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 and McDonald's Corner
- 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 where we will have lunch and check in to our accommodation. This afternoon we will travel on a town tour, exploring many of Port Moresby's sites and taking in magnificent viewings of the wreck of the MV Macdhui and the coastline, the PNG National War Memorial at Ela Beach and enjoy the commentary along the way learning about PNG. A delicious buffet dinner awaits us at the Hotel with an evening presentation on why New Guinea became so important in the military history overview of the Pacific Campaign in 1942. (L,D)
We awake with a delightful continental breakfast before heading out for a full day of touring. We head straight to Bomana War Cemetery where we will conduct a Remembrance Service to honour the fallen as your military history specialist recounts select stories from those who rest eternally at Bomana. Private time will then be available to reflect on individual relative sites and take in the atmosphere. We will continue on our tour 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 Corner and learn the importance of this area and continue to Owers’ Corner for the breath taking views of the Owen Stanley Ranges.
After visiting Owers Corner, viewing the plaques and part of the Kokoda Track and its surrounds we will make our way back to Sogeri for lunch at Sogeri Lodge. We will return to the hotel for dinner and prepare for our next days adventure to Milne Bay. (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 learn the significance of the airstrip and view the surrounds. We will head to Alotau International Hotel and check in (depending on flight time lunch also). We will visit the Milne Bay War Memorial in the afternoon and 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 absorb the magnificent views of the town and the surrounding area from the lookout above the town with a full view of the Bay. 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 the strategic history to the battle of Milne Bay. (B, L, D).
After a good night sleep and breakfast, we head out for our first tour of the day. 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. We will visit the pristine gardens of the Turnbull War Memorial and hear about the United States contribution.
Lunch will be either a pleasant picnic or at a hotel during the day.
As the sun sets we will walk to the Milne Bay 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. We will return to the hotel for the evening meal and a good nights rest. (B,L,D) (Overnight Milne Bay)
Today we will be Island Hopping and take to the water to visit three of the more than 500 islands that surround Milne Bay. We will travel out of the Bay and stop at 3 completely distinct islands that highlight the natural beauty, colourful life and history of 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. Here we will relax with a picnic lunch and spend some time snorkelling if you wish (or if the conditions are right we can head to the manta ray cleaning station at Gonobarabara) (B,L,D)
Today we farewell Milne Bay and board our plane to return to Port Moresby. We will check back in to our original hotel. The afternoon in Port Moresby will be filled with Independence Day festivities where you will be surprised and delighted with the spectacular array of cultural performances and tribal costumes. For dinner tonight 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 may include a visit to the PNG National Museum or the PNG Nature Park.
Today we head home to Australia and reflect on the beauty of Papua New Guinea and what we have learnt. Once you are through immigration don't forget to take a look at Squadron Leader John Francis Jackson DFC Memorial Display. (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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