ANMEF, AE-1 & Rabaul Tour (Frangipani festival)

Join historian Greg Raffin author of Australia's Real Baptism Of Fire Heroes Known Only to A Few on this 8 day (7 night), fully guided tour of the Rabaul battlefields as both the events of the First and Second World War are brought to life. You will participate in significant commemorations attending a special commemorative service at the Bita Paka War Cemetery. This tour visits important Australian military sites which include both the Lark Force & AN&MEF battlefields of the First & Second World Wars.

Greg Raffin (left) with Simon Pockley (descendant of Captain Brian Pockley)

Attend the Dawn Service on the anniversary of the battle of Bita Paka (11 September). Experience the beauty of Rabaul and rediscover this almost forgotten yet important part of Australian history.

You will also visit important Second World War sites including the Montevideo Maru Memorial, Japanese submarine pens, landing barge caves, the New Guinea Club, Bita Paka Cemetery and safely experience looking at an active volcano.

Suitable for all ages and fitness levels, the dates are: 10 - 17 Sept 2018.

Kokoda Historical would like to acknowledge our past AN&MEF participant Mr John Reeves for the use of his wonderful images.


Day 1 - 10 September 2018

Depart Australia to Tokua Airport-Rabaul via Port Moresby, you will be travelling with Kokoda Historical owner David Howell. Upon arrival we will transfer to the Gazelle International Hotel, we will come together for a welcome drink. This is an excellent opportunity to get to know our fellow passengers, historian & tour leader. After drinks, we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner in the hotel. (D)  

Day 2 - 11 September 2018

We will rise early as we make our way to the site where members of the ANMEF landed in 1914 to capture German New Guinea and knock out the radio transmitter. After walking the spot where they landed we will be given a presentation by historian Greg Raffin. Greg will explain Australia’s first action in the Great War before we make our way up the Bita Paka Road where the battle unfolded. We will call in and visit the location of where the German Radio station once stood and then head on to a special service at the Bita Paka War Cemetery. Late afternoon you will be able to relax by the hotel pool before making our way to dinner. (B, L, D)


Day 3 - 12 September 2018

Rising early, we will enjoy a cooked breakfast before setting off to Rabaul. Along the way we will visit the Japanese Barge Tunnels. In Rabaul we will head to Tavurvur Volcano and visit the megapode farm and the hot springs (previously the spa baths of the Japanese Imperial Army). On route to the Volcano we will visit the location of the Japanese Imperial Army’s airport and visit the last remains of a crashed Betty Bomber at Matupit Island. We will then go on to view the Lark Force-2/22nd & Montevideo Maru Memorial before visiting Yamamoto’s Bunker. We will then make our way up to Namanula Hill for our picnic lunch where the remains of the old German Governor Haber’s residence sit.  Over lunch we will take in the vista of Simpson Harbour. After lunch we will visit the Japanese Peace Memorial, and view the remnants of a Japanese Betty Bomber. We then make our way back to Kokopo and to the hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 4 - 13 September 2018

After breakfast we will take a different route towards Rabaul. Stopping off at the Mt Toma lookout, David will bring to life the struggle of Lark Force as they desperately tried to escape and evade the Japanese. From here we will make our way to the Japanese submarine base and gun emplacements continuing the story of Rabaul during the Second World War. The intact gun emplacements include tunnels and fortifications which are some of the most well preserved in the Pacific. We will then make our way to the Volcano Observatory and look out over the majestic Simpson Harbour. We will have lunch here before returning through Tunnel Hill, viewing the Kenpeitai cells. We will then head back to Kokopo stopping off at the famous Rabaul open-air market. Here you will find all kinds of lovely tropical fruits and vegetables, and an equally vibrant kaleidoscope of native tropical attire worn by the locals along with gifts to take back home. Dinner will be served in the hotel and the bar will be open. (B, L, D)

Day 5 - 14 September 2018

Today marks the anniversary of the loss of the AE-1. We will board our leisure craft and head out towards the Duke of York Islands. Today will be a full day of sailing and we will have lunch on board and a special service to commemorate the loss of Australia’s first Submarine. Your historian will give a presentation on the AE-1 and our local guide will point out some of the points of interest along the way. In the afternoon we will return to the hotel for free time and dinner will be served in the main dining room. (B, L, D)

Day 6 - 15 September 2018

Today will be a leisurely day as we visit the steps of Queen Emma’s former residence and visit the Kokopo War Museum. We will then have lunch at the hotel and there will be an option of exploring the local area or taking a small bus ride to visit the Elementary School and hand out books, pens, footballs etc. We will also visit the barn-like St Francis Xavier's Co-Cathedral. We will then return to the hotel for dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 7 - 16 September 2018

After breakfast you will then accompany your Australian guide and local guide to the Frangipani Festival. The festival celebrates the rebirth of Rabaul after the eruptions of 1994. Rabaul comes alive with bands, traditional sing sings and fireworks.  We will see the amazing float parade, Baining Fire Dance, the Tolai Whip Dance and watch the canoe race around the famous Beehives (Dawapia) that rise above Simpson Harbour. We then return to our hotel for our farewell dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 8 - 17 September 2018

Sadly, our Rabaul Tour ends this morning after breakfast. Early flight returning to Australia.  (B)


Tour Map

  • Experienced Australian Historian 
  • Local Guides and Support Staff
  • Airport transfers to and from hotel
  • Seven night’s twin-share hotel accommodation at the Gazelle International Hotel (single supplement available).
  • All daily tour costs.
  • Communications equipment including Satellite phone & radio
  • Pre-trip advice
  • Kokoda Historical T-shirt
  • Certificate of Participation
  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Entry Visa to Papua New Guinea free on arrival
  • A signed copy of Greg Raffin's book-Australia's Real Baptism Of Fire Heroes Known Only to A Few
  • International phone calls 
  • Airfare to PNG
  • Extra purchase of drinks
  • Personal travel insurance-you can purchase your policy direct by clicking the link below:
Travel Insurance

Optional extras

Price: $4,397 for 8 day (7 night) tour.

This package includes all transport, meals & accommodation and flights from any Australian Capital City to PNG. Discounts are available to previous clients.

*Transfers from other locations are available on request

Single rooms are available on request and incur an additional $660 single supplement fee (subject to availability)

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