If you look on google maps for places to stay around Kimbe Bay, you will quickly find that there are seemingly no other places to stay other than Walindi Resort. Visiting Madang re-activated our ocean adventure toggle, the reefs were vibrant, incredibly alive and had plenty more to offer. People travel from all over the world to visit Walindi, they come for the magical diving, warm waters, and magnificent ocean life. This was evident as we boarded the bus with a couple who had just spent three days in transit as they travelled all the way from North Carolina. At that stage, we hadn’t seen a single photo of Walindi Resort but we knew it must be something special if people are travelling that far to stay there.
We spent four days at Walindi which proved to be home base to a pandora’s box of unimaginable landscapes. In our first week in Papua New Guinea, a local guide said to us, in Papua New Guinea “you must always expect the unexpected”. At every stop and turn of our adventures in PNG, this quote has rung true. Last week, I was holding on to a machine gun on a sunken fighter jet, the week before I was battling the altitude of Mt. Wilhelm and this week I found myself in a dolphin chase. Yes, you read that correctly. I was chasing dolphins (not in a harmful way) and keeping up with them. I’ll get back to that soon, you can’t always get the juice before the squeeze.
ISLAND HOPPING AT WALINDI RESORT
The photos and videos showcase snippets both snippets of beauty and isolation.
HIKING TO THE TOP OF GARBUNA VOLCANO
Not only is Walindi Resort incredibly close to world-class reefs, but behind it lays dense tropical jungle, farmland and a live volcano. Our second day at Walindi took us back out into the jungle on a mission to find the Garbuna Volcano. Once again we set out with little knowledge of what to expect and eagerly followed our guide for the day. It was no ‘walk in the park’ as we managed to cover 16km of undulating terrain and over 900m in vertical elevation over the 6 hours of hiking. After powering through the tropical jungle for 3 hours we made it to the transitional point of the jungle which turned to apocalyptic-like volcano wasteland. What was left of once lush green trees were now dead black tree stumps.
The landscape in front of us was barren and desolate. It also smelt terribly of sulfur. The Garbuna Volcano is live and it continually bellows out big clouds of steaming hot sulfur cloud. Littered in every direction were pieces of bright yellow sulfur, some sections were even comprised of large crevasse-like walls which leaked out sulfur fumes. I have to re-iterate, it really smelt horrendous. I battled through the smell and decided to get to the peak lookout of the volcano. Along the way, I came across more and more landscapes that were unique to the site. The sulfur ruined my rings as I climbed, but I wanted to see it all. As I ventured more and more into the site, I became fascinated with the trees. They reminded me of abstract paintings. From here, we finished up and hiked back. However, this wasn’t the end of the days’ adventures. We had more in store.
MAGICAL GARU HOT RIVER
I thought the ocean water was toasty. After making it up and down from the volcano, our guide had another little adventure lined up for us. This one didn’t require 6 hours of walking, in fact it was quite the opposite. We hit the bumpy roads again as he drove us through the palm oil plantations and to a hidden spot on the river. What looked like a ‘traditional’ little nook amongst the palms turned out to be another new experience for me. The water was hot! The same kind of temperature you’d run your bath in the middle of winter. A temperature where you have to enter slowly as your body adjusts to the stark change. It all seemed like a fairy tale, I couldn’t believe it. It was the perfect way to relax after a big hike.
P.S Our guide also gave us mud to ‘exfoliate’ with and a machete so we could take amusing photos.
THE HIDDEN AIRPLANE OF KIMBE BAY
Our final adventure was to see two crashed aircraft from WWII. There seems to be a lot of them in PNG. I noted to Jackson that it was becoming a theme. These ones were incredibly secluded and in immaculate condition. Surrounded by palm-trees and overgrown with forest vines, they were a sight to behold. Here are our photos from the two airplanes.
Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better week to wrap up my adventures in PNG. PNG you have blown my mind and proven yourself to be an amazing place for adventure.
It’s time to head to Siargao now!