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“Superb Diving, Lovely Hotel, Overall Amazing Experience”

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Walindi Plantation Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Kimbe
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Superb Diving, Lovely Hotel, Overall Amazing Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 July 2014

Just returning from 5 days and nights at Walindi (July 2014). 11 dives over 4 days in Kimbe Bay.

In summary, Walindi is a beautiful hotel in a gloriously tropical surrounding. The diving is absolutely top class and worth the effort getting there.

The hotel and surroundings: a collection of tastefully done bungalows in a lush tropical forest. The owners have clearly spent a significant amount of time landscaping the property. The feel is like walking though a manicured rain-forest. There is an amazing variety of plants, trees and vines. Birds are everywhere. The bungalows are very comfortable, while being suitably rustic to match the surroundings. The bungalows have a portico with a view of the bay.

The diving: Simply amazing. Seriously. Lived up to its billing. Most dive sites are a 45 minute boat ride from the dock. The majority are coral gardens or wall dives. Currents tend to be minimal. The visibility is generally very good (80 ft-100 ft on good days).

The coral is the healthiest I have seen in over 20 years of diving all over the world. As another reviewer mentioned, the coral here seems to be an example of what the Caribbean was like 100 years ago. There is a vast variety of colorful, healthy, hard coral (not as much soft coral as Fiji, but some exists).

There are very large schools of countless varieties of small fish in the coral gardens and along the walls. Lots of macro critters also. There were sightings of turtles, crocodile fish(!), stone fish, scorpion fish, lion fish, lobsters, rays, numerous flying fish, pods of dolphins and eels. Some of the dive sites have a bit more current (still quite manageable) and large schools of large fish. Dive site Otto had a very large school (~500+) of barracuda. There were so many barracuda, they formed a 40 foot swirling wall.

The highlight of the trip was swimming with a very large (8 to 10 foot fin-to-fin) Ocean Sunfish (mola mola), which was basking near the surface of the sea. It was the first time that one had been seen in Kimbe Bay in at least 5 years. The Sunfish was spotted by an alert diver as our dive boat was taking us to a dive site.

The people: Really, really great. The boats are driven by and dives are led by PNG locals. They are extremely friendly and professional, and go out of their way to ensure that you are comfortable and have a good time. Special mention to dive masters Martin and Willy, and boat drivers James and Domenick.

The dive operation is led by a very garrulous, affable old salt, Gary Kulisek. Gary is professional, knowledgeable, experienced and keenly focused on diver-safety. He ensured that we had a top-notch experience. I would recommend any diver to his operation. Gary is also a worthy conversationalist - his repertoire of opinions is as numerous as Kimbe's coral species.

Dining: A multi-course dinner is served buffet-style at 7 pm, while lunch is served on the dive boats, generally off the sandy beach of a small island in Kimbe Bay. The staff were very willing to provide local PNG fare for us.

Getting there and away: no joke, it is a hike. We flew from New York City to Brisbane, via LAX. Then from Brisbane to Port Moresby. From Port Moresby to Hoskins. Then a 45 minute drive from Hoskins to Walindi in the hotel's bus. The drive from Hoskins to the hotel is through the lush West New Britain countryside, with large oil palm plantations on either side of the road.

Believe everything that has been written about the restroom at Hoskins airport. It has got to be the absolute filthiest place on earth. It is dirtier than the Augean Stables. Do everything possible not to use it. I am serious.

So in all, I highly recommend Walindi. The diving is superb, the hotel lovely and the people great. It is worth the effort getting there.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Jason R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Walindi, General Manager at Walindi Plantation Resort, responded to this review, 18 July 2014
Dear Jason R

Thank you so much for your great review! It was such a pleasure meeting you and your father.

We really do have a special marine environment here in Kimbe Bay and always take pleasure when our guest's experience has exceeded their expectations. I wish I was there when you all saw the Sunfish (Mola Mola), the photos are amazing!

All our dive crew are PNG locals (Except for the Dive Manager, Gary) and all trained on-site, they are a very experienced crew and have been working at Walindi Resort for many years and know every dive site intimately. I will pass on your comments to the dive crew.

Yes those toilets at Hoskins Airport are certainly infamous! Good news is we are getting a runway extension for larger planes and a new terminal which will hopefully be completed by early 2015.

We hope to see you both again in the future.

