Bougainville consists of an island archipelago with two large islands and numerous smaller islets and atolls. Situated on the northern edge of the Solomon Islands group and directly east of Papua New Guinea, Bougainville’s Coral Sea location means you’ll enjoy plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures year-round.
The two main islands are where most of the action is. The smaller island, Buka, lying to the north, spans around 500km and is home to the current capital, Buka Town. To the South, the much larger Bougainville Island, covering over 9000km, holds mountainous volcanic regions, coastal flats and thick jungle areas. Other minor islands and atolls dot the surrounding waters with many uninhabited islets making for great marine diving and fishing spots.
Bougainville’s climate is hot and wet, with year-round temperatures ranging between a stable minimum of 22°C and a balmy 32°C average maximum. The islands, like many of the regions of the Pacific surrounding them, receive a significant 4610mm of rain on average annually. The dry season – if you can even call it that – runs from February to June, with an increased chance of hurricanes or cyclones from November to April.
Most of Bougainville is covered by dense jungle forest, boasting a richly diverse tropical ecosystem. With a wide variety of birdlife and dozens of animal and insect species, nature lovers are sure to find Bougainville’s wildlife incredible. Copper mining in the latter half of the 20th century severely damaged much of the island’s flora and fauna, and metal-contaminated mine tailings had an island-wide effect on everything from farming to fishing.
The seas surrounding the islands are teeming with fish species, with sharks, sea turtles, rays, and countless other marine creatures appearing in abundance all around the coastline. Spectacular tropical beaches ring the islands, and the lack of tourist infrastructure means visitors can truly experience the southwestern Pacific in all its glory.