Tufi is a small town located in a remote, pristine region of Papua New Guinea at the tip of Cape Nelson in Oro Province. Tufi has been described as the “Scandinavia of the tropics”. The breath-taking “fjords”, locally known as rhias, were not carved out by icy glaciers but created by the ancient eruption of 3 volcanoes. They plunge to over 90 metres and rise over 150 metres vertically above the water. The scenery is simply spectacular!
There are numerous coastal villages open to visitors, providing peaceful backdrops to relax in between dives. Or for those after a bit more adventure, sea kayaking is a beautiful way to glide along the coast silently and admire the stunning landscape around you. The area is known for its production of tapa cloth, made from the bark of the paper mulberry tree and skilfully decorated.
Tufi has a tropical rainforest climate. The average daily temperature ranges between 22ºC to 31ºC year-round. Tufi has high precipitation with 7 of the 12 months receiving over 200mm of rain.
Dry Season: June to September
Cool Wet Season: October to November
Warm Wet Season: December to May
Tufi offers incredible marine diversity and a variety of diving experiences including rhias, reef and wreck diving. The shallow water near the wharf has some fantastic critter subjects, allowing for great photoshoots. The calm, clear and protected waters of the fjords offer excellent diving and snorkelling conditions. The tremendous variety of life includes; gobies, nudibranch, mandarin fish, ghost pipefish, pygmy seahorses, shrimps, clams, and many other fascinating critters. Pelagics such as dog fin tuna, turtles and manta rays are also reported sightings. The lack of current movement in the fjords has produced spectacular coral growth. The sloping wall is covered with sponges and shelf coral species grow prolifically. Visibility often exceeds 30 metres.
A 20-50 minute boat ride brings you to a string of reefs with bommies coming up from a depth of 50 to 600m, to a safe diving level of 7m. Visibility exceeds 30m with average year-round. There’s an abundance of marine life including reef fish, barracuda, Spanish mackerel tuna, white tip and blacktip reef sharks and the rare white hammerhead. Mantas, eagle rays and turtles are often seen here too.
26ºC-29ºC, 3mm wetsuit or rashie
Diving is conducted year-round at Tufi. Conditions will vary slightly throughout the year. October and November are the best months to go as the water is calmer, clearer and somewhat cooler during this period bringing out the critters.
May to September has good visibility. However, the wind can be stronger, sometimes limiting access to the offshore reefs.
December to March has calmer seas and warmer water, but visibility can be affected by river run-off.
PT Boats (Tufi Wharf)
Here you can dive in and around the remains of 2 PT boats, sunk during an air raid in 1942. There are still two live torpedoes down there wholly intact. A couple of anti-aircraft machine guns and lots of ammo are scattered around and about. One of the highlights of this dive is a perfectly good old Land Rover. The secret of how it got to be 'parked' there so neatly will be revealed after you have completed this dive! This is a decompression dive with Max depth 45m. Deco stops are compulsory and surface interval of 4 hours is mandatory before the second dive.
Wall diving at its best! From 7m, vertical walls plummet down to beyond 40m where it slopes down way beyond your vision. The walls are covered in colourful lichens, hard and soft corals. Nudibranchs of all sizes and varieties dot these walls. There is something here for every diver and underwater photographer.
Undoubtedly one of Tufi's best dive sites! The dive team swims towards the far point where the reef drops off to beyond 200m. Generally, the current is strong, bringing plankton and abundant food for thousands of fishes. The place literally 'explodes'. Hammerheads, reef sharks, rays and schools of pelagics frantically are in search of food. You can 'hang on' a protruding rock or a submerged mooring rope and watch the show. Mulloway is named after one of the first guests who lived in Mulloway near Coffs Harbour in Australia. There is excellent visibility caused by the ocean's current upwelling. A spectacular giant clam lives at the safety stop.
Minor's reef is one of Tufi's most spectacular dive sites. The perpendicular walls are covered with large minor nudibranchs. Their yellow 'rose' shaped eggs are superb subjects for photography. Often, tiny transparent shrimp hide amongst the egg formation. These shrimp are difficult to spot at first but great for macro shots. The giant manta is often seen cruising around this reef continuously soaking up the plankton. At times a large school of big 'hump headed' parrotfish are seen cruising past.
Close to Mulloway, this extensive reef is ideal for drift-diving the slope with the current, after diving the wall into the current. There are plenty of pelagics to be seen here. The white hammerhead can be seen here as well.
B17 Bomber 'Blackjack'
The B17 Bomber "Blackjack" wreckage site is one of the world's greatest aircraft wreck dives. The historic B17 lies in near-perfect condition in 46 metres of water. Nearby is the village of Boga Boga, where tour participants are afforded the opportunity to marvel at its beautiful golden beaches and meet the village elders, who still tell stories of how they rescued the crew from the sinking plane. Blackjack can be dived from Tufi between the months of November to April only. A minimum of 6 divers is required, and extra charges apply.
Nature enthusiasts will love Tufi with its wide range of diverse habitats each with unique flora and fauna, most noticeably an abundant variety of orchids and butterflies including the Queen Alexandra Birdwing, the largest butterfly in the world. Tufi is also a bird watcher's paradise. Over 120 bird species are located within a few hours walk of the area including the Birds of Paradise, flocks of Horn Bills, Eclectic Parrots, rare Black Palm Cockatoos and numerous species of Lorikeets which flourish in the treetops and fjord cliff tops.
Trek for 3 to 5 days to the twin peaks of Mt. Trafalgar and Mt. Britannia in virgin rainforest.
Apart from the impressive diving and snorkelling, the pristine waters surrounding Tufi are also ideal for game fishing, bottom fishing and estuarine fishing. Dogtooth tuna, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, trevally, Spanish mackerel, giant barracuda are all in abundance in this scattered network of reefs of over 250 square miles. Enjoy bottom fishing for red emperor and nannygai or fish in the estuaries for the mighty black bass and mangrove jack.
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