There were no reports of significant injuries due to the 6.9 magnitude quake, which also prompted a brief regional tsunami alert.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the temblor struck at 11:04 p.m. local time about 45 miles south-southeast of the New Britain town of Kimbe at a depth of 35 miles.
Guests at the Kimbe Bay Hotel told Radio New Zealand that the brick hotel sustained cracks throughout it, and the shaking was quite violent.
A 6.3 magnitude aftershock struck the same area just before dawn on Wednesday.
There were no immediate reports of additional damage or any injuries.