I was lucky enough to visit both Nusa Island Retreat (NIR) and Rubio in March this year. What an amazing trip! Both camps are amazing in their own way whilst also being very different.
Nusa Island Retreat run a very well-oiled machine! They have been doing what they do for a very long time and they do it very well. After spending our first day there it was no surprise to me why NIR have surfers who go back year after year. All of the bungalows are spacious with a large deck area with hammocks for relaxing after a big day of surfing! There are approx. 6 breaks all within about 15 minutes of the resort, the majority of them only 5 minutes away. The PNG Surf Management Plan in PNG is a great initiative and means there are NEVER crowds. The snorkelling right near NIR is also incredible with a sunken fishing boat as well as a Japanese fighter plane.
There is certainly an array of people that stay at Nusa Island apart from the surfers. Nusa Island is the nicest accommodation in Kavieng so there is often people staying there that are working in town so you will never be short of interesting people to talk to. The Nusa Island bar/restaurant is the central meeting place for everyone at the end of the day (or the middle of the day if you choose) to relax with a cold beer with your feet in the sand. The food at NIR was incredible. A buffet of fresh seafood, salad, soup, meat, veg - I would go back JUST for the food and cold beers!!!
After a few days at NIR we headed down the Boluminski Highway to Rubio Plantation Retreat. The drive is approx. two and a half hours. It is a really picturesque drive along the coast with the locals standing on the side of the road waving to you as you go by. There is surf all along the coastline that Shane (owner of Rubio) would stop and point out to us. The most consistent breaks are approx. 20 minutes either side of his place as well as a break right out the front of the bungalows that you are sleeping in!
The local people near Shane's place are so friendly. One of the days we were there we went to a break called Bulu. All of the locals from the village come down to the beach to watch the foreigners surf. They all know and love Shane. He puts a lot into the local villages and you can see their faces light up when he drives down the road. He lets them all get a ride on the back of his truck to the top of the hill and they walk back down again as entertainment for their day! We took some old children's clothes over with us and the local people on the beach were so grateful. I wish we had taken them more things! I spoke to one woman who was sitting on the beach. She was 32 years old with 4 kids, her English was pretty good considering she only went to school up to the equivalent of our grade 4. She took me up the beach a bit to show me the fresh water stream where people from her village were getting their drinking water and cleaning their clothes. They all have very few possessions but are incredibly happy with their simple life. We could all learn a lot from the way they live!
Rubio is a lot smaller than Nusa Island (maximum of 10 people) so you feel like you are part of Shane's family. One of his children took me on an adventure to a local waterfall and his wife prepared the epic meals that get served up to you 3 times a day!
In summary, this combo trip is the only way to go to experience both camps and surf breaks all around Kavieng!