“Empty lineups, good vibes and simple no fuss accommodation.”
Often overlooked for the safe bet of neighboring Indonesia, Papua New Guinea remains somewhat of a mystery for most travelling surfers. But those in the know are well aware of the wave rich country that sits smack-bang on Australia’s doorstep.
This ‘under the radar’ vibe has become one of the biggest drawcards for those who have ventured into PNG’s waters. It means that relaxed vibes permeate the air, the lineups remain crowd-free and there’s no hassling for waves. On a good day you might have six companions in the water, but usually it would be three-to-four. The Surfing Association of Papua New Guinea or SAPANG has also introduced limits on the amount of surfers able to visit an area at any one time to ensure the good vibes and lack of congestion continues.
Vanimo Surf Lodge – named after the village in which it is found – is located on the north coast of Papua New Guinea, right in the middle of a cluster of fun local waves (many accessible by foot) that offer an impressive variety of surf. This includes everything from fun and easy beachbreaks for beginners; mellow reef passes suitable for longboards and funboards, through to some serious juice at Log Point and Lido’s Left.
Another interesting fact to note is that the waves in this area generally break over sand, rock and limestone bottoms, which means no annoying tropical coral cuts.
However, if you do manage to get into trouble the staff are trained in basic first aid and survival skills (CPR) and the local hospital is a short 5-10 minute drive from the lodge if required. Vanimo is arguably the safest surf destination in PNG.
A stay at Vanimo is all about surfing and the resort reflects this mantra. While comfortable and set in stunning tropical surrounds, accommodation has been kept simple, offering guests traditional beachfront huts. It’s the ideal setup for crew looking to surf their brains out and those who are more worried about scoring uncrowded perfection than they are about marble baths, room service and five-star dining. If this sounds like you, Vanimo Surf Lodge is well worth a visit.
Pricing & Packages
|Dates||Package||Prices from AUD per person||Book|
|Nov, Dec, & Apr||7 Nights||$1,394||Enquire now|
|Jan, Feb, Mar||7 Nights||$1,646||Enquire now|
|Nov, Dec, & Apr||10 Nights||$1,970||Enquire now|
|Jan, Feb, Mar||10 Nights||$2,330||Enquire now|
### Special 1: Pay for 7 people and the 8th person is FREE
### Special 2: Reserve the whole retreat with just 12 people!
- Unlimited surfing
- Share accommodation in beach front huts
- All meals and snacks
- 1.5 litre of bottled water per day
- Airport transfers
- Limited surfers (16)
- SAPNG once of membership
- $12 per day VSAMP charge
Surrounded by stunning tropical wilderness and fronted by white sand beaches, Vanimo Surf Lodge offers guests a range of traditionally built and stylishly finished beachfront huts. This traditional styling was selected to help blend the resort into this stunning natural environment, while offering guests a true sense of leaving everything behind.
The lodge can comfortably accommodate up to 16 guests. Each Hut sleeps 3-4 people and every bed is fitted with mosquito nets. Lighting and ceiling fans run overnight. This is so the diesel generator doesn’t have to be run throughout the night, reducing the lodge’s noise impact on the local area.
Each hut is fitted with Australian standard power points to enable charging of devices etc. which is only available during the day and night.
Power typically shuts off at 9pm. After this Vanimo advises its guests to relax and simply enjoy the solitude while taking in the sounds of the tropical jungle and waves crashing on the beach.
Huts also have ample room for board and gear storage.
Vanimo Surf Lodge employs a local workforce, headed up by an ex-pat manager, who trains the staff in everything from carpentry to food service and management.
There are no surf shops, but there are local doctors, hospital, banks, supermarket, airport and pharmacy a short 5-10 minute drive away.
Unlike neighboring Indonesia, whose surfing coastlines face south and rely on swell from the southern Indian Ocean, the surfing coastline of Papua New Guinea faces north and ignites under the influence of swells rolling down from storms in the North Pacific and the more immediate Philippine Sea.