Regards
Cheyne Benjamin
General Manager
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167 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (40)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Sherbrooke, Canada
Level Contributor
16 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 July 2014

I stayed at Walindi for a few nights before boarding the Febrina so I chose it more for convenience than any other specific reason. I was more than pleasantly surprised by what I found. The resort grounds are amazing with more flowers and greenery that I've seen almost anywhere. If the ride from the airport hadn't already done so, the grounds truly confirm you are in a special place. The room was clean and well laid out. All screens (no windows) and no AC (in my room at least) but the fan more than adequately keeps to room cool enough for sleeping. The generator is turned off at night, but there are some battery powered lights and outlets for your mid-night needs. It was by no means an issue. The staff is very nice, but very laid back. This is island time at its best, don't expect to be pampered but they are available with any of your needs when asked.
The food is what you would expect on a remote island where getting supplies is difficult and expensive. They make the most of their limited resources and offer a (relatively) great selection and quality.
I assume most people come for the diving and it does not disappoint. The reefs are pristine and offer what I assume is diving as it was 100 years ago. The bonus was Orcas on the last day, something that I will not soon forget. Diving is on smallish aluminum boats with local staff who are excellent at finding the critters. One boat i smaller than the other one, but its more that adequate for a 2 tank dive outing. Lunch was served on the boat picnic style and occasionally you eat next to a tiny tropical island.
If you are looking for a place to dive that hasn't been spoiled by over-diving (I didn't see another boat all trip) overfishing (locals seems to line fish off the shore) or overdevelopment (if it wasn't for cell towers, it would have been difficult to tell what century you were in) PNG is the place. And Walindi at Kimbe Bay is hard to beat.

Room Tip: Walls in the plantation house are paper thin (and there are no windows) so if you want more privacy...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Travellin-tireman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Walindi, General Manager at Walindi Plantation Resort, responded to this review, 8 July 2014
Dear Travellin-tireman

Thank you for your review!

We are glad you had a great time with us and yes seeing the Orcas is certainly an amazing experience!

We are certainly very fortunate in Kimbe Bay to have such a pristine marine environment and to be able to go out for a dive knowing there is nobody else around is very special indeed.

Thank you for visiting.

Regards
Cheyne Benjamin
General Manager
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Lucerne, Switzerland
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 July 2014

We spent a few nights in April 2014 in Walindi Plantation Resort. Despite the bad weather there were some of our best days during our stay in Papua New Guinea. Location, Staff and Service, as well as the food were perfect. Also, the resort's own dive instructor including team was extremely professional. Definitely a must on any PNG trip.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank miloezger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Walindi, General Manager at Walindi Plantation Resort, responded to this review, 4 July 2014
Dear miloezger

It was such a pleasure meeting you both and thank you for visiting us!

I do hope the rest of your journey through PNG was a successful one and it is good to read that Walindi stood out on your trip.

We hope to see you again.

Regards
Cheyne Benjamin
General Manager
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Cambridge
Level Contributor
70 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 June 2014

Reading through the recent reviews I can only agree with virtually all positive comments about the resort environment, rooms and communal areas as well asd the diving operation.
By way of adduitional endorsement I would really like to bring out the interactions with the people and FeBrina crew who really made the differance and prove it's the little things that make the difference.

Like many people we were combining the liveaboard experience with a shorter stay on the mainland at the resort.

From first arrival on the boat to beyond leaving, the whole crew worked with the sole purpose of making the small number of guests trip the best they could, from helpful support when gearing up, to treats & delicious food, guiding underwater - from critter spotting to help with strobes and underwater photography techniques all carried out in a spirit of helpfulness and great humour really raised this from a good to great trip.

Once on-land this focus was replicated from Joseph and his trips out to service beyond and above expectations when the plane taking us out was delayed from a flat tyre for 10 hours resulting in the resort sending a van to look after us for the duration of the probelm and an additional 2 trips ferrying some back to the resort when the plane couldn't take of until the next day.

It's this type of service that you see causes alot of loyal and repeat guests, and given the number we came across not only does it seem to work, but I think we may have to become one of them.

Room Tip: Rooms to the west facing have the better sea views.
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Mandeville1322
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Walindi, General Manager at Walindi Plantation Resort, responded to this review, 4 July 2014
Dear Mandeville1322

Thank you for your excellent review and kind words. We can understand the stress caused by the technical problem of the aircraft and we as part of our service do everything we possibly can to help and thank you for acknowledging the extra mile our staff go in assisting in these situations.

The crew on MV FeBrina are certainly some of the most experienced in the country and consistent positive comments certainly shows.

Joseph is also a very long term employee and is part of the Walindi family, he certainly excels in his role as the tour guide manager and is a very popular with our guests.

We really do hope to see you again, hopefully with a smoother flight experience!

Regards
Cheyne Benjamin
General Manager
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Berlin, Germany
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 May 2014

After visiting great diving spots Palau and Yap, but also Guam (not recommendable for diving)
we spend the week from 29.03. - 08.04.2014 in the Walindi Plantation Resort, we called it the
Wet Paradise. We alived rain showers every day in a moisture climate anyhow.
But this were compensated with great dives (24) in the Bay of Kimbe.
Amazing corals, fishes, turtles and others in crystal clear waters and not to forget the boisterous dolphines we met every day on the ride back home to the dive center.
The services on board and around the dives are remarkable good. Friendly and very
helpful dive guides makes the dives highly enjoyable.
And if you have any questions Capt. Gary Kulisek the Dive Ops Manager will explain you the world.
The good room service, free laundry and the excellent fish dinners must be mentioned.
We had a great time in the Walindi Plantation Resort.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank i_ruettinger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Walindi, General Manager at Walindi Plantation Resort, responded to this review, 4 July 2014
Dear i_ruettinger

We thank you for your review and it is great to see you enjoyed the diving and service provided. No matter how many times we see dolphins it is always a highlight to see these beautiful animals!

