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Melanesia Discoverer

South Pacific Cruise

Summary : Uncover the hidden gems of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. From the culturally rich arterial of the Sepik River, sail north across the Bismarck Sea to the remote shores of Manus and Mussau Islands. Manus, where people still live a traditional lifestyle, has the lowest density of people in all of New Guinea. Then delve into the history, culture and wildlife of New Ireland and New Britain. View reminders of World War II activities and sail through the turquoise waters of the Solomon Islands, where new vistas and unexpected encounters await. This itinerary offers a lifetime of species viewing—from the Manus friarbird to the paradise drango—for avid birders on remote islands that few have visited. The waters of these serene islands also offer some of the greatest marine diversity in the world; embrace the opportunity to snorkel and appreciate the beauty beneath the waves. Whether snorkeling or kayaking, this ocean aquarium is waiting to be discovered. 

Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling


Prices from
$999,999,999 to $0

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Day 1
Madang, Papua New Guinea

Arrive in the port town of Madang and transfer to the Madang Resort for the first night. This evening meet with your fellow travelers and the expedition team over dinner at the resort.

Day 2

Madang is a thriving community renowned for its traditional artists, world class diving opportunities and the richness of its surrounding forests. This morning we leave Madang for the highlands close to the township; here the tall forests contain a richly diverse wildlife. We arrive back in Madang with time to explore the colourful markets with your Guides. Optional excursions this morning for bird enthusiasts. This afternoon board the Spirit of Enderby, settle into your cabin and join the captain and your expedition team on the bridge as we set sail.

Day 3
Sepik River

Sure to be one of the highlights of our expedition. The Sepik River is the longest river in Papua New Guinea, it is a rich arterial that has fostered great traditional artists. We plan to explore the river by Zodiac following tributaries and channels in search of local wildlife.
We also meet with the villagers and marvel at their artistry.

Day 4 – 5
Manus Province

Seldom visited and little known, Manus Island is considered a jewel in the crown of Papua New Guinea. Biologically isolated, the islands are home to a high proportion of endemic species including the Superb Pitta which is likely to be one of the birding highlights of the expedition. The waters around Manus offer some of the most spectacular and rich reefs in the region, seldom explored waters promising a myriad of opportunities.

Day 6
Mussa Island

Mussa Island represents one of the western-most extensions of the Lapita culture. Spend time with the local people to learn about their special culture and life on this remote outpost in the Pacific.

Day 7
Kavieng, New Ireland

Historic Kavieng has significant evidence from the large Japanese occupation. Birders will leave early for the highlands while the rest of the group will spend the morning exploring the town of Kavieng and its history. Later snorkel in the clear waters of the local reefs.

Day 8
Rabaul, New Britain

Six beautifully cone-shaped volcanoes ring Rabaul’s dramatic flooded- caldera harbour. Visit the bubbling hot springs and take in magnificent views of the harbour and volcanoes from Observatory Ridge.

Day 9
Nissan Island

A tropical atoll bathed in rich tropical currents Nissan Island’s waters abound in marine life. Seldom has anybody had the opportunity to discover this world which promises abundant pelagic fish life and pristine coral reefs. Ashore there are still reminders of the brief but intensive World War II activities on this island, meet with the friendly locals and search the dense woods for some of the elusive birds that occur here.

Day 10
Bougainville Island

We plan to be amongst the first expeditioners to re-discover the treasures of Bougainville, long isolated and in a strange way protected by the conflict which swirled around its shores. A pristine island paradise it is home to some of the greatest biodiversity in the region both above and below the waters. We plan to explore the area around Arawa which offers great opportunities to access the island’s interior and reefs.

Day 11
Choiseul Island

Today we arrive in the Solomon Islands on the remote northern coast of Choiseul Island. This was once the home of the Choiseul Crested Pigeon and while it no longer walks the forest floor many other species still enliven the forest. We Zodiac cruise deep into the mangrove forest towards the Sui River Falls searching for Dugong and crocodiles.

Day 12
New Georgia Islands

The volcanic New Georgia Islands are found in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. Birding enthusiasts will relish landing on Kolombangara Island, where we hope to see the rare Roviana Rail along with other endemic bird species.

Day 13
Santa Isabel Island

The Arnavon Islands are north-west of Santa Isabel, an area rich in marine biodiversity and one of the most important rookeries in the western Pacific for the endangered Hawksbill Turtle. The islands also support a high diversity of terrestrial fauna, with 41 species of birds, six species of bats, and at least seven species of terrestrial reptiles. Sensational snorkelling can be experienced around the islands.

Day 14
Honiara, Solomon Islands

Honiara was founded as a military base during World War II and was witness to the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Tour Honiara, visiting historical sites including Henderson Airfield, war memorials and the open-air war museum while the birders head to the rain-forested slopes of Mount Austen in search of some of the Solomon Islands’ most spectacular birds including the Solomon Sea Eagle.

For those disembarking a transfer to your hotel or the airport will conclude your voyage OR join us to discover the Secrets of Melanesia.


The above itinerary is a guide only, as the exact program depends on weather and sea conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this program, all passengers must purchase full medical and emergency evacuation insurance for the specific areas they will be visiting. The policy provider, policy number and contact phone number must be provided prior to departure date. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.

Cabin accommodations; all onboard lectures and access to public areas; all meals on board the ship; shore excursions as described; one night hotel accommodation including dinner and continental breakfast in a twin share room (single supplement applies for guaranteed single); group transfers to embark the ship and transfer from the ship to city hotels and/or airport on disembarkation.

Not Included:
Airfare; passport, visa and vaccination fees; items of a personal nature such as insurance and excess baggage charges, beverages, laundry, ship to shore communications, medical supplies, souvenirs; landing fees; kayaking supplement; optional program supplement; fuel surcharge may apply.

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