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Papua New Guinea, Australia & The Coral Sea

South Pacific Cruise

Summary : Experience first-class diving and snorkeling to see spectacular marine life. Witness landscapes as varied as tropical lagoons, coral reefs, lush forests, dynamic waterfalls, soaring geysers and more. Discover ancient Aboriginal rock art. Meet local tribes and learn about their local crafts and customs. Observe indigenous flora and fauna that includes extraordinary marine life, flying foxes and the elusive bird of paradise on this trip of a lifetime.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Diving, Hiking, Snorkeling


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$999,999,999 to $0

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Day 1
Koror, Palau

Embark the ship and meet your Expedition Team. Enjoy time to familiarize yourself with your new home away from home, and meet fellow travelers.

Day 2 – 3
At Sea

Leisurely days at sea are yours to enjoy. Begin perhaps with a late breakfast and another cup of coffee or tea during the first of the day’s presentations from expert lecturers and naturalists. Find out what makes New Guinea, the second largest island in the world, so special.

Take advantage of the luxurious amenities aboard Silver Discoverer. Help birdwatchers spot some of the seabirds found far away from their nesting grounds, or enjoy a lecture about the natural history of northern Papua New Guinea. An interesting book can be good company, too. Alternatively, just relax in the comfort of your suite and watch a movie on the in-suite interactive television.

Day 4
Vanimo, Papua New Guinea

This morning you arrive in Papua New Guinea. After completing the immigration formalities, set out to explore one of Papua New Guinea’s most remote regions. The Sandaun Province is relatively undeveloped, with lovely beaches, crystal clear lagoons and picturesque villages. Today you’ll witness traditional Melanesian culture in a small village. After a short welcome ceremony, set off in local minivans to explore further afield. Don’t forget your bathing suit as there will be a chance to cool down at one of the beautiful beach locations outside of town.

Day 5
Sepik River, Papua New Guinea

The Murik Lakes are a cluster of salt and fresh-water lakes in the lower Sepik province of Papua New Guinea. Here, you will find lagoons, mangrove swamps and sandbanks between fresh water and the sea. Attempt to enter into the lake passages using inflatable Zodiacs and travel along extensive mangroves forests. At the small village of Karau, a traditional Singing will take place with several groups singing and dancing. Locals are known for their intricate carvings and woven Sepik baskets, which are popular in all parts of Papua New Guinea.

During lunch, Silver Discoverer will reposition upriver for a scenic Zodiac tour that will include a stop at Kopar, a small village at the mouth of the Sepik River, inhabited by no more than 200 people. Your arrival here will be heralded with a welcoming song and dance. For the keen birders, a trip by Zodiac will offer sights of flood plain birds, parrots and the odd kite.

Day 6
Madang, Papua New Guinea

Madang has one of the South Pacific’s most beautiful harbors with a backdrop of steep mountains and lush tropical vegetation. The town of Madang was the center of heavy fighting during World War II, and there are 34 sunken ships at Hansa Bay for scuba divers to explore. The small town began its “modern life” as a result of the lucrative copra (coconut) trade. The wide avenues go back to the German administration of the late 19th century, and there even is a small European cemetery next to the local market.

During today’s tour, you will see the Coastwatcher’s Memorial Lighthouse, which was dedicated in 1959 to the Allied Forces and local civilians who served against the Japanese in WWII. Visit Bilbil Village, famous for its pottery, and watch traditionally clad villagers perform local dances accompanied by drums. As dusk approaches, keep an eye out for flying foxes that hang in the town’s trees.

Day 7
Tuam, Papua New Guinea

Tuam is an uplifted coral atoll covered in palm trees. The island is banana-shaped and its eastern side, where the only village is located, is highly exposed to the trade winds. As a result, the islanders have set up protective walls made out of palm-branches, which gives the village the look of a fortified castle from a distance.

After the islanders officially greet you, proceed on a walk to the village marked by white sand trail that leads to wooden huts and houses with pandanus thatched roofs. Dance groups may perform a local Sing-Sing for the group. The Tuam islanders are Siassi people and experts at choreographing dances. Afterwards, take some time to admire the local art that will be displayed for purchase such as Tami bowls that are unique to the Morobe Islands. Later, take a walk in the forest and admire the gardens, and then explore the spectacular reef by snorkeling with the onboard marine biologist.

Day 8
Tufi, Papua New Guinea

Tufi, located on the south-eastern peninsula of Cape Nelson, in Oro Province, is situated on a tropical fjord (the work of ancient volcanic activities) and surrounded by uncharted coral reefs. Natives wear ‘tapa’ cloth during traditional ceremonies, which is made from the bark of mulberry trees found in the local forest. Dance figures predominantly in the culture, with performers sporting headdresses decked with Bird of Paradise plumes and other colorful feathers.

Upon arrival, canoe along the smooth waters of the Kwapurina Fjord. With local villagers as your oarsmen, you will be guided under canopies of ancient mangrove forests, which are home to Tufi’s wide range of colorful birds and butterflies. Arrive at a small beach and proceed on foot through the rainforest to a small jungle waterfall for a refreshing coconut drink before watching a traditional canoe making demonstration. Later, there will be the opportunity to observe the making of ‘tapa’ cloth.

Day 9
Fergusson Island / Dobu Island

Fergusson is one of the three biggest and mountainous islands in the Milne Bay Province. The other two are Normanby and Goodenough. Together, they form the D’Entrecasteux Islands, which are famous for the DeiDei geysers — natural hot springs that periodically “erupt” with vapor steam. The proud villagers will welcome you with ancestral tales and legends about this natural display of power.

