Volcanoes & Coconut Oil in Rabaul Papua New Guinea

Vocanoes & coconut oil in Rabaul Papua New Guinea - Lucy Williams Global

Rabaul in Papua New Guinea was our next port of call on the world cruise. What is there to see in Rabaul in Papua New Guinea?

My tour of Rabaul was very interesting seeing volcanoes and visiting a volcanological observatory. Visiting a coconut oil factory seeing a World War II bunker and learning about the local culture.

What was Rabaul like to visit?

If you like it hot this is the place for you! It never cools down and every month it is over 30 *C.

I thought I was going to melt, but I had a great day visiting the area.

The people were so friendly and the children were consistently saying hello, hello, hello!

It was very nice and refreshing, as we all know that does not happen everywhere in the world.

Only eight cruise ships a year go to Rabaul and tourism has not really recovered from 1994, when the last volcano eruption happened. It was once a popular scuba diving spot.

What to see in Rabaul in Papua New Guinea

Rabaul and Volcanoes

Rabaul is made up of many volcanoes that overlie or overlap each other and Rabaul is referred to by volcanologists as a volcanic complex, which means its structure is complicated.

In 1937, Rabaul was destroyed by two volcano eruptions. Tavurvur and Vulcan erupted and killed 507 people.

In 1994 the same volcanoes erupted and devastated the town again, destroying the airport and covering most of the town with heavy ash fall.

Only 5 people were killed as the town had been ready to evacuate since 1983 as this was when the volcanoes started to heat up.

The 1994 eruption can still be seen all around Rabaul, as there is ash all over the place.

What to see in Rabaul

The Bubbling Beach

We were taken to the bubbling beach where you could see the volcano Tavurvur and there was volcanic ash everywhere not sand.

This was also where the airport was before the last eruption. It has now been rebuilt 50km further away.

The bubbling beach is a natural hot spring heated by an underwater volcanic vent.

Our tour guide told me the local people boil eggs in the hot spring for 2 minutes!

The bubbling beach was a small area of boiling hot water bubbling away with steam coming off.

Rabaul Volcano Observatory

We visited the Volcanological Observatory which closely monitors 14 active volcanoes and 23 dormant volcanoes.

It was full of computers monitoring the volcanoes and other measuring devices.

The view outside of the observatory was beautiful as we were high on the mountain overlooking Simpson Harbour.

We could see the ship docked and the volcanoes in the distance smoking away.

Rabaul and World War II

During World War II the Japanese took control of Rabaul and it became the main base of the Japanese military and navy activity in the South Pacific.

While we were there we saw a bunker, the ‘Ratshole’ which was a tunnel built by the Japanese, a gunner and the wreck of a Japanese aeroplane that had crashed during the war.

Rabaul and Coconut Oil

We visited a coconut oil factory this was quite a new business in Rabaul.

They only produce for Papua New Guinea currently, but they are about to start exporting internationally soon.

It was interesting to see how they get the oil from the coconut.

There are a lot of coconuts in Rabaul, so a good business to start.

Life in Rabaul

The people were very friendly, they didn’t have much but they were very happy.

Most of the people had blond hair and black skin and a lot of them had red mouths because they chew red beetles! Our guide told us it is an aphrodisiac!

They have shell money that is called cowrie shells that they put on a string.

This shell money is used to buy within their community. They also have a real currency too, to buy things outside of the community.

What to see in Rabaul Round-Up

I found Rabaul very interesting. It is amazing how people survive with very little, but they are probably the happiest people I have seen.

We get so caught up with having the latest phone, buying the latest fashions, and eating what is in or healthy this year and we are not always happy.

Sometimes if you do not have much and you do not know what is available you are a lot happier as you just enjoy life for what it is.

What to Wear in Rabaul

It is very hot and humid, so I recommend you wear loose comfortable clothing, flat shoes, a hat and sunglasses.

Wear a high sun factor to protect your skin and cover yourself with insect repellent as it is a Zika virus zone.


  • Weather: Humid, year-round 30*C
  • Language: Hiri Motu, Hiri Motu and English
  • Currency: Papua New Guinean Kina/ US Dollars are accepted

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Volcanoes & Coconut Oil in Rabaul Papua New Guinea - Lucy Williams Global

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Happy Travels

Love Lucy x


  1. Bhavi Patel
    February 17, 2018 / 5:35 pm

    This is an interesting read full of very useful information

  2. February 17, 2018 / 6:22 pm

    I can’t imagine what it’s like worrying about a volcano erupting, but they are propably used to it. Also, they are inventive using the hotspring to boil eggs.

    • March 29, 2019 / 11:46 pm

      I know! I would feel so uneasy, but they seem to be the happiest people.

  3. February 18, 2018 / 1:57 am

    I had never even heard of Rabaul before. Your post provides so much information that it now seems quite enticing. On another note, I’m from a part of India where we produce and use coconut oil for a variety of purposes. Your post took me back home for a few moments.

  4. February 18, 2018 / 8:59 am

    We are also cruising fans but never did a world cruise. Interesting article about Papua new Guinea. I like especially the fact that it is wtill unspoilt.

    • March 30, 2019 / 12:02 am

      A world cruise is a fantastic experience and Rabaul was a great port to explore.

  5. Ella
    February 19, 2018 / 12:32 pm

    I’m dying to visit Papua New Guinea – it just looks so raw and untouched! The temperature sounds perfect for me – I love the heat! The Volcanological Observatory sounds like a very interesting place to visit. I’d love to see how people monitor volcanoes. It certainly sounds essential with so many active volcanos in the country.

    It’s so interesting to hear about the local culture, especially the red mouths from the beetle juice!

    • March 30, 2019 / 12:06 am

      If you like it hot you will love it here! The Volcanological Observatory was extremely interesting and culture was very different to anywhere else I have been.

  6. February 20, 2018 / 1:46 pm

    Papua New Guinea is a dream destination. A cruise sounds like a good idea as it can be expensive to fly in from overseas.

    • March 30, 2019 / 12:09 am

      A cruise is always a great way to find different destinations!

  7. February 20, 2018 / 2:37 pm

    Your photos are so sunny and uplifting! I really want to visit Papa New Guinea, you definitely have the right idea with cruises! Very jealous but some great tips there!

    • March 30, 2019 / 12:11 am

      Thank you very much! So pleased I have brought sunshine to your day!

  8. February 22, 2018 / 7:26 pm

    Great post! Especially the tips on what to wear! Thanks for sharing :)

  9. February 27, 2018 / 2:54 am

    I have a friend with family in PNG, and my friend speaks very highly of it as a place to go on holiday. Your photos and story help me understand why! Hot and humid sounds really good right now, since I’m in the cold… -2C where I am right now. Thanks for a great story!

    • March 30, 2019 / 12:13 am

      Rabaul is a great place to visit and I’m sure you would enjoy it!

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