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Reviewed 30 October 2018

Loved everything about Tawali, the people, the sea, the accommodation, the staff and the activities. Gilbert was a great guide and the visit to the village was a highlight for me. I loved talking with Gilbert and finding out heaps about local life.

Alfred was a great Dive Master although I snorkeled only. Alfred knew exactly where to go and what to find. Both Alfred and Gilbert were patient and understanding with us older and inexperienced snorkelers. The Coral Gardens and Lawadi were just beautiful..we met some other great folks who were very happy with the diving.

I enjoyed talking with Edward, the manager, and all the other staff who went out of their way to make us comfortable. My partner John and I had such a good time that when we came back to OZ we straight away booked another holiday in March 2019. It is expensive, but hey, its a privilege to be a part of life there even for such a short time...and folks have to earn a living!

Room tip: Rooms away from the restaurant
Date of stay: October 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank Kathleen K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 October 2018

We stayed three nights at Tawali in late August 2018. The staff was friendly. The rooms were clean. The food was not very good.

My husband and I did two dives one afternoon. We rented equipment from the resort and they warned that it was second hand and sometimes not in the best of repair. On my first dive, my regulator leaked throughout the dive and when I tried to switch to my secondary air source, it free flowed, wouldn't stop, and blew my mask off. I had to make an emergency ascent, but fortunately, we were not too deep. The dive master changed the regulator for my second dive and then I was able to enjoy the gorgeous corals and sea life.

After three days visiting local sites and celebrating the beautiful waters near the resort, we were gathered in the dining room with all the other guests for dinner. That's when a band of armed robbers entered the room and proceeded to hold us all hostage for over an hour. They took computers, phones and cash from the guests, the buffet dinner and the liquor from the bar. They also repeatedly tried to break into the hotel safe.

Several guests were singled out to leave the dining room with the robbers and two young women were held at gunpoint while the robbers spoke over a radio trying to find the hotel's manager to gain access to the safe. After they fired two shots over the head of one woman, the other asked for the radio and asked the manager to please bring the key so that no one would be hurt. We found out later that this resort had been robbed in a similar manner the year before and were told that the manager had been hiding to try to keep the robbers from getting the key to the safe.

It was a terrifying experience, especially when I was first pulled out to leave the dining room with the robbers. (They shortly sent me and another woman back to join our group saying we were "too old"--never have I been so glad to be described as such!)

Once we heard their boat(s?) pull away, we went in search of the guests who had been taken away and were very grateful to find that none had been harmed. The hotel called the police, but they never came to take any statements. They claimed instead that they were going to pursue the robbers (in the dark? along a dark coastline?)

Given that the resort is located on a remote peninsula, it is easy to understand that it presents an easy target. This doesn't, though, excuse the resort from not sharing news of the earlier robbery with tour organizers so that they could decide if they wanted to take a risk on sending guests there. It's too bad because all that makes the resort vulnerable is also what makes it an appealing place to stay. Still, I feel future guests should be warned that there are very definite risks in choosing Tawali (or any similar resort on the coasts of Papua New Guinea).

Date of stay: August 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
10  Thank Janny S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 September 2018

While concerned that negative comments may impact upon those who don’t deserve it, saying nothing allows the management and ownership to get away with a lack of real care. While Tawali is run by friendly and caring staff, there is a down-at-heal aspect to the place, which aggravates. For Tawali, in common with most accommodation in PNG, is not inexpensive. While the rooms are pleasant enough, they lack what would be best called homeliness. Little in the way of touches to make them other than apartments for the repose of the body. They are kept clean and were certainly pleasant enough, with verandahs overlooking Milne Bay, ceiling fans, A/C, bar fridge and an electric jug. The bathroom was adequate, yet mine could not manage to be provided with hot water for the entire 7 nights I was there. Many were the explanations, all pointing to the fault being elsewhere, the difficulty of supply in PNG, and anything which amounted to excuse. This without rectification of the problem, despite workmen climbing on the roof and in the ceiling space.
The exterior of the buildings are in slow decay. Bargeboards and fascias continue to rot, and spoutings fall askew, spewing rain water with deluge. A railing on the walkway to my room remained fallen down throughout my stay, and the boardwalks which connect all bungalows to the main complex were everywhere patched and rotting. Signs were erected to warn pedestrians about the slippery nature of these walkways, rather than real attempts to overcome this.
Food at Tawali is ordinary, if plentiful. The chef is a cook, and lazy. Seen on his phone much of the time, sitting about the main area. The meals, served in the bain-maries, rarely are hot, and are all versions of the what was presented yesterday.
The diving around Tawali is spectacular, although a little too much muck diving for my liking. Whenever divers with expensive, underwater cameras appeared for the days diving, my heart sank, as it meant the majority of the dive would be searching above areas of volcanic sand, for microscopic life to add to their photographic collection. But when we did get to the coral ravines and the drop offs, it was worth the effort in getting to the area, and Tawali does involve a few connections and transfers.
After arranging to get from POM to Gurney, the road trip from the airport was 90 minutes, albeit through picturesque countryside, and then there was a 20 minute boat ride.
A well maintained pool area was a pleasant diversion, and the activities around the locality likewise. The village walk past thatched houses with coconut palm roofs, banana plantations and taro gardens yielded a sense of timeless romance. No fibro cement in sight was a delight! Village life as it was in the beginning.
Tawali may find apathy its undoing, unless some real care and money is put into bringing it back up to standard, and introducing point of difference. For this is my second trip to PNG, and I will not return to Tawali, given a far better experience elsewhere, and Milne Bay offering alternatives.

Room tip: Have a look at what alternatives are available before selecting your room. Especially check for hot water.
Date of stay: September 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank Gary B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 September 2018

Loved the location, and the rooms spacious and comfortable. House reef and Coral Gardens are both excellent, variety of coral is amazing.
Issues -
1) for 4 evenings they basically only had red wine and beer - they had run out of everything else and kept lying about when it was due in.
2) organised a snorkelling trip to an island, we said we would go any time after 9, they suggested 10 but after going in a small wooden canoe in 20 knots out in the open ocean with no lifejacts (30 min trip) we arrive to find we can not snorkel as it is low tide inside the reef and too shallow and far too rough outside. They really should know about tides and water conditions before we paid money for a trip that was a total waste of time.
3) we had paid for a birding trip - told we could do any day and fine to let them know the day before. BUT then we find we have to go with a some other worker as bird guide not available - he did not even know the name of the BOP let alone any other bird and took us up the steep hill and down at such a rate of knots you could see nothing else anyway. Even the BOP was so far in the distance and behind trees it was not worthwhile (had seen it much better elsewhere on other occassions.) Big waste of money - DO NOT DO

Room tip: If you do not dive, don't bother going as they really dont care about non divers or the trips for them.
Date of stay: September 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Carol H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2018

The rooms are very basic and old fashioned. The exterior is very serene and lovely but don’t get room 21 or 22 ! Bright lights outside and the floor rocks! There were electrical switches in bathrooms that definitely shouldn’t be touched.

The food comes as a one price buffet. Not cheap and choice is very limited ... especially if you don’t eat pork.

There’s no choice in PNG if there was I don’t think Tawali would last. The diving makes it worthwhile . Amazing reefs

Date of stay: August 2018
Trip type: Travelled with friends
3  Thank Sherene J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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