Rabaul

 

Rabaul is a township in East New Britain province, on the island of New Britain, in the country of Papua New Guinea. New Britain is an island about 60 kilometres to the east of the island of New Guinea. Rabaul was the provincial capital and most important settlement in the province until it was destroyed in 1994 by falling ash of a volcanic eruption.

During the eruption, ash was sent thousands of metres into the air and the subsequent rain of ash caused 80% of the buildings in Rabaul to collapse. After the eruption the capital was moved to Kokopo, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) away. Rabaul is continually threatened by volcanic activity because it is on the edge of Rabaul caldera, a flooded caldera of a large pyroclastic shield.

Rabaul was planned and built around the harbor area known as Simpsonhafen (Simpson Harbour) during the German New Guinea administration which controlled the region between 1884 and formally through 1919. From 1910 Rabaul was the headquarters of German New Guinea until captured by the British Empire during the early days of World War I. It became the capital of the Australian mandated Territory of New Guinea until 1937 when it was first destroyed by a volcano.

During World War II it was captured by the Japanese in 1942, and it became the main base of Japanese military and naval activity in the South Pacific. Settlements and military installations around the edge of the caldera are often collectively called Rabaul, although the old town of Rabaul was reduced to practical insignificance by the volcanic eruption in 1937.

As a tourist destination, Rabaul is popular for its volcanoes, scuba diving and for snorkeling sites, spectacular harbour and other scenery, World War II history, flora and fauna, and the cultural life of the Tolai people. Before the 1994 eruption, Rabaul was a popular commercial and recreational boating destination; fewer private small craft visit now, but 10-12 cruise ships visit Rabaul each year, including the Queen Elizabeth carrying up to 2000 passengers. Tourism is a major industry in Rabaul and East New Britain generally.

Transport

Rabaul Airport was destroyed in the 1994 eruption and since the approach involved flying over the Tavurvur crater, it was abandoned. The airport was in the direct path of the falling ash from the nearby vents. A new airport was built at Tokua, about 50 km farther away to the southeast. However, even it has been closed occasionally by ash thrown up by Tavurvur and driven by the North-west monsoon winds.

Rabaul has a large, nearly enclosed harbour, Simpson Harbour. Use of this harbour for the Imperial Japanese Navy was one of the motivations for the Japanese invasion in 1942.

Currency

 

Activities

The Rabaul (Bita Paka) War Cemetery, established in 1945, is located near the site of the former Bita Paka wireless station south of the city of Rabaul, New Britain, in Papua New Guinea.

Kokopo War Museum (Rabaul)– This is a branch of the PNG National Museum, Port Moresby … at the so called “Yamamoto Bunker” in Rabaul, and was moved to Kokopo to …

New Guinea Club & Rabaul Museum (Rabaul)– Located at Rabaul, across from the Anti-Aircraft & Search Light Bunker (aka “Yamamoto Bunker”). Rabaul, New Britain Island 675…

Mount Tavurvur– Tavurvur is an active stratovolcano near Rabaul, on the island of New Britain, in Papua New Guinea. It is a sub-vent of the Rabaul caldera and lies on the eastern rim of the larger feature. An eruption of the volcano largely destroyed the nearby town of Rabaul in 1994.

Kabaira Dive Kabaira Dive & Tours provides a variety of exclusive, personalized ventures – out on the water, under water and on land. Tailor-made activity packages are available for individuals or groups, for relaxing and unwinding, for adventure and excitement…

Kokopo Tours provides one day, half day, and custom land and sea tours throughout Rabaul, Kokopo, and the Gazelle Peninsula. Guides are all experienced local people who know the people and place inside out. Kokopo Tours also own the Kokopo Lodge guest house

Accommodation

Flights

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