Sorrel Wilby returned to Papua New Guinea, a place she loves. She has spent a lot of time there and has a great fondness for the people, the culture and the pristine environment.
This time she went to the east of the country to a place called Tufi, which is a mecca for diving enthusiasts. Papua New Guinea has many fabulous dive sites, but Tufi is a stand-out location.
Visitors are encouraged to go to local villages and schools you might like to pack a few important goodies for them in your suitcase before you leave home. Basic medical and school supplies are extremely welcome. Things we take for granted are so gratefully received bandaids, ointments, bandages, pencils and sharpeners, paper, books anything you can think of will bring a great deal of pleasure. Children sing and dance and will probably give a rendition of the national anthem.
Sorrel visited Kabuni School which has around 40 students from seven villages. Most of the students walk to school, some walk for more than an hour, some paddle a canoe and then have the hour's walk. They attend from Monday to Friday and sadly education is not free. The fees put great stress on most families but they realise the importance of education.
It costs just $25 to educate a child for a whole year. If you care to help the children to learn skills to advance their chances in life, you can send money to Sharon and Simon Tewson at Tufi Dive Resort.
Pristine waters offer unrestricted visibility and hold unequalled marine diversity and untouched World War II historical sites. It is the ultimate diving experience. There is the beauty of the Solomon Sea, majestic fjords, rainforest and the reef to explore.
It is said to be home to twice as many species as the waters of the Red Sea and up to five times as many as the Caribbean. Water temperatures range between 25°C and 30°C. A ribbon reef appears from nowhere from a depth of about 600m and there you see unlimited colourful fish and coral. Even the most experienced divers are astounded at what greets them.
Tufi Dive's Glen Kibikibi is one of just five indigenous PADI dive instructors in the country and he knows all the best spots for divers and snorkelers. Mullaway and Veals reefs are two of the best. The catamaran has a toilet and shower and is great for game fishing and enjoying lunch.
Tufi Dive Resort
The boutique resort is on top of a fjord with 180-degree views. It was refurbished nine years ago and accommodates just 38 guests in 10 deluxe bungalows, nine standard rooms and eight single rooms for budget travellers. It has 24-hour reticulated power and water is safe to drink. If you are visiting villages it is advised you take water from the resort.
The restaurant offers a mix of cuisine from local dishes to Japanese and Western meals. Smorgasbords are made up of local seafood, vegetables and tropical fruit and the barbecue is cranked up for delicious grills.
There is a licensed bar and you don't have to miss out on your favourite Australian wine and beer.
There is a library and video collection and barbecue facilities on a cliff overlooking the water. Tours are available from local villages as well as windsurfing safaris and kayaking. There's a pool, gift shop, laundry services and a trade store close by.
Tufi is an hour's flight from Port Moresby in New Guinea.
Tufi five-night packages are $755 per person twin share. They include four nights of deluxe accommodation at Tufi Resort, one night at a village guesthouse, all meals and transfers at Tufi. Diving is $65 a day and snorkelling in the villages or the fjord is free. Children are welcome and those under 10 stay and eat for free.
Prices correct at December 10, 2009.
For further information
Tufi Dive Resort
PO Box 1845
Papua New Guinea
Ph: +675 323 3462
Fax: +675 323 1303
Visas: All foreign visitors to PNG require a visa and passports must have at least 6 months' validity.
Electricity: 240V 50Hz.
Time zone: GMT +10.
Currency: The kina.
International dialling code: +675.
It is recommended travellers to Papua New Guinea see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there are specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information, visit www.welltogo.com.au and www.smarttraveller.gov.au.