A Little Slice of Paradise.
Article | A LITTLE SLICE OF PARADISE IN BOUGAINVILLE. A short banana boat ride from Keita, near Arawa, Pokpok Island in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville is a place of few distractions, where you can’t help but relax. No shops, no wifi, limited power and intermittent phone service from atop a steep hill makes this island, the perfect location for a little revival and adventure.
The name Pokpok comes from the Tok Pisin word for crocodile ‘Pukpuk’, but don’t worry, it’s because the island looks like the outline of a crocodile, rather than being home to them.
Uruna Bay Retreat promises white beaches, turquoise sea, and top notch snorkelling just feet from shore with shoaling fish of all shapes and sizes, groups of black sea urchins and alien like giant clams. Just 30 minutes away in the banana boat, the outer reef offers a truly unique experience; an abundance of fish, intricate coral and tiny sand islands, which you have to see to believe.
Any food you need during your stay you’ll have to bring with you, so why not lighten the load and attempt to catch dinner? Try your luck at catching a yellowfin tuna, trevally or Spanish mackerel on a handline and cook it up back at the house. Maybe fresh crayfish are more to your liking? Ask when you book about pre-arranging for one of the local fisherman to bring you fresh caught crays for dinner.
One of the highlights of Pokpok Island are the many other islands dotted around it, which can be explored by boat. The tiny sand islands are particularly photogenic, as is Pidia Village, the location for the film Mr Pip. (Ask about arranging this when you book). If you’d rather get a workout whilst exploring the nearby islands, take one of the sea kayaks from the retreat and paddle to your heart’s content.
Once you’re back on solid ground, trek up into the middle of Pokpok Island through the fern-filled forest. You’ll be rewarded with views of the Solomon Sea and back to the main island of Bougainville. Keep your eyes peeled for eagles soaring above and hornbills frantically flapping in the trees.
As night falls and the smell of freshly cooked seafood lingers in the humid air, tuck into your dinner with the sound of the waves rolling gently in the background. Look up at the stars shining brighter than you’ve ever seen them before against the pitch black sky, before retreating to rest up for another unforgettable experience tomorrow.
As seen in the Air Niugini In-flight Paradise Magazine (March/April 2017): http://airniuginiparadise.com/current-issue/
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Hi, I’m Adam Constanza, freelance travel content creator living, working and supporting tourism in Timor Leste, South East Asia.
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