THE BEST OF RABAUL
Sightseen, Culture & local gems , Less than 1 hour walking
In a nutshell A journey back in time to learn more about the history of Rabaul made up of battles and air combats, when the Pacific was the stage of bloody conflicts between the Japanese and Allied forces during the Second World War. Among submarines, memorials, bunkers and war museums, this excursion retraces the main events that marked an era and the lives of many populations.
Good to know
- Rabaul caldera and visit of the Volcanological Observatory
- Magnificent view of the Tavurvur active museum
- Japanese underwater base in Tavui Point
- Montevideo Maru memorial
- Bunker of Admiral Yamamoto
- Rabaul historic museum: war and colonial events
- Remains of Japanese combat aircrafts shot down during the war
- We set off on a coach headed to the Rabaul caldera, a wide depression formed by the sinking of a volcano after two catastrophic eruptions occurred in 1500 BC and 600 AD. It is now partly covered by the waters of Blanche Bay, but there are still two active volcanoes in the dry part - Tavurvur and Vulcan.
- We visit the Volcanological Observatory at the top of the hill overlooking Rabaul port and offering spectacular views over the bay, volcanoes and ocean. The Observatory was built in 1937 after the first eruption of the Vulcan which killed 500 people and monitors the volcanic and seismic activities of 14 active and 23 dormant volcanoes all over Papua New Guinea.
- From the Observatory, we enjoy magnificent views also on the Tavurvur volcano, which keeps erupting. The most recent yet weaker occurred on 29th August 2014 while a stronger one occurred on 19th September 1994.
- After visiting the Observatory, we start a tour of Rabaul’s historic places that were the stage of numerous battles during the Second World War. We start with the Japanese underwater base near Tavui Point, built at a depth of 300 metres and a strategic point for the Japanese who conquered Rabaul in 1942. It made it easier to anchor and stock submarines on the beach side.
- We continue our tour with the Montevideo Maru memorial. Montevideo Maru was a Japanese ship built in Nagasaki in 1926 and used to transport troops and supplies. While it was transporting a large number of Australian war prisoners and civilians from Rabaul to the Philippines, it was sunk after 9 days at sea on 1st July 1942 by an American submarine, causing the death of over 1000 people. This sinking is considered the worst maritime disaster in the history of Australia.
- After the memorial, we move on to another symbolic place in Rabaul’s war history: the bunker of Admiral Yamamoto, captain of the Japanese fleet in the Pacific during the Second World War. The Admiral used to coordinate war operations from the inside of this rather austere bunker.
- We continue our tour with the Rabaul Historical Museum, set up inside the former Australian Colonial Club where we can retrace the events of the city and island’s history and also displaying artefacts from the German and Australian colonial eras, Second World War battles and various volcanic eruptions including those occurred in 1994 and 2014.
- Before returning to the ship, we enjoy one last stop: the site with the remains of Japanese combat aircrafts shot down during the war when the Allied forces dropped thousands of bombs near the airport causing considerable damage to the surrounding villages.
- Afterwards, we return to the port.
Good to know
- During the tour, information are provided in English.
- Do not forget to bring local currency (Papuan kina), Australian or American Dollars with you.
- Part of the excursion takes place on uneven ground.