Bougainville - nature survived in war zone

Admiral Yamamoto's plane wreck in Bougainville jungle

Bougainville is an ecological wonderland where you can -immerse yourself in the splendor of its natural and scenic beauty. The civil war of the 1990s had kept loggers away and habitats relatively intact. Professor Tim Flannery, one of the world’s leading experts on mammals of Melanesia, regards this region as “the Galápagos of the Western Pacific”. The island is dotted with bat filled caves, caldera lakes and giant sinkholes including the largest cavern in the world. There are a great variety of tropical birds on Bougainville, which makes it the perfect place for birdwatching.

You visit the WW2 crash site of a, largely intact, military plane that carried the Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who was the mastermind of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour.

War and peace

Bougainville boasted the best living conditions in PNG before a decade long civil war broke out in 1989, inflicting much destruction and the death of over 15,000 islanders. You will visit the now closed Rio Tinto majority owned, Panguna mine, central to the grievances that initiated the formation of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army. The mine still contains about $50bn of copper, gold and other metals. As part of the peace settlement, Bougainville’s population of 250,000 will go to a referendum on independence from PNG within the next 3 years. The prospect of Bougainville becoming the world’s newest country will unearth all the geopolitical intrigue that exists in the Asia Pacific region. Intrigue indeed!

You stay amongst the untouched pleasures of Pokpok Island and enjoy the hospitality of host Simon Pentanu, Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representatives in his laid back, perfectly positioned Urana Bay Retreat.

Nearby is the location where the recently released “Mr Pip”, the film of Lloyd Jones’ award winning novel,was filmed. This beautifully told story is of the island under blockade and gripped by the brutality of the strife ridden 1990’s.

Bougainville is a land of simple, untouched pleasures, from the turquoise seas to lush rain forests. Come and meet these proud and friendly people -the Bouganvillians!

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