The Boluminski Highway is the main land transportation route on the island of New Ireland in Papua New Guinea. It runs from the provincial capital of Kavieng for 193km down the east coast of the island to Namatanai. From Kavieng it is a sealed road for around 120 km until Bol village, and from there it has a crushed white coral road surface.
The Highway is named after Franz Boluminski who was the German District Officer from 1910 until the First World War. He built a large section of the highway by “encouraging” individual villages along the coast to construct and maintain a section.
The quality of the highway was not rivalled on the mainland until the 1950’s.
The key points and their distances from Kavieng are:
- Matanasoi Village 7 km
- Limestone cave, crystal water
- Lossuk 36 km
- Nonopai 55 km
- Tabu Meli’s Guest House
- Rainbow Tours
- Laraibina 83 km
- Cathy’s Village Homestay
- Laraibina Eels
- Fissoa 95 km
- Swimming hole
- Vocational Training Centre
- Bol village 113 km
- Panafilla Guest House
- Panatalis Dodor Beach Peles
- Libba Village
- Konos Village 142 km
- Karavinai Guest House
- Pinis Passage Beach
- End of Sealed Road approximately 150 km
- Malom 164 km
- Dalom 176 Km
- Bulu 185 km
- Karu 200 km
- Karu Guest House
- Mumu Island Turtle Breeding
- Rubio 206 km
- Guest House (under construction).
- Namatanai 263 km
Mostly reasonably flat there are some hills along the Highway and a few opportunities for the roll down the other side!
The information below is based on information provided by NITB regarding the existing tourism product.
Cycling in New Ireland began in 1991 when Melbourne Grammar School Chaplain, Rev. Roger Williams made contact with Bernard Choulai of the now defunct traditional Tours to do a pilot cycling program in New Ireland. Bernard then made contact with the Tourism Office in Kavieng to organize the program. Once the pilot cycling program was done and proved viable, Rev. Williams then continued thereafter to bring students in to New Ireland from Australia for cycling.
The trips are usually taken during the July and October vacations. Cycling the Boluminski is hard but challenging. The distance between each leg ranges from 45 km to 65 km. A tour of the 262 kilometre Boluminski highway (Kavieng to Namatanai) takes about five days of cycling and either begins in Kavieng or Namatanai. However, it is not necessary to do the whole coast, cyclists may decide to do a round trip from Namatanai to Dalom, or from Kavieng to Bol.
The students/cyclists not only cycle but are able to interact with the local people, sample local food, visit interesting sites enroute, join the village boys on their night time fishing trips and finally get entertained by cultural groups in the village where they overnight.
The tour of the 262 kilometres Boluminski Highway (Kavieng to Namatanai) takes five days of cycling and either begins in Kavieng or Namatanai. There are a number of cycling tours:
- Boluminski Tour: five (5) days and four nights (Kavieng – Namatanai)
- Kavieng – Lossuk: half day
- Kavieng – Nonopai: one day
- Kavieng – Bol: 2 days
- Kavieng – Dalom: 3 days
Visitors are looked after by their hosts who in turn offer them additional tours including traditional dancing, shell money making, fishing, trekking, caving, and eel feeding etc. An additional fee is charged per head for these tours.
There are a number of accommodation types that are offered, usually they stay at village guesthouses along the route. The cost of spending a night in the village or at a guesthouse ranges from K80 – K95 per head with meals.
Climate Suitability for Cycling
The climate is reasonably ideal for the Boluminski Cycle Tour, the days, whilst warm are not too hot and the evenings balmy. The mostly light winds can provide a cooling breeze without being too strong to cycle into. The normal route direction (out from Kavieng) may occasionally strike strong south-easterlies in the period March to November which could be difficult to cycle into, although the mean wind of 7-10 knots will not cause a problem.
Rain can be experienced at any time of the year, whilst not ideal for cycling; the warm weather means it should not be too uncomfortable to continue cycling during rainy weather.
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