PNG: All You Need To Know About the Tavurvur Volcano Hike - Vikingess Voyages

Saturday, July 21, 2018

PNG: All You Need To Know About the Tavurvur Volcano Hike

Tavurvur (the black peak in the middle) and volcanic orange sand
Photo: Anette

Tavurvur is often referred to as one of Papua New Guinea (PNG)'s most dangerous volcanos. The nearby city Rabaul, once known as the 'jewel of the Pacific', used to be the provincial capital of the East Britain island until an eruption from the volcano destroyed big parts of the city in 1994. Although its last eruption occurred as recent as in 2014, the volcano has become a popular place to visit for tourists to the area, and when we visited the island for the National Mask Festival it was a natural destination for a day trip from our base in Kokopo.

At the hotel, they offered packages to go and see the volcano, but we decided to make the arrangements ourselves and teamed up with another traveler for a trip with a private taxi that took us to the volcano and back again. We only paid 170 kinas ($51.8/ €44.2) for the driver to take us to the volcano and back again, 5 kinas ($1.5 / €1.3) for the entry and 50 ($15.2/ €13) more for a local guide to take us to the top of Tavurvur. While the driver was waiting for us we spent about 1 1/2 hour to take a stroll around the area, including the hike to Tavurvur's crater.
Volcanic orange sand and the Blanche Bay
Getting ready for the hike. Tavurvur is the peak to the right
The worst part of the hike is not, as you might have guessed, the elevation, rather it is the blazing heat you have to face as you ascend the rocky path. You better bring with you some water, strong sun lotion and a hat to avoid getting dehydrated and seriously grilled.
The view as you ascend the volcano
A local guide (to the left) who climbed Tavurvur completely barefoot
The hike itself calls for good footwear, as the climb is rocky and slippery. It might look like a walk in the park judging from the local guides who mostly only wear slippers (one of them even climbed barefoot!), but don't get fooled by their appearance or you'll regret it later. The rocks are razor sharp and can easily leave you with cuts and scratches.
Once you reach the rim you can see smoking sulfur fumaroles
The crater + 2 hikers
It is not everyday one gets the chance to climb an active volcano, and the smell of the sulfur hits you long before you reach the crater. Once you do, you can see the smoking sulfur fumaroles and the yellow-stained black rocks. The view of Rabaul is stunning, so if you're tired of staring into the black rocks of the crater you can direct your attention towards the stunningly beautiful azure blue bay.
Enjoying the view

We made it!

The stunning view of the bay

Once you're back down again the waters surrounding the volcano might seem like a refreshing place to chill out after the scorching hike, but be aware that the ocean surrounding the volcano is boiling hot due to thermal activities. Some of the locals even bring their eggs here to boil them.
Locals bring eggs to boil them in the hot water

Local ladies selling jewelry and other artifacts laid out on blankets on the dark sand
The hike up Tavurvur was a fun experience and a highlight of our stay in Kokopo. Although I generally wouldn't recommend traveling without a group in PNG due to safety issues we found that the trip to the volcano was unproblematic (the local guides are all very friendly, and the entrance fee to the area probably also keeps wrongdoers from getting in easily). But I'd still stress that if you don't want to take any risks while in PNG you should always go with a group. No regrets on our side - If there is one thing I would do differently it would be to get up earlier to avoid the heat (we did the hike around 10-11am).

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below
- Anette

 ◆Basic Info

  • Mount Tavurvur

    Entrance Fee:
    5 kinas ($1.5 / 1.3)

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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