Being the capital of New Ireland, Kavieng is the only town of any size in the province, but we’re hardly talking Shanghai – the tallest construction is the telecommunication tower, and the busiest shops operate very much on Melanesian time. If you proceed from Kokopo, you’ll find it remarkably low-key and quiet, with few cars in the streets. The seaside ambience, with its fisheries and tranquil wharf, and the bustling market in the shade of huge trees, create a dash of real life.
Kavieng itself won’t fulfil all your fantasies of a tropical paradise, but it’s optimally situated as a springboard to neighbouring islands, including Nusa Lik Island and Lavongai (New Hanover), and for explorations down the coast. There’s good snorkelling and kayaking offshore and there’s plenty of great diving in the area – not to mention excellent surf breaks.