We hope to see you both again soon.

Regards

Cheyne Benjamin
General Manager
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Finland
Level Contributor
24 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 May 2014

Before boarding to liveaboard Febrina (highly recommended) I stayed couple nights in bungalow and dived with the resort crew. The room had all the necessary features, and also some extra like fridge. I was only missing a mosquito net for bed. Resort is clean and staff are very helpful. Even if we had some winds, the Kimbe Bay was calm and there were plenty of dive sites to select from.
Outside the resort it's worth a remark the road condition from Hoskins airport is very poor, and the airport terminal is very basic.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank VDiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Walindi, General Manager at Walindi Plantation Resort, responded to this review, 4 May 2014
Thank you VDiver for your review!

It is always a pleasure to hear that our staff were very helpful and you enjoyed your time with us.


We do not have mosquito nets in the rooms as the windows have insect-mesh on them. However, if guests request a mosquito net, housekeeping will set one up for you.

Now that the weather has improved the provincial government will begin works on the roads. Also, the good news is that Hoskins airport is currently undergoing some upgrades including an extended runway and a new terminal! While it is still going to be a small terminal it will be a vast improvement on the current one.

Cheyne Benjamin
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
16 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 April 2014

This was my second time visiting Walindi resort, and I had an even more incredible time than last time! Any faults that Walindi has (and I am very hard pressed to think of any) were made up by the kind and wonderful people that worked there, the spacious and clean rooms and of course the optimal dive sites.

Gary, Stef, Fred, James, Lucas, Victor, Arthur and all the guys at the dive centre were absolutely amazing, helpful, entertaining (and in Gary's case I'll really stress entertaining), and knew so many incredible things about the beautiful reefs, and really contributed to making our stay a really memorable one.

Gary Kulisek seems to have done so many incredible exciting or just amusing things in his life, that you wish you had an underwater communications system so he could talk while you are diving as well!! He is so experienced and a really sweet (don't tell him that) and hilarious guy.
My dad and I were doing our Advanced Course with NAUI, and he made things interesting and fun, peppering everything with anecdotes that really seem to relate to what you are doing.

While not diving, if you hang out in the hotel seating area for long enough you get served some delicious plantain (I think it's plantain) chips. Be careful, as they could spoil your appetite for dinner! As with last time, I think the only small problem was the vegetarian choice in food which tended to be somewhat limited.

Also, a big thank you to Max, Cecilie, Ema, Cheyne, Diane, Freddie, Ettie and everyone who helps make Walindi Resort the paradise it is.

Note: I recommend the night dives, as they are breathtaking.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Anna-Sophia Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Walindi, General Manager at Walindi Plantation Resort, responded to this review, 28 April 2014
Dear Anna-Sophia,

Thank you so much for the great review, I will let all the staff members know! It was a real pleasure to see you and your family again and congratulations on obtaining your Advanced Certification.

Your comment about the limited choice of vegetarian options has been noted and we hope to make it up to you on your possible return visit later in the year.

The chips are indeed plantain chips and we sometimes serve sweet-potato chips which are always delicious.

We look forward to seeing you all again.

Cheyne Benjamin
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
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Additional Information about Walindi Plantation Resort

Property: Walindi Plantation Resort
Address: Talasea Highway, Kimbe, New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea
Phone Number:
Region: Papua New Guinea > Islands Region > New Britain Island > Kimbe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Kimbe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:3 star — Walindi Plantation Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Walindi Plantation Resort, established in 1983, is an intimate dive resort situated on the shores of Kimbe Bay on the island of New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Celebrating over 30 years of operation, the resort is world famous for its quality of diving, international award-winning photography and warm hospitality. The resort's guest book reads like a Who's Who in the world of Sport Diving and Underwater Photography and the resort has been voted to have the "best diving from a resort anywhere in the world" by reader surveys. Walindi Resort offers 12 traditional style, self-contained bungalows spread along the beachfront and surrounded by rainforest gardens along with 8 Plantation House rooms. Bungalow facilities include en-suite bathrooms, ceiling fans, large windows to catch the tropical breezes, kitchenette with tea and coffee making facilities, and private verandas overlooking the beach and gardens. The central resort area is the social hub of Walindi and includes the tropical and airy reception and dining room, lounge and bar area, swimming pool, sundeck, boutique and a comprehensive library with computers for guest internet connection. Wireless internet is available in the main resort area. Catering to a small number of guests at the resort means you receive undivided attention, yet the freedom to feel every dive has been made for you alone. Good company, great food, friendly staff and a relaxed atmosphere provide a perfect backdrop while you enjoy the delights of Kimbe Bay diving. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Walindi Plantation Hotel Kimbe
Walindi Plantation Resort Kimbe, Papua New Guinea - New Britain Island

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