While here, visit Dobu Island, which is one of the smaller islands of the D’Entrecasteux archipelago. Historically, their neighbors feared the Dobu islanders because they were revered sorcerers, which is — incidentally — how the Dobu language became the common language throughout these islands, even though they are a small community of less than 1,000 inhabitants. Birdwatchers are in for a treat whilst visiting the D’Entrecasteux Islands. Look out for white cockatoos, parrots and eagles and — if very lucky — you may even spot a bird of paradise (or two!).

Day 10
Samarai, Kwato / Deka Deka Island

Samarai used to be Milne Bay Province’s capital until 1968 when administrators were moved to Alotau. The relocation was necessary as the island was simply overcrowded. You will see the difference between your morning visit of Samarai and the afternoon visit to Deka Deka Island, and can imagine what it means to live off nature — in the case of the less or even uninhabited islands. Enjoy Deka Deka’s white sand beach and use this last afternoon in Papua New Guinea ashore for water-activities.

Day 11
At Sea

A leisurely day at sea is yours to enjoy. Begin perhaps with a late breakfast and another cup of coffee or tea during the first of the day’s lectures. Join the lectures and hear fascinating tales of the early explorers and the local culture. Famous navigators have traversed the Torres Strait — among them Captain Cook and Lt. William Bligh. Learn more about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature or get a first insight into the many facets of Australia. There will surely be a topic that will interest you.

Day 12
Thursday Island, Australia

Arrive around noon and once the clearance has taken place, look at this former pearling center at the top of Australia. The Kaurareg people are the traditional land owners and today Thursday Island (also known as TI or Waiben (catfish) is the administrative and commercial center of the Torres Strait Islands. Just 39 kilometers north of Cape York, Thursday Island has an area of about 3.5 square kilometers. Populated for thousands of years by the Melanesian Torres Strait Islanders, Thursday Island has a population of 2,610 today.

Visit the defense post at Horn Island. Take a private ferry to Horn Island and walk in the forgotten footsteps of the indigenous and non-indigenous soldiers who served in the area to experience an unmatched personal interaction with your specialist guides. On your journey you visit the original gun emplacements, an underground command post, slit trenches, a WWII aircraft wreck with an unbelievable story, WWII airstrip, dispersal bays and taxiways and listen to the eerie sound effects the airstrip provides today. The tour travels on actual WWII roads and tracks laid down by the military.

Local artists will discuss their art and stories with you as morning tea is served and you visit the Torres Strait Museum before your ferry returns you to Thursday Island.

Day 13
Stanley Island, Australia

Stanley Island, in the Flinders Group National Park in Princess Charlotte Bay, is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and was declared a national park in 1939. Several spectacular rock art sites feature prominently on Stanley Island as the island is an integral part of the mythological complex of the Flinders Group. The best known is found at the huge Yintayin rock shelter known as the “Ship” rock shelter. The rock art shows ships from a number of different nations, painted in red and white on the red sandstone: sailing ships rigged in the distinctive European lugger style, or like the Macassan prau, and a dugout canoe with a figure standing upright in it, hands outstretched. Go ashore and have a closer look at these painting accompanied by a local, Aboriginal guide.

Day 14
Lizard Island / Ribbon Reef, Australia

Found some 250 km north-east of Cairns, Lizard Island belongs to the Dingaal people, the traditional Aboriginal owners. Go ashore on the western side and explore the island on foot or swim and snorkel. As part of a group of six high islands Lizard Island is located right in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. Mangroves and sandy beaches are found along the shore and there is a track to Cooks Look (some 2 km). Lizard Island’s location promises that some great snorkel and dive opportunities await you here.

A World Heritage Site since 1981 the Great Barrier Reef has more than 1,500 fish species living on the Great Barrier Reef, 400 coral species and 215 bird species. Silver Discoverer will relocate during lunch to the Ribbon Reefs. The Ribbon Reefs form a line of some 50 miles of reefs, numbered from 1 to 10. Apart from giant sea fans and giant clams there is a wide variety of fish, including clownfish, Maori wrasse, moray eels, Whitetip reef sharks, trevally, cod, snapper, and batfish.

Day 15
Cairns, Australia

Following breakfast, disembark Silver Discoverer.


This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Diving Program: 
The program is complimentary; however, space is limited and thus booking early is recommended. Dives are dependent upon the conditions. Divers must have a current Advanced Open Water Dive License or equivalent from an accredited Certification Agency which will need to be provided before embarking the vessel. Certification must be active and logbooks must show evidence that each guest has been diving within 12 months prior to the voyage. Medical Dive Travel Insurance for evacuation, medical treatment and repatriation is required. Guests must bring their own BCD vests and regulators. Weight belts, tanks, masks and fins will be provided free of charge onboard Silver Discoverer.

Suite accommodations; onboard meals and entertainment; snorkeling gear; diving; butler service; gratuities aboard ship (except spa); complimentary beverages aboard ship (including select wines, champagnes, spirits, soda, water and coffee); 1 hour of internet access per guest/per day for passengers booked in Explorer and View Suites; unlimited internet access for passengers booked in Vista, Veranda, and Medallion Suites. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; optional shore excursions; government fees and taxes; passport and visa expenses; some champagne, premium wine and spirit selections, caviar, cigarettes and cigars; laundry or valet services; items of a personal nature such as boutique purchases, medical care, and spa services; fuel surcharge may apply.

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