Welcome to From Kokopo To Rabaul
Starting from Kokopo, you’ll first drive past Blue Lagoon Lookout, from where you can enjoy wonderful views of Blanche Bay with Tavurvur volcano as a fantastic backdrop. About 500m to the west, you’ll come across a rusty Japanese Floating Crane, which was bombed by the Allies.
Along this stretch of road are countless Japanese tunnels, including Karavia Bay Tunnels, which were used as a hospital, and nearby Japanese Barge Tunnels, built to hold the barges out of sight from the Allies. They were hauled to the water along rails by Indian slaves (now buried at Bita Paka War Cemetery) in order to load shipping cargo. The main tunnel contains five rusty barges, lined up nose to tail; bring a torch and K5 kastom (custom) price. You’ll also find a small Chinese Cemetery beside the Karavia Bay Tunnels.
The huge form of Vulcan rises from the roadside. The last eruption occurred in 1994. It’s possible to climb up it, for a guide, ask at Rabaul Hotel.
The Burma (Vuruga) Rd leaves the Kokopo–Rabaul Rd and climbs to Malmaluan Lookout, at the Telikom tower. The views are OK, and there’s an anti-aircraft gun and howitzer.
As the Burma Rd begins to dip towards the coast, it passes through the Rakunai site of Peter ToRot’s cemetery and memorial church. Peter ToRot was a village priest who was killed by the Japanese in July 1945. His remains were beatified by John Paul II in 1995. It’s moving to see a multitude of families in pressed shirts, print dresses and bare feet walk many kilometres to Sunday church.