West New Britain Province (WNBP) covers 21,000 square kilometers of volcanic country, much of it consisting of rich volcanic soils, in the western section of the island of New Britain, and 125 small adjacent islands. The population rose from 88,900 in 1980 to 127,500 in 1990. Twenty-seven languages are spoken. The Constitution, adopted in 1979, provides for an Assembly of 21 elected, and three appointed, members. There are four districts and the headquarters is at Kimbe. WNBP is the leading producer of timber and palm oil and one of the leading producers of cocoa and copra. Fish is also exported.
There is evidence of human occupation and trading 12,000 BP. German colonial officers entered the area in the late 19th century but little white settlement followed. Catholic missions were established in the 1900s. Copra was the main product prior to World War II. The Japanese occupied New Britain in 1942 and were not driven out completely until 1945.
Things to see
Kimbe: This provincial centre services the large palm oil industry and has a hospital, banks, post office, shops and a daily market. It lies about 30km from the main airport at Hoskins.
Talasea: Located on the Willaumez Peninsula this little town looks out across a bay to many islands. The whole peninsula is volcanically active and within the town area there are bubbling mud pools.
Pangula Island: Opposite Talasea, the island is home to the Valley of Wabua (Valley of Hot Water), with its thermal geysers and fumaroles.
War wrecks: Wrecks of two US bombers, one of them a B-24 Liberator, lie in the hills behind Talasea.
Volcanic areas: There are several extinct volcanoes around Hoskins and an active geyser field at Koimumu, a short way inland. At Mt. Pago, an active volcano about an hour east of Hoskins, the Paokili Wildlife Management Area has steaming mud pools and geysers.
Things to do
Diving and snorkelling: Kimbe Bay is famous for its huge corals, big fish and caves. Walindi Plantation Resort offers land-based diving and live-aboard on board MV FeBrina. Ph: +675 983 5441, www.walindifebrina.com
Fishing: Big fish found off Kimbe Bay are blue and black marlin, sail fish and dog-tooth tuna, while the waterways around Kandrian and Talasea are known for spot-tail bass. The Arrjim Island Bass Fishing Camp on the remote south coast of West New Britain is internationally renowned for its black and spot-tail bass.
Trekking: There is good trekking around Cape Gloucester where Mt. Langila is still rumbling gently. You can walk along the beautiful Kandrian coast to Eseli, staying in guesthouses. From Talasea, walk out to Cape Hollman on the Willaumez Peninsula. Lake Dakataua, at the end of the peninsula, is a picturesque spot to explore. Contact Ecotourism Melanesia, Ph: +675 323 4518, www.em.com.pg
FYI: PNG’s 4 Regions & 22 Provinces
|Highlands||Eastern Highlands Province||Goroka|
|Western Highlands Province||Mt. Hagen|
|Southern Highlands Province||Mendi|
|Southern||National Capital District||Port Moresby|
|Central Province||Port Moresby|
|Oro (Northern) Province||Popondetta|
|Milne Bay Province||Alotau|
|East Sepik Province||Wewak|
|Sandaun (West Sepik) Province||Vanimo|
|New Guinea Islands||Manus Province||Lorengau|
|New Ireland Province||Kavieng|
|East New Britain Province||Kokopo|
|West New Britain Province||Kimbe|
|Autonomous Region of Bougainville||Buka|