Rabaul is the main port town in PNG's East New Britain province, located on New Britain Island's northern coast. It was the province's capital city until 1994 when was destroyed by falling ash from Rabaul Volcano. After the eruption, rain of ash caused the collapse of over 80% of all city buildings. The capital was then moved to Kokopo (approx 20 km/ 12 mi) to southeast. Rabaul's population is around 4,000. The town was first destroyed by the volcano in 1937.
New Britain Island (aka Niu Briten) is the largest in Bismarck Archipelago. The straits Dampier and Vitiaz separate it from New Guinea Island (distance approx 60 km / 40 mi) and St George's Channel separates it from New Ireland Island. With a total area of approx 36500 km2 (14100 mi2) New Britain Island is roughly sized as Taiwan (36200 km2 / 14000 mi2).
As part of German New Guinea (1884-1919), the island was named Neupommern, and Rabaul was named Simpsonhafen.
New Britain's indigenous people are Papuans (on the island for thousands of years) and Austronesian (arrived around 2,000 years ago). Papuan population is confined mainly to island's eastern third and central highlands. In southeast (Jacquinot Bay) they live beside the beach and a beautiful waterfall crashing into the sea.
New Britain Island's population is around 0,5 million, Austronesians being the majority. Major port cities are Rabaul (east) and Kimbe (west).
Rabaul cruise terminal
Cruise ships to New Britain Island PNG dock (anchor) at Rabaul - port town on the northern coast.
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