Expeditions - PNG (Papua New Guinea Cruises)

For more information on our expeditions, including dates, number of days, itinerary, activities and what to bring, please click on the expedition names below.

Aurora Partnership Program

For many years Aurora Expeditions has worked closely with a select group of expedition companies; those that are closely aligned with the philosophies we hold dear – small groups, big adventures, fantastic itineraries and responsible travel.

Unfortunately, it is not possible for Aurora Expeditions to operate in every destination we would like, we have identified the experts in these regions with whom we have a trusted relationship; thus extending the arms of the Aurora Fold.

The Aurora Partnership Program outlines the experts that we have a long-standing relationship with, whom we continue to work with to offer you trips that embody everything you love about expedition travel to the remote coastlines and regions of our planet.

By formalising the relationship with these travel partners, we can provide new dimensions to our program whilst maintaining a strong synergy with our own fantastic expeditions. By choosing to travel with a company from The Aurora Partnership Program, we are confident you will experience a voyage that meets the expectations of the truly adventurous, whilst maintaining the high standards we expect.

We will be partnering with Coral Princess for our 2013 and 2014 Papua New Guinea programs, and Heritage Expeditions for our 2013 Melanesia program.

Papua New Guinea

The first departure leaves Darwin and the first port of call will be a warm and colourful welcome in the remote "Forgotten Islands". Located in the Banda Sea between Timor and Irian Jaya these islands are among the most exotic destinations in Indonesia. Their visit to Tanimbar and Kai will be memorable. You'll learn how headhunting was practised here until well into the mid 20th century and discover how copra, tortoiseshell, and trepang provided wealth to the villagers over many generations.

Centuries ago the Spice Islands of Indonesia were the only source of the world's most valued spices. The most treasured and valuable commodities of their time in the 12th to 15th centuries, the world's entire supply of nutmeg and mace was grown in the Spice Islands before being shipped to the grand cities of Europe, where they were highly values. amongst the elite. Travel ashore to Banda Island where a stroll through the local market promises all of the aromas, colours and characters of the vibrant Spice Islands.

The centrepiece of our expedition will be a 5-day exploration through the spectacular Raja Ampat region, otherwise known as the 'Four Kings' after the major islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo. The archipelago is made up of about 1,500 islands in seven Marine Protected Areas, and harbours over 75% of the world's coral species and over 75% of the world's fish species. After farewelling Raja Ampat, Oceanic Discoverer will cross the equator and visit the spectacular Wayag Island and Mapia Atoll before travelling ashore to meet the locals in their provincial West Papua capital of Jayapura. A small city of just over 200,000 residents, Jayapura has a fascinating World War II history and was occupied by invading Japanese forces during 1942.

Further east, Wewak is our first landfall in Papua New Guinea and capital of the East Sepik Province. Situated on a narrow headland Wewak, like Jayapura, was occupied by Japanese invaders during World War II. We'll enjoy time to wander the 'old town' of the city centre, and explore the surrounding rainforests and beaches, where villagers still practice the traditional farming and fishing methods which have remain unchanged for centuries.

Our exploration of Papua New Guinea's east coast includes a memorable two days cruising the mighty Sepik River. Aboard Oceanic Discoverer we'll cruise approximately 100 kilometres upriver to the remote villages of Bien and Angoram, home to the great Sepik woodcarvers renowned for their unique artefacts. These remote villages are located well up the Sepik, and are inaccessible to most other ships. Aboard the purpose built Oceanic Discoverer we'll cruise directly to their doorstep and enjoy the opportunity to spend time with these fascinating and rarely visited people in their traditional communities, truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Enjoy a full day ashore exploring historic Madang, and savour a visit to the remarkable Lababia Wildlife Management Area. Our Expedition Staff will lead us on a walk through Lababia's prehistoric rainforest and along the David Suzuki Trail, where a myriad of wildlife and exotic birds including hornbills and the Raggiana Bird of Paradise can be seen in their natural environment.

Following an exploration of the Tufi Fjords in the south-east of Papua New Guinea, we'll meet the locals of the fascinating Trobriand Islands, known as the 'Islands of Love'. Then, returning to the PNG mainland we'll discover the fascinating wartime history of Alotau and Milne Bay before commencing our crossing of the Coral Sea, en route to remote Osprey Reef. Located more than 100 kilometres off the Queensland coast, its remote location means visits to this spectacular 25 kilometre long reef system are rare. Enjoy the opportunity to snorkel in the protected lagoon at the heart of the massive reef, SCUBA dive and join glass bottom boat tours, before our expedition concludes in tropical Cairns.

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