All tourists and visitors to Milne Bay Province are advised to read the following.
Accommodation & Transportation
Milne Bay Province offers a range of accommodation services, including the Alotau International Hotel, beautiful island resorts and lodges, and guest houses. Some accommodation establishments have meeting/conference facilities and associated catering as well. Tourists can choose accommodation that suits their needs and budget, but there may be limited choices in some areas.
Tourists and visitors can enter Milne Bay Province via daily flights from Port Moresby, or by sea. There are no road connections to neighboring provinces. Some transport options available to tourists and visitors are:
- Hire cars (Alotau Town and surrounds, and on Kiriwina Island)
- Local taxis (Alotau Town and surrounds)
- PMV Trucks (Alotau Town and surrounds to the south and north coast, and on Kiriwina Island)
- Buses (Alotau Town and surrounds, and on Kiriwina Island)
- Speedboats (province-wide)
- Small boats (province-wide)
- Cruise ships (from overseas to Alotau, Conflict Islands, Kitava Island, Kaibola (Kiriwina Island), and Doini Island)
- Expeditionary ships and Yachts (from overseas to many smaller locations province-wide)
- Airlines (from Port Moresby to Alotau, and from Alotau to Kiriwina and Misima islands)
Air Niugini and PNG Air operate daily flights from Port Moresby (POM) to Alotau (Gurney Airport or GUR). PNG Air also operates a few flights a week from Alotau (GUR) to Kiriwina Island (Losuia or LSA) and Misima Island (MIS). Some of these PNG Air flights are direct to/from POM to those islands. PNG Air will soon open flights to Miadeba (Normanby Island), Guasopa (Woodlark Island), and Vivigani (Goodenough Island). The Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) based in Alotau operates a small plane servicing some remote areas in the North Coast. The Hands of Rescue (THOR) is a maternal health NGO based in Alotau, and they have a small seaplane mainly used for medivacs and rescue operations. All other travel in the province is by sea or road.
Supermarkets and Local Food/Handicrafts Markets
Milne Bay Province has four (4) separately registered and operating supermarkets, the biggest of which is located in the capital Alotau Town. The Alotau Town Market was opened on 21 August 2020 and is a brand new modern facility for you to enjoy. There are other shops in the Alotau Town CBD as well. The other three (3) mini-supermarkets are located on the islands of Misima, Kiriwina, and Samarai. It may not be easy to find local eateries and convenience shops, so please ask your tour guide or host(s) for appropriate advice and recommendations.
Cultural protocols refer to the customs, lores, and codes that guide the behavior of cultural groups in the province. Please apply the same general rules when visiting cultures that may be different from your own. The people of Milne Bay Province are largely English-speaking and follow the Christian faith. Churches from different denominations can be found in the province. Languages and cultural norms may vary, but the basic unwritten rules of respect and modesty apply. Tourists are encouraged to employ common sense when engaging with the people and to respect the culture and environment, and be sensitive to the livelihoods of the people. Milne Bay people are generally open and light-hearted and good humor is a great ice-breaker.
Visitors, especially groups, are encouraged to engage with community leaders, key elders, Church leaders, and the Local Level Government (LLG) office. Land ownership is a highly sensitive matter in PNG and given that over 85% of the land is still customarily-owned, visitors are encouraged to seek permission before entering into any areas, no matter how remote or seemingly uninhabited. As in many cultured societies, it is advisable to dress modestly, especially in large towns and communities and for certain occasions, and to be sensitive to entry protocols in sacred places. There may be gender-based customs regarding access to certain areas or participation in some cultural activities. Your tour guide or host(s) can advise you.
During times of bereavement, the whole community may be involved and many activities (even tours) may cease on those days. Please seek advice as to what you can do in these situations. Usually, there will be a designated mourning house (hauskrai) where everyone goes to pay their respects, offer comfort to family and friends of the deceased, and to make contributions in cash or kind to the immediate family. Visiting a hauskrai is a personal choice for visitors, but it is a highly-regarded gesture respected by individuals and communities. If you wish to visit a hauskrai, your tour guide or host(s) will be happy to advise and assist you.
Over 50 indigenous languages are spoken in Milne Bay Province. However, most people speak English, or some version of it (check out our amusing and unique Milne Bay English!). Most people, especially young folk, speak the popular Tok Pisin, and some older folk still speak Hiri Motu. English, Tok Pisin, and Hiri Motu are the three (3) official languages of Papua New Guinea. If you have any difficulties in remote areas, you can always find a local to interpret for you.
General Hospital and Clinics
Alotau General Hospital (AGH) is situated in town, 15 minutes from the airport and close to the Alotau Town CBD. There are eight (8) local clinics scattered throughout the islands and rural parts of the province. Please enquire at the nearest district center or with local contacts.
There are six (6) existing police stations located around Milne Bay Province that you can visit in case of any emergency, or for general advice. The main police station is located in Alotau Town (Alotau Police Station) and there is one at the Milne Bay Estates oil palm plantation. The other four are located in the Esa'ala, Samarai-Murua, and Kiriwina-Goodenough districts.
Milne Bay Province has one (1) main/central fire station that is located in Alotau Town. However, firemen are usually dispatched to other parts of the province. Despite the logistical challenges of reaching the remote islands of Milne Bay Province, firefighters have been able to reach these places to handle emergency situations.
Access Important Contacts.