Summary : Set sail from Bali on an expedition to discover Indonesia’s rich tapestry of cultures and lush tropical islands. Experience the thrill of spotting rare Komodo dragons in the wild, snorkel and dive at pristine coral reefs from the Moluccas to West Papua, and take part in exuberant welcome ceremonies at the secluded villages you'll explore along the way. Explore the fascinating riverine world of the Asmat region, and cap off your journey amid the underwater splendors of the Great Barrier Reef.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Diving, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Snorkeling
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Free Subscription: Complimentary 1-year subscription to National Geographic Magazine (one per booking).
$999,999,999 to $0
Depart for Bali, crossing the International Date Line, and embark the National Geographic Orion.
Your first stop is the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, where villagers welcome you with a lively cultural display. Witness a traditional wedding ceremony, a local boxing match, and an exhilarating buffalo race through a rice paddy field.
Explore Komodo National Park, home to the world’s largest living lizard—the Komodo dragon. Learn about the conservation of these prehistoric giants from park rangers, who will join you on a hike to spot the lizards in their natural habitat. Then enjoy an afternoon of swimming, snorkeling, or beachcombing at “Pink Beach,” named for the coral fragments that lend their color to the sand.
Flores was once an important Portuguese trading center for sandalwood. Visit the town of Larantuka, which became a refuge for deserters of the Dutch East India Company, and meet with locals to learn about their history and customs. At the island of Alor, known for the rich biodiversity of its reefs, venture to the rugged interior to experience the traditions of the indigenous population. Visit a market selling intricate ikat textiles, and marvel at ancient bronze moko drums at a local museum. Conditions permitting, enjoy an afternoon of snorkeling and diving.
Amid the glittering Banda Sea lie isolated coral reefs and atolls. Take a day to explore these tropical gems, then sail into the Moluccas archipelago, also known as Maluku or the Spice Islands. Visit the nutmeg-rich island of Run, which played a pivotal role in the 17th century spice wars and was traded by the British in exchange for the Dutch island of New Amsterdam—later renamed New York. Delve into the history of the Dutch East India Company at Bandanaira island, and go swimming and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters.
During a traditional welcome ceremony, sample local dishes and learn about the islands’ ancient cultural links to Balinese royalty. Later, anchor at one of the many palm-fringed beaches nearby.
Triton Bay is one of the region’s most spectacular spots, dotted with dozens of mushroom-shaped limestone islets. The karst cliffs and surrounding jungle-clad mountains are home to diverse birdlife, including sulphur-crested cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets. Explore this lush paradise by Zodiac, go birding, and snorkel and dive among beautiful soft corals and reef fish.
Arrive in the enchanting Asmat region, which spreads across mud flats and mangrove forests, with raised wooden boardwalks linking one village to the next. Elaborately painted “warriors” escort you to one of the stilt villages on shore, where you'll attend a fascinating welcome ceremony. Subsequent exploration will be dictated by the tides, as you venture to neighboring villages by Zodiac and encounter the ancient culture of the Asmat people, who are renowned for their woodcarving.
After a relaxing day at sea, sail into the Torres Strait and stop at Thursday Island to learn about the pearl industry that once thrived here, and continue on to explore Cape York.
Spend two days immersed in the wonders of the world's largest reef system. At a remote northern section of the Great Barrier Reef, snorkel or dive amid a profusion of marine life, from starfish and sea anemones to reef sharks and turtles. Cruise south along the Queensland coast to Lizard Island National Park, a secluded group of islands considered sacred by the indigenous Dingaal people. Explore white-sand beaches and coral gardens inhabited by colorful fish and giant clams. Trace the steps of famed explorer Captain James Cook to the island’s peak, “Cook’s Look.”
Disembark in Cairns and spend the night at a seaside hotel before transferring to your flight home.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
The photo team, a National Geographic Photographer and a Photo Specialist, will enhance your voyage by working with you on photo composition and exposure; helping you develop your own unique vision; showing you how professionals edit and store images while on the go; and sharing the stories behind some of their greatest images. Whether expert or interested beginner, you'll find added benefits such as walks ashore and Zodiac cruises dedicated to photography, presentations on the creative and technical aspects of photography, and one-on-one mentoring and coaching in the field.
Scuba Diving Requirements: Scuba divers must be certified by an internationally recognized dive association prior to the voyage, and certification cards and logbooks must be shown on board. Divers must have logged 25 dives in total and made a dive within the 12 months preceding the voyage.
Accommodations as indicated; all meals and non-alcoholic beverages aboard the ship; all shore excursions and sightseeing; transfers to and from group flights; tips (except to ship's crew), taxes and service charges; services of a ship physician and expedition staff; use of kayaks.
International air transportation; passport and visa expenses; baggage/accident/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, email and laundry; gratuities to ship's crew at your discretion; scuba diving surcharge; fuel surcharge may apply.