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Dive Review of Walindi Plantation Resort in
Papua New Guinea/Bismarck Sea, New Britain isle

Walindi Plantation Resort: "A great resort for divers", Nov, 2022,

by Steven Moore, CT, US (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports with 7 Helpful votes). Report 12209 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We’ve talked for years about staying at Walendi Plantation, but the lengthy travel always discouraged the trip. This year, the visit came together in just over 2 weeks when our previously (2+ years) dive trip was cancelled abruptly due to airline issues in the South Pacific. (More on Air Niugini later.) I had visited Papua New Guinea in 2000 as part of a month-long liveaboard dive and cultural trip, including one night’s dinner at Walendi, but didn’t remember anything much about the resort since we stayed on the beach and ate outdoors that night. What I did remember was the diving back then. Lots and lots of diverse marine life, some wonderful reefs and intense bommie dives, and people who were very friendly and welcoming.

Walendi Plantation Resort’s websites (www.walendi.com and www.walendiresort.com) describe them well. The main focus is on the diving, although they do advertise other activities for either non-divers or for surface interval/pre-flight days. Non-divers might not enjoy the stay as much as divers, however, since options are limited for land-side action.

The resort’s main building contains the office, kitchen, an air conditioned room for breakfast, lunch, and a small library with television, the open-air dining area and a small open-air bar with 2-3 tables. The smallish swimming pool is located at the edge of a well-maintained deck here, as are several outdoor tables/chairs/stools. Guests stay in either individual bungalows or in buildings that hold four “Plantation House Rooms”. All have individual bathrooms with a small refrigerator and storage areas. And while the ceiling fans generally worked well, the lack of air conditioning in any of the guest rooms was an issue during the long, hot afternoons each day. On those days, we spent blocks of several hours in the main building’s “library” where it was cool, and we had access to the bar and restaurant. Room rates include all meals, wi-fi only at the main building, and one additional significant benefit: daily laundry service.

The food was generally very good, with the exception that both the breakfast and lunch menus are the same every day. For shorter stays, that will be fine. We stayed 12 nights, however, and after the first 6-7 days, both of those menus were looking a bit stale. Dinner each night was buffet style with multiple choices. Vegetarian options were very limited, however, and not very creative, so meat-eaters generally were more satisfied with the meals.

People come for the diving, however, and for the most part, the diving was excellent. Walendi is connected to two liveaboards, the MV Febrina and the Oceania. The Febrina is the grand lady of the two, having served the Bismarck Sea and Walendi Plantation for many years. The Oceania is newer and appears to be an upgrade over Febrina, although people we talked with from both boats were happy. We originally intended to sail on Febrina, but due to last-minute confusion about bookings, they were full, so we stayed at the resort for the full 12 days. We talked to passengers on both boats and found that many of the dive sites were the same as the ones we did from shore, so we weren’t disappointed that we missed out on special diving.

For resort diving, everyone gathers at 8am at the dock. Tanks are inspected, nitrox is measured, and then gear is loaded for you. It’s important for divers to check their gear personally, of course, because we found several tanks filled only to about 1,400 PSI. And the staff didn’t check BCD weight pouches effectively, so divers lost two pouches during the week. (A reminder to the divers that they have to check their own gear, not rely on anyone else.) Once on the boat, the trips took anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half. The more distant sites came first each day and the boat then worked its way back toward shore for subsequent dives. On 3-dive days, the crew also packed an abundant lunch that was served during the second surface interval. Those meals were fabulous – lots of choices and plenty of food.

All of the resort staff were wonderful, too. Friendly, helpful, accommodating. They quickly handled any requests and made sure that we were happy. The resort is managed by the original family owners. We were fortunate to have dinner several times with Cecilie, the original owner, who was a fascinating source of stories about the history of the region and the resort. Cecilie’s son, Cheyne, and his wife, Ema, went to extremes to assist us with the return flights home – more about that at the end here.

As for the dives, the quality depended on the weather and closeness to shore. In early November, the season is transitioning from summer/dry into the rainy season (December to February or March), so we did see rain almost every day. It usually was limited to the afternoons or overnight hours, so we were able to dive every day. But the rain affected dive sites closer to shore, so long boat rides were required on some days to find reasonable visibility. Even then, the viz was affected by storms nearby. Our first two dive days weren’t great due to poor viz, fairly substantial currents, and low lighting from the overcast skies. On the 3rd day, however, we traveled an hour and 15 minutes to the first site and the dives were wonderful: healthy reefs or bommies, lots of marine life, warm temps. Average water temperatures for our dives were in the mid to upper 80’s F. On some shallower dives, it was even warmer – unpleasantly so on one dive just offshore from an island. After the 3rd day, I left my 3mm wetsuit unzipped in back for every dive and never came close to cool or uncomfortable.