The official surf season for Papua New Guinea runs from November to April and Vanimo Surf Lodge is only open to guests during this window. However, as a side note it’s not uncommon to score the occasional wave during the fringe season of May to October.
The waves on offer at Vanimo offer a great variety in both set-up and the skill level they cater to. Here, there is plenty of softer stuff for the beginner and intermediate surfer to get stuck into. While advanced surfers are guaranteed to have fun, with everything from rippable waves suited to fishes and longboards, through to proper walled up hollow lefts and rights that can handle upwards of six feet.
The unique geography of the Vanimo area also means a lot of waves all fire under the same swell influence, but face different directions. This means if one session gets shut down to a shift in wind there’s likely somewhere just around the corner groomed by an offshore.
Located immediately outfront of the lodge within easy view of the Restaurant’s deck area is Lido Right. The lineup is accessed via a short, calm-water paddle from the beach, and once out there you’ll find a right which peels endlessly over a mostly sand covered rock bottom. It often draws comparisons to Australia’s famous Angourie Point.
A short and scenic 300 metre walk through Vanimo village to the other side of the peninsula is where you’ll find Lido Left – where tasty, long racing walls suitable for high performance shredding await.
Waromo is located a three kilometre drive or boat ride to the west, and has to be one of the most visually spectacular places you’re ever likely to surf. A long, super-fun righthander wraps its way down a tiny and beautiful tropical Island. It’s a must-do for the scenery alone.
Other notable waves close by include Yako, Log Point, Town Beach and Narimo Island right and left.
Road trips to the breaks outside of Lido Left and Lido Right can be arranged for a minimum of four surfers and require a small fee (approx. K100) and 24 hours notice.
There’s nothing better than watching the sunset into the ocean while enjoying a good feed and a refreshing cold South Pacific Lager. And at the end of a long day’s surfing at Vanimo Surf Lodge that’s exactly what you’ll get.
Simple and delicious meals are prepared using super fresh, locally sourced seafood, meat, chicken and vegetables, and are cooked in the traditional local way (which is very tastily).
Also if you’re a fan of fresh fruit, you’re in for a treat. The lodge grows its own red paw paws, and there is also a wide selection of other locally grown fruits including bananas, star fruit, pineapple and even local vanilla beans available to guests.
Vanimo Surf Lodge is small and almost intertwined with the local community. There is plenty for guests to get involved within the village.
Every day, locals gather in the Vanimo town centre to sell crafts made from all natural materials and they highly suggest checking it out. They also recommend picking up a traditional PNG string carry bag called a “bilum”. They are exceptionally strong, and with their loose stitching, make an ideal beach bag as all the sand simply falls out while your possessions remain safe.
Vanimo Surf Lodge can also facilitate tours to some of the other natural attractions in the area. A favourite of guests is always the tour to local waterfall, where you’ll walk along a cool mountain stream to a series of waterfalls where the water is pristine, refreshing and cool.
Occasionally the lodge can also arrange snorkelling and game fishing tours. The sea life in this part of the world is vibrant and flourishing and is a highlight if you get the chance to check it out.
There is the opportunity to seek adventure a little further afield but this often means crossing the Indonesian border. To do so guests will need to arrange an Indonesian visa before you leave home, or at the Indonesian consulate in Vanimo town.
A great thing about PNG as a surf destination is the local’s awareness of the need to keep the local area in pristine condition. This is where the Vanimo Surf Area Management Plan (VSAMP) comes in. Each surfer visiting the area pays a small fee for the privilege (AUD$12). This is then funneled back into local community projects including sustainable development, education and water quality programs. The local surfers are also encouraged to ensure all the visitors have an enjoyable experience. It’s a win-win model for both the locals and visitors.
Vanimo is located approximately 1500kms north of Cairns, Australia. Guests will fly into Port Moresby, before boarding a second flight to Vanimo. Be advised that an overnight stay in Port Moresby may be required.
If entering via Indonesia, entry visas are required.
For more information please contact Soul Surf Travel.