THE ENCHANTED ‘GARU HOT RIVER’ IN NEW BRITAIN

The Garu Hot River in New Britain is one of the most enchanting places I’ve ever visited. Hidden in the jungle, this Papua New Guinea gem is truly magical. A crystal clear river steams at temperatures close to 40-degrees warmed by the thermal fields of the volcano. It’s a perfect place to soak in the natural spa while taking in the lush jungle surroundings.

 

WHERE IS THE GARU HOT RIVER

Garu Hot River is found  is an area to the west of Kimbe Town in West New Britain, Papua New Guinea. It’s just a 40-minute drive from Walindi Plantation Resort.

 

HOW TO GET TO GARU HOT RIVER

Kimbe is quite a remote region. Most overseas visitors to the region come to stay at Walindi Plantation Resort. The popular scuba-diving resort is the only well-known accommodation in the region and is where I stayed on my visit. It is one of the best places I have stayed on my travels. We had a private bungalow, fantastic meals each night and the diving is right on the doorstep. You just dive, eat, explore, eat, sleep, repeat and everything else is taken care of to a very high, western resort-style standard. 

Walindi Plantation Resort offers a number of land-excursions to compliment their diving options. The land excursions include the Talasea WWII plane wrecks, the Garbuna Volcano trek, bird watching, and the Garu Hot River. We went diving on our first and last day at Walindi Plantation Resort but on our second day we ventured out on the Mount Garbuna Volcano Trek and after that, we headed down for a recovery soak at the Garu Hot River.

To get to Kimbe Bay you will need to fly into Hoskins Airport and then get the Walindi Private Shuttle down to the resort. There is no public transport so if you were trying to visit without a stay at Walindi Plantation, you would need to make all of your own plans regarding transport and where to stay. It isn’t a very easy area for DIY due to the remoteness.

 

MY EXPERIENCE AT THE GARU HOT RIVER

After a long day trekking up the Mount Garbuna Volcano, we weren’t too sure about a 40-minute drive along the bumpy roads we had become all too familiar within Papua New Guinea. To be honest, we could have just relaxed back at the resort. But with a sense of adventure and a desire to see as much as we could during our stay in New Britain, we pushed on. I’m so glad we did.

The drive to the Garu Hot River takes you through an extensive palm-oil plantation. Despite the negative notions about palm-oil and deforestation (warranted), the plantation itself is quite beautiful. Rows and rows of palm trees are lined up perfectly. 

 

After 40-mins of moderately (relative to other spots in Papua New Guinea) bumpy roads, the boys parked the car in amongst the trees. Who knew what was on the other side!? 

It’s literally a 10-meter walk, which was great for us as our legs were dust from the 16-km volcano hike earlier. As we made our way along the path and emerged at the river we couldn’t believe the scene. The river steamed, creating a mist above the water. With no-one else at the hot river, we lay in the hot water looking up at the lush jungle surrounds.

 

The water is like a bath, just cool enough to swim in but hot enough you could laze about for hours. I suggest bringing some water or even a beer or two to enjoy as you soak up the warmth from the thermal hot spring. 

 

In a comical moment, our guide came over with a handful of clay and told us to paint ourselves. It’s often used in ceremonies for painting. He then jokingly gave us the machete he had been carrying to clear some vines and we took a couple of crazy photos!

I highly recommend a visit out to the Garu Hot River if you are in New Britain as it is truly one of the most relaxing and enchanting places in Papua New Guinea.

 

WHERE TO STAY IN NEW BRITAIN

Kimbe is quite a remote region. Most overseas visitors to the region come to stay at Walindi Plantation Resort. The popular scuba-diving resort is the only well-known accommodation in the region and is where I stayed on my visit. It is one of the best places I have stayed on my travels. We had a private bungalow, fantastic meals each night and the diving is right on the doorstep. You just dive, eat, explore, eat, sleep, repeat and everything else is taken care of to a very high, western resort-style standard. It’s definitely not a cheap option but you do get what you pay for at Walindi Plantation Resort, so if you have the coin, you will not be disappointed.

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