The traditional name given to the island is "ialiuai" originating from the word "ialu", a type of tree that grew in abundance on the island at one time. During the 1940's U.S. armed forces used the island as a base and over the years the trees were cut down. The island was customary land owned by descendants of a major West Kove clan that moved eastwards from the west and they planted gardens and coconut trees on the island. A couple of small plants of the "ialu" tree have now been planted again.
Resident dolphins that circle the island have given meaning to the new name "Uluai" (pronounced ooh_loo_eye), in the local language (Kove) which also translates to "coming back".
Now privately owned, the surrounding reef has been surveyed and declared a marine park for conservation purposes. The owner, Donna Wetzel acquired the island through her heritage many years ago. Due to popular demand and encouragement from visitors, she is in the process of developing it further as an exclusive Eco-friendly destination. In order to preserve the environment, the island will only accommodate a limited number of guests (small groups - up to 15 people).
The ocean in this unique part of Papua New Guinea is home to half the coral species on the planet. For this reason, there is a strong emphasis on sustainability and protection of all marine life including turtles, dugongs, manta rays and dolphins that frequent the area.
The island itself is only 3.8 acres with breath-taking views from every aspect of either the neighbouring islands or large mountains in the distance, as well as spectacular sunsets and sunrises . Although smaller than most tropical island destinations, it is ideal for anyone wanting the island to themselves. Private functions and exclusive island hire is available upon request.
The weather is typically warm and humid, with a gentle sea breeze or pleasant cool bush wind blowing throughout the day. Tall coconut palms and majestic sea almond trees add greenery to this secluded haven. White sandy beach encircles it. Surrounded by 14 acres of marine park; an ecosystem of diverse coral reefs. Teeming with pelagic life forms, species of tiny critters and habitat to schools of large fish.