Marine life varied by dive site, as you would expect. Lots and lots of medium to small sized fish in great variety, including lots of nudibranchs (including at least one species I had never seen before). Everything from angels, butterfly fish, tuna, jacks, trevally, anthia, parrotfish, etc. And something I remembered from my first PNG trip in 2000, circling schools of several hundred barracuda. Although the resort dives these locations frequently, the animals didn’t seem to be skittish or put off by people. We counted at least 4-5 different species of anemonefish on each dive – in fact, the barracuda and anemonefish are the consistent memory across all the days and dive sites.

On two or three days, we also encountered pods of dolphins at the surface. One of those pods appeared to have well over 100 individuals that played with us as we motored along. The dive boats also have “dolphin nets” that they lower to the water line. Divers climb in with a mask and snorkel (and camera, if so inclined), and as the boat travels along, the divers get an up close underwater view of the pods playing tag. None of them visited us during dives, however.

On our final dive, the crew offered us an opportunity to dive a reef that they hadn’t been on for several years. In fact, the guides couldn’t give a briefing because they hadn’t ever been there. That dive site, “South Bay”, proved to be the best of the trip. Its counterpart, “North Bay” is known to have over 25 species of coral and this one matched that total. The marine life was especially vibrant there, equal to or better than any other single dive I’ve done, including a couple touted by their guides as “fish highways”. This one counts as a super highway.

The dive staff were wonderful, by the way. Martin captained the boats every day, Miriam and Brian were outstanding guides who let everyone dive their own profiles but were present to point out interesting things. And the whole team worked together well.

The only complaint about the diving – something not mentioned before we arrived – is that only 2-3 dives are available each day. On every other dive trip, we’ve had the option of 4-5 dives per day, including unlimited shore dives, if we wanted them. But Walendi doesn’t have shore diving; every dive requires a boat ride. And that also eliminated night dives. Before we arrived, we purchased a 24-dive package. We weren’t able to use all of them, given the 2-3 dive limit. Walendi did the right thing, however, and deducted our pre-paid dives from the outstanding charges so we didn’t lose that investment.

The only real problem with the trip came from travel. The outbound trip was fine. (JFK to Singapore to Port Moresby to Hoskins.) The return trip was a migraine headache, thanks for Air Niugini. If there is any way to avoid that airline, I recommend it strongly. It’s pretty much the only game in town for Hoskins, however, although I’ve heard that PNG Air might be serving that destination now. Our return trip was scheduled on a Thursday morning at 7am. Several other Walendi guests had Hoskins/Air Niugini flights cancelled during the week before our departure, in at least one case requiring an additional overnight stay at Walendi. For our trip, Air Niugini first cancelled our 7am departure the day before the flight, cancelled the substitute 11:30 flight overnight, and put us on a 1:00pm flight that would arrive in Port Moresby at 2:05. They wouldn’t check out bags through to New York, so we were supposed to collect the bags in the Domestic terminal, run down the street to the International terminal, then re-check everything and get through Customs/Immigration for a 2:50 departure. Fortunately, the Air Niugini ground staff were wonderful and arranged our transfer/baggage loading, etc., while we were on the Hoskins flight and we made the connection. If we had missed it, the next flight was 4 days later. Air Niugini officially was completely unhelpful, but their ground staff made it work.


Overall, we were incredibly happy with Walendi and our entire stay. We recommend it highly to divers, although probably less to non-diving guests. The diving was great, the resort comfortable and laid back, and the people were wonderful. We would go there again, assuming we could find alternative transportation.

We have posted a brief video about the trip on YouTube: [youtu.be link].
Websites Walindi Plantation Resort   [same]

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving US, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia (x5), Caribbean, Alaska
Closest Airport Hoskins Getting There HARD. Inbound Air Niugini to Port Moresby, then 6-hour wait in the hot, crowded, dirty, Domestic terminal. Then a 1hr flight to Hoskins followed by a 1 1/4 hour drive on rough roads in the resort van. Return trip was a nightmare. Air Niugini cancelled our 7am and 11:30am flights, and the 1pm flight had only a 20min window before the scheduled international departure to Singapore. Airline staff went above/beyond to make it work, we sprinted and made it. Air Niugini cancelled flights all week.

Dive Conditions

Weather windy Seas calm, choppy, currents
Water Temp 82-87°F / 28-31°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20-75 Ft/ 6-23 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Generally stayed with a guide each dive, but free to choose your own depth and exertion level.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There is a dedicated photo room at the dock, but nobody used it because there were plenty of electrical outlets in the bungalows. Photographers generally took cameras back to the room each day.
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Report currently has 3 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By Jeffrey F Tonn in WA, US at Nov 30, 2022 17:03 EST  
I wrote a review about Oceania, but didn't say much about Walindi because this review is so accurate! One night local kids came to the resort to dance to raise funds for their school. They were fantastic! Enjoyed everything about the place. Rooms were spottless!
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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