bwaruada Pastors Training College

Iconic Attractions

Located in Bwaruada on eastern Normanby Island, this pastoral training college was established by the United Church in the 1930s and was largely run by South Sea Islander missionaries. 

Popular Events

District: Esa'ala

Goldie's Esa'ala Creative Festival

October 2020

Featuring the endemic Goldie's Bird of Paradise and indigenous cultures of the Esa'ala District.

Waluma Culture Festival

TBA

A cultural event on Fergusson Island staged by a chief for the locals to celebrate harvest of food from their gardens.

Kasabwaibwaileta Culture & Theatre

TBA

Famous for performing traditional and contemporary dramas, singsings, and plays around the country.

Goldie's Esa'ala Creative Festival

October 2020

Featuring the endemic Goldie's Bird of Paradise and indigenous cultures of the Esa'ala District.

Waluma Culture

TBA

A cultural event that is always staged by a chief for the locals to celebrate harvestation of food from their gardens.

Kasaibwaibwaleta Culture & Theatre

TBA

Commercially famous for performing traditional dramas, contemporary performances, singsings and plays around the country.

Slider

Top Natural Wonders

District: Esa'ala

Natural Wonders - Giant Bones of East NormanbySource: Modakula Kunuyobu - MBTB

Giant Bones of east Normanby Island

Top Natural Wonders

In the past, Milne Bay Province was believed to have been inhabited by giants. Their bones are stored in caves which can be found in different parts of the province. If you are heading to the Esa’ala District, be sure to stop by one of these locations with a local guide and see the bones for yourself!

Dobu Island Extinct Volcano

Top Natural Wonders

The picturesque Dobu Island, an extinct volcano, is a few minutes by speedboat from Esa'ala Station. Dobu Island is one of the three volcanic centers of the Dawson Strait Group, southeast of Fergusson Island. It is an extinct volcano that consists of a composite cone with a summit crater and a small satellite cone. It, too, has produced obsidian lava flows in the past. Lovely warm waters ooze through the sand at some sections of the coast. 

Natural Wonders - Koiwaga Magical RocksSource: Minesi

Koiwaga Magical Rock

Top Natural Wonders

The Koiwaga Magical Rock is located in the forests of Paeweso Village in Mwatebu on Normanby Island.

The locals in the nearby areas of Normanby Island have strong superstitious beliefs that if you catch drops of stalactite water, you can use it to enhance your powers to lure the opposite sex!

Natural Wonders - Mt. OiatabuSource: Modakula Kunuyobu - MBTB

Mount Oiatabu

Top Natural Wonders

The majestic and mysterious Mount Oitabu has some undiscovered species of flora and fauna in PNG. There are already some discoveries made of some species by individuals, and it is a perfect place to visit - you may just make a discovery for yourself! 

Mount Oiatabu is a volcanic dome, with other surrounding domes, and is famous to geologists for its eclogites

How to Get There

You can fly to Alotau from Port Moresby via Air Niugini and PNG Air. Both airlines operate daily flights (twice on Fridays) from Jacksons International Airport (POM) in Port Moresby to Gurney Airport (GUR), about 20 minutes from Alotau Town, the gateway to the rest of Milne Bay Province.

The D'Entrecasteaux Islands are only accessible by sea (speedboat or larger local boats) from Alotau Town at present. There is a small airstrip at Miadeba on Normanby Island near Esa'ala, but it is not operational at present. 

Please engage with any tour operators or accommodation providers from Esa'ala District on our Tourism Services Directory to get the best advice on how to make the trip to your preferred location.