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Travel Guide Oceania Melanesia Papua New Guinea New Britain Rabaul



Rabaul is a town in East New Britain province, on the island of New Britain, in the country of Papua New Guinea. New Britain is an island about 60 kilometres to the east of the island of New Guinea. Rabaul was the provincial capital and most important settlement in the province until it was destroyed in 1994 by falling ash of a volcanic eruption. During the eruption, ash was sent thousands of metres into the air and the subsequent rain of ash caused 80% of the buildings in Rabaul to collapse. After the eruption the capital was moved to Kokopo, about 20 kilometres away. Rabaul is continually threatened by volcanic activity due to having been built on the edge of Rabaul caldera, a flooded caldera of a large pyroclastic shield.



Sights and Activities

As a tourist destination, Rabaul is popular for scuba diving and for snorkelling sites and also offers a spectacular harbour. Because of its war-time history it attracts many Japanese visitors.

  • Bitapaka War Cemetery - Maintained by the Australian War Graves Commission this is the final resting place for servicemen from many countries who died in WWII. There is also a Japanese War Memorial at a former sea-plane base.
  • Japanese Tunnels - There are around 700 kilometres of tunnels in the hills that surround Rabaul's Simpson Harbour. Accommodation, hospitals and hiding places for barges were built in them. Some of the barges can still be seen in tunnels at Karavia.
  • General Yamamoto’s Bunker - The General led the Japanese South Pacific campaign. He was eventually shot down by the Americans after flying out of Rabaul on an inspection tour to the Solomon Islands. You can visit his underground command post.
  • Kokopo War and Cultural Museum - Good collection of Japanese vehicles, munitions and other relics.
  • OISCA Botanical Garden - Half an hour by good road from Kokopo at Warongoi. Great place for butterflies



Events and Festivals

Tumbuan Mask Festival

First beginning in 1995, the Tumbuan Mask Festival puts the ever-impressive mask making culture of PNG into the spotlight. Rabaul, the largest city’s island region, hosts this festival for three days each July.



Getting There

By Plane

Rabaul Airport (RAB) offers flights to/from Buka, Cairns, Hoskins, Kavieng, Kieta, Lihir Island and Port Moresby.

By Boat

There are several vessels that connect Lae with Rabaul, with intermediate stops. Some of these carry passengers.



Keep Connected


Internet usage among the people is relatively low. You can find internet cafes in major cities, towns and other tourist centers. Wifi coverage is still very low, but is growing.


See also International Telephone Calls

Papua New Guinea's international country code is 675.

Digicel is by far the better telecom provider. A new prepaid sim card is easy to purchase and can be used in any unlocked phone. Calls cost from 0.60-1.00 kina and SMS from 0.25 kina. Topup is available anywhere where there is network and also online (credit card or PayPal). Mobile Internet costs 0.35 kina per MB but it's possible to buy hourly (30 MB for 1 kina), daily (60 MB for 2.5 kina), weekly (150 MB for 10 kina) or monthly (900 MB for 65 kina) packages. There are also promotions and packages for calls and sms.


Post PNG offers postal service in the country. It is only recommended to use for sending postcards, as it is not very reliable nor fast. To send packages overseas, use international courier companies like FedEx, DHL or UPS.


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This is version 5. Last edited at 10:32 on Jul 19, 17 by Utrecht. 6 articles link to this page.

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