Milne Bay Historical Tour
“Some of us may forget that, of all the Allies, it was the Australians who first broke the spell of the invincibility of the Japanese Army.”
Field Marshall Sir William Slim, Commander of WW2 Commonwealth forces in Burma (and later Governor General of Australia).
- Visit Bomana War Cemetery on ANZAC Day
- Visit Owers Corner the start of the Kokoda Track, McDonald's Corner and Koitaki
- Stay at Milne Bay visiting the site where the Japanese were first turned back in WWII
The Battle of Milne Bay in August September of 1942 was pivotal in the broader Pacific theatre of war and the first time the Japanese had been defeated on land. It proved that this juggernaut from the Land of the Rising Sun could be stopped. It was also another example of how important the decoding efforts of the Allies were in the war against the Japanese.
The Japanese were advancing toward Port Moresby from the north across the Kokoda Track and from the East via Milne Bay. This bloody and decisive battle gave the Japanese only one hope to capture Port Moresby and that was via the Owen Stanley Range, an operation that was doomed from the outset.
If you want to visit some of the most important WWII sites in PNG; maybe you had a relative that fought there and you want to understand what really went on, then this once a year trip is for you.
Depart Australia for Port Moresby. On arrival we will be greeted by our No Roads Team and transferred to the Hotel. Lunch at Hotel.
This afternoon we will do a town tour, exploring some of Port Moresby's sites and getting a lay of the land taking in the wreck of the MV Macdhui and the PNG National War Memorial at Ela Beach.
Buffet Dinner at the Hotel with an evening presentation on the military history overview on the Pacific Campaign in 1942 and why New Guinea became so important. (L,D)
We awake with a delightful continental breakfast before heading out to Bomana War Cemetery. Here we will conduct a Remembrance Service followed by readings of unique individuals buried within the Cemetery. Private time will then be available to reflect on individual relative sites and take in the atmosphere. We will then take a bus out of Port Moresby heading towards Sogeri, along the Sogeri Highway, stopping off at Hombrom Bluff & Rouna Falls as we make our way to McDonald’s and Owers’ Corners.
After visiting the start of the Kokoda Track we will make our way back to Sogeri for Lunch at Sogeri Lodge. We then will return to the hotel for dinner. (B,L,D) (Overnight Port Moresby)
This morning we will fly to Milne Bay and land at Gurney Airfield, the original ‘No. 1 Airstrip’ that was heavily fought over during the battle. On arrival, we will conduct a tour of the airstrip and its significance. Then we will visit the Milne Bay War Memorial before checking in to the Alotau International Resort. Lunch at Alotau International Hotel (depending on flight time)
We will then tour the township and visit the beaches of Ahioma, where we will view the remnants of Japanese landing barges used in the battle. We will also enjoy magnificent views of the town and the surrounding area from the lookout above the town. Our tour will take in Rabe Village where we will see the customs and traditions of the local people. You will also have the chance to buy some great traditional souvenirs, such as carved wooden figurines and bowls, traditional grass skirts from the Trobriand Islands along with clay pots, woven baskets and jewellery. We will then return to the hotel to enjoy our evening meal.
This evening our Guide will provide a strategic backdrop to the battle of Milne Bay and the history. (B, L, D).
After breakfast, we head out for our first tour of the day. Our first stop is Wahuhuba Bay where we will hear about the Japanese landing, the first of such to happen on this site at the start of the campaign. We will then visit the John French VC Memorial in Goilanai River. Here your Guide will recall the heroic feats of men like John French who was held up by intense fire by three machine-gun posts. Corporal French ordered his own section to take cover, before he successfully assaulted two positions with grenades. He then attacked the third with a sub-machine gun but finally fell dead in front of the enemy gun pit. From there we move out to Gilli Gilli and the KB mission, both areas which were the scene of some of the first fighting. On the way back we will stop in to the Turnbull War Memorial where we will see many relics and hear about the United States contribution.
Note: We will find a nice place for lunch during the day.
As the sun sets we will make our way down to the memorial and take up positions to commemorate the battle that ended on 7 September 1942. Our group will lay a wreath and pay our respects to the fallen. After which we will return to the hotel for the evening meal. (B,L,D) (Overnight Milne Bay)
Today we will take to the water to visit three of the more than 500 islands that surround Milne Bay. Our first stop will be at historic Samarai Island. It is hard to believe that this tiny little island was once the provincial headquarters for the province. Although largely destroyed at the end of the Second World War, the island has been rebuilt and is reminiscent of a forgotten Australian country town, unique in Papua New Guinea. From Samarai we will hop across the China Straight to Kwato Island. This island is famous as the launching pad for the Abel missionaries, whose legacy in Milne Bay continues today with Abel descendants continuing their work today in the church, public and private sectors. The highlight of our tour to this pretty island is a visit to the hilltop Kwato Church, a beautiful stone church that has existed since missionary times. The last island we visit is idyllic Deka Island. This tropical island is fringed by a beautiful white sandy beach and coral reefs. (B,L,D)
Saying goodbye to Milne Bay we will board our plane to return to Port Moresby. We will then check in to our original hotel. For dinner we will head to the Royal Port Moresby Yacht Club. This will be the perfect way to finish your PNG experience. (B,L,D) (Overnight Port Moresby)
Should time allow with the flights - we will include a visit to the PNG National Museum or the PNG Nature Park.
Today we head home to Australia and reflect on our tour and what we have learnt, but once you are through immigration don't forget to take a look at Squadron Leader John Francis Jackson DFC Memorial. (B)
- Australian Soldier/Guide providing Military History on the Battle
- PNG Local Guide
- Tour Manager
- International Airfares Melbourne POM Melbourne
- Return airfare Port Moresby to Alotau and Port Moresby
- 3 nights twin-share hotel accommodation at Port Moresby (Holiday Inn)
- 3 nights twin-share hotel accommodation at Alotau (Alotau International)
- All Meals
- Transfers to all sites including Bomana, Owers Corner etc -Coaster Bus
- Transfers from all airports
- Local customs and traditions of sing sing's
- Visit to Milne Bay Memorial
- Laying of a Wreath
- All site visit fees in Port Moresby and Milne Bay
- Communications and safety equipment inc. Satellite phone
- Public liability insurance
- Water bottles for each guest for each day of the tour
- Travel Insurance
- Hotel meals and drinks other than Breakfast
- Tourist Visa (this is Free)
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