Welcome to the Milne Bay Province official tourism website.

Samarai-Murua District derives its name from Samarai and Woodlark islands, the latter also called Murua or Muyuw traditionally. Made up of four large volcanic island groups and 30 smaller coral islands spread over an oceanic area of approximately 100,000 square kilometres, this island District has breathtaking beaches and stunning coral reef systems that make it a must-see destination for maritime tourists.

There are over 60,000 people living in Samarai-Murua District, which is the largest district in Milne Bay Province by virtue of its large maritime area spanning Woodlark Island, Misima Island, Rossel and Sudest islands, the Louisiade Archipelago, the Engineer Group of islands, and Bwana Bwana Group (in which Samarai Island is situated). The Louisiade Archipelago contains the Conflict Islands owned by British-Australian billionaire Ian Gowrie-Smith

The headquarters for Samarai-Murua District is Bwagaoia Station on Misima Island. 

The large expanse of ocean in this District has resulted in some very diverse cultures spanning a host of islands and atolls, with different language groups and dialects. You will find a huge array of marine activities, as well as trekking, cultural events, festivals, or just spend some time fishing and watch amazing sunsets. Cruise ships currently visit Doini Island and the Conflict Islands. 

Popular Destinations

District: Samarai-Murua

Samarai Island

Popular Destinations

Samarai Island is situated off the south-eastern tip of New Guinea in the China Straits with an area of 0.285 square kilometers. Samara is part of the Louisiade Archipelago and was historically the administrative capital of Milne Bay Province, as well as a trading port in the 20th century. The island still is populated with locals and has its own food market, a school and many sceneries to see.

Doini Plantation Resort

Popular Destinations

The island resort is just a 1-hour 30-minute trip by sea from Alotau Town. The island populates 1,100-hectare plantation of coconut trees surrounded by brilliantly white sandy beaches, pristine turquoise waters swarming with multifarious tropical fish.

The resort serves locally prepared dishes to give you that island taste you won’t ever forget.

Popular activities on Doini Island include fishing, swimming and snorkeling, kayaking, bushwalking, bird watching, turtle watching, visiting skull caves, etc. Also an ideal place for an island wedding!

Conflict Islands Resort

Popular Destinations

The Conflict Islands consist of 21 untouched, uninhabited islands in the Louisiade Archipelago covering up to 455 square kilometres. The resort is located on the main Island called Panasea with an eco-resort and wonderful local staff. Boasting some of the most expansive biodiversity and coral reef life in the world, Irai Island among the many others attests to have the second best corals globally - an absolute divers dream!

Activities on offer at the resort include sport fishing, diving, snorkelling, kayaking, sailing, boating and nature encounters. So pack some sunscreen and flippers and have the time of your life out here at the Conflicts!

Top Activities

District: Samarai-Murua

Conflict Islands Conservation Initiative

Top Activities

The CICI program was initiated by atoll custodian and existing owner of the paradise of islands, Ian Gowrie-Smith, with the help of his partners from WWF in 2017, with the aim of regulating the illegal harvesting of turtles and sharks. He saw the Conflict Islands to be a significant site with an immaculate ecology. Because of its world marine biodiversity hotspot recognition, the CICI’s responsibility is to safeguard and uphold all practices by locals, the owners and visitors.

Be a part of this movement and participate in saving some of these endemic species in Milne Bay!

Gwala Conservation

Top Activities

Gwala is an ancient practice used by island communities in the Bwanabwana LLG to protect the coral and marine life to allow it to replenish for future generations. Conservation International perceived the potential to maximize the “gwala” as well as working with partners in the local communities to take up that role in conserving their marine ecosystem.

Watch a video here

Marine Activities

Top Activities

There are many exciting marine activities that are well set up in the Samarai Murua District to enjoy when guided by a trusted tour guide. Tourists will never be disappointed by snorkeling the coral reef gardens of the collective islands, scuba diving, sport fishing, swimming with the Manta Rays of Gonubalabala Island, and island hopping the China Straits.

If you’re yachting, hiking, bush trekking the wild, or simply looking for a homestay, check out the Tourism Bureau Services Directory for more exciting opportunities.

Iconic Attractions

District: Samarai-Murua

Jomard Passage

Iconic Attractions

The famous channel, also known as the Jomard Entrance, is a navigational strait linking the Louisiade Archipelago and New Guinea. As of 2016, the Jomard passage was designated as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA), the first-ever in Papua New Guinea. It is a two-way shipping route with an average of 27 large commercial ships passing through each day. A million-dollar passage indeed!

Kwato Church

Iconic Attractions

An iconic wonder in itself found near Samarai and Logea islands, with an area stretch of 0.35 square kilometres in the Samarai-Murua District. Historically known to be developed in 1891 by Rev Charles William Abel and wife Beatrice Abel with the London Missionary Society mission to teach boat-building, carpentry, agriculture, and management skills. It is believed to be the place from which many skilfull and well-known people from Milne Bay originated from.

Samarai Island

Iconic Attractions

Samarai Island holds significant historical value as a former stop-over and trading port between East Asia and Australia, as well as being the second largest port in the Papua Territory after Port Moresby. The town was strategically destroyed in WW2 but was rebuilt and served as the provincial headquarters until 1968. Despite failing to regain its previous status, the PNG Government declared it a National Historical Heritage Island in 2006. To this day, many visitors from all over the world come to see Samarai Island and always take back a good memory or two. It is worth a visit if you are in Alotau Town; hop on a boat and you will surely and swiftly be amazed at what this tiny island has to offer!

Popular Events

District: Samarai-Murua

Giniuba Kaihea

TBA

The legendary Pearl Festival, an iconic event in the 1970s to 1990s last held in 1995, is being revived in 2020 as a bi-annual event. The people of Samarai-Murua get together to celebrate the famous pearl shell called Giniuba.

Doi Mini Cultural Show

1-3 October 2020

A traditional crop competition which locals initially established to encourage food security and to avoid food shortages. The show is held in Guasopa on Woodlark Island. The Doi Festival has been show cased for two years now and is recognized as an annual event.

Haptoma Festival

TBA

A celebration held during the Christmas period in which the communities of Misima Island congregate to end the year and welcome a new year. It is hosted in a traditional village called Bwagaoia.

Ginehuba Kaihea

TBA

Is a cultural event that is performed by the people of Samarai Murua. People get together during this festival to celebrate the famous pearl shell called Ginehuba. The last festival was staged in 1995 and is assured to be re-established in 2020 as a bi-annual event.

Doi Festival (Woodlark)

TBA

A traditional festival of a crop competition which locals initially established this event to encourage food security to avoid food shortages. The show is located in Guasopa on Wooklark Island. The Doi Festival has been show cased for two years now and is recognized as an annual event.

Haptoma Festival

TBA

A celebration held during the Christmas period from which the communities of the Misima Island congregate and end the year and welcome a new year. It is hosted in a traditional village called Bwagoia.

Slider

Top Natural Wonders

District: Samarai-Murua

Top Natural Wonders - Snake Passage Source: Modakula Kunuyobu - MBTB

Snake Passage (Yaleamba)

Top Natural Wonders

The Snake Passage is found between Sudest and Rossel Islands in the southeastern part of the Louisiade Archipelago. According to legend and folklore, a big snake was believed to have left Sudest (Tagula/Vanatinai) Island for Rossel (Yela) Island creating the passage.

Top Natural Wonders - High Cliffs Source: Modakula Kunuyobu - MBTB

Cliffs of North Coast Misima

Top Natural Wonders

Some of the highest natural cliffs are found around the northern coast of Misima Island, giving you a scenic view of the Murua Islands. This is a perfect spot to take pictures!

Sawasawaga Passage

Top Natural Wonders

Sawasawaga Passage separates Sariba and Sideia islands. The Spanish captains, Don Diego de Prado and Luis Vaez de Torres, came to Milne Bay Province in 1606 where they landed here, anchored at Oba Bay (named Puerto de San Francisco), and on 14 July 1606 declared the area as the Territory of Saint Bonaventure - 267 years before Capt John Moresby arrived here! As was the protocol back in the day, the Chaplain onboard conducted the first-ever Catholic mass in PNG on that day, possibly on Sideia Island (named St. Bonaventure Island). From there, they sailed west to Orangerie Bay where they spent some time and planned a settlement, before heading further west and discovering the Torres Strait eventually. It has good anchorage for visitors traveling by sea. Beware of the very strong tides - as calm as it looks, you just may get swept away!

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.

From Alotau Town, you can fly to Misima Island (MIS) via PNG Air. These flights are not frequent so please check with the PNG Air online schedule

For other destinations within Samarai-Murua District, you can go only by sea. 

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