Melanesia Discoverer Dates & Rates

Join us on the Spirit of Enderby, as we uncover the hidden gems of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Starting off at the arterial of the Sepik River we sail north across the Bismarck Sea to the remote islands of Manus and Mussau. This expedition will give you an insight into the history, culture and wildlife of New Ireland and New Britain before crossing the Buka Channel and entering an isolated part of the world where we are amongst the first travellers to return to Bougainville in over two decades.

Melanesia Discoverer Expedition

New vistas and unexpected encounters await us as we sail through the turquoise waters of the Solomon Islands. For bird watchers this expedition offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to see rare species on remote islands where few people have been before. The bird watching potential here is exceptional and allows birders to maximise their opportunities by offering an optional specialised birding programme with personalised excursions. These waters are also home to what is arguably some of the best diving in the world. Everybody on board will have the opportunity to snorkel and appreciate the beauty beneath the surface, and we also offer scuba diving as an optional programme for those wishing to take their underwater experience to the next level.

The experience of kayaking in the tropics, exploring remote areas and gliding over stunning coral reefs is guaranteed to open your “marine” eyes. Our kayaks are ideal to fit in with the locals, often paddling along in their own dugouts, and perfect for seeking out the best snorkelling sites. Equally exciting are short excursions up small rivers or creeks into tropical jungles, rainforests or mangroves where we have the chance to view hornbills, palm cockatoos and other exotic bird species.

Our excursions from the ship and shore landings are selected for cultural, wildlife and scenic value. Cruising in our own private group of about 5 to 10 paddlers.

dates & prices

There are no trips scheduled for this expedition.

Itinerary

TRIP DATES

2013: 14 Days: Madang - Haniara

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 travellers and the expedition team over dinner at the resort.
Day 2: Madang
Madang is picturesquely situated on a peninsula surrounded by islands and waterways and is a thriving community renowned for its traditional artists, world class diving opportunities and the richness of its surrounding forests. This morning visit the Lababia Wildlife Management Area with its tall forest and rich diversity of wildlife, before returning to Madang to explore the markets with your Guides. Optional excursions this morning for bird and diving 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.
Days 3 to 4: Sepik River
Sure to be one of the highlights of our expedition, we have allowed plenty of time to fully appreciate this remarkable river, its birds, animals and the people that call it home. The Sepik River is the longest river in Papua New Guinea, flowing from the highlands to the Bismarck Sea. 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 5: Manus Island
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 diving in the region, seldom explored waters promising a myriad of ‘first’ diving opportunities.
Day 6: Mussa Island
Far to the north of New Ireland we have a full day to explore here. 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 at the northern end of New Ireland has significant evidence from the large Japanese occupation, today the area is a developing hub for tourism. 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. Divers will spend the day in the company of local dive experts exploring the very best diving that Kavieng has to offer.
Day 8: Rabul, 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. We are planning a very special performance tonight of the Baining tribe’s fire dance. Rabaul is world renowned for the excellent diving opportunities.
Day 9: Nissan Island
A tropical atoll adrift in the azure waters of the Buka Channel, 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. With some of the most spectacular diving in the world; these reefs await rediscovery. 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. Here the mountains tumble to the sea, broken only by torrents of fresh water cascading from the highlands. 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 and are characterised by extensive reefs and lagoons, rugged terrain and an abundance of rivers. Birding enthusiasts will relish landing on Kolombangara Island, where we hope to see the rare Roviana Rail along with other endemic bird species. For those more interested in the marine environment, nearby Ghizo Island has some of the best and most exciting diving in the world with World War II wrecks and reefs that have some of the highest fish counts in the world. Ghizo Township has small waterfront stores to explore and an open air market.
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 diving and snorkelling can be experienced around the islands. In the afternoon we Zodiac cruise a chain of largely unpopulated islands off the north-western tip of Santa Isabel Island before visiting the unique village of Kia.
Day 14: Honiara, Solomon Islands
Honiara was founded by the British as a military base during World War II and was witness to the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, where the Allied forces eventually overcame a Japanese invasion. Tour Honiara, visiting historical sites including Henderson Airfield, war memorials and the open-air war museum or alternatively 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.
During our voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed.

Melanesia Discoverer Map


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 travellers and the expedition team over dinner at the resort.

Day 2: Madang

Madang is picturesquely situated on a peninsula surrounded by islands and waterways and is a thriving community renowned for its traditional artists, world class diving opportunities and the richness of its surrounding forests. This morning visit the Lababia Wildlife Management Area with its tall forest and rich diversity of wildlife, before returning to Madang to explore the markets with your Guides. Optional excursions this morning for bird and diving 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.

Days 3 to 4: Sepik River

Sure to be one of the highlights of our expedition, we have allowed plenty of time to fully appreciate this remarkable river, its birds, animals and the people that call it home. The Sepik River is the longest river in Papua New Guinea, flowing from the highlands to the Bismarck Sea. 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 5: Manus Island

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 diving in the region, seldom explored waters promising a myriad of ‘first’ diving opportunities.

Day 6: Mussa Island

Far to the north of New Ireland we have a full day to explore here. 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 at the northern end of New Ireland has significant evidence from the large Japanese occupation, today the area is a developing hub for tourism. 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. Divers will spend the day in the company of local dive experts exploring the very best diving that Kavieng has to offer.

Day 8: Rabul, 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. We are planning a very special performance tonight of the Baining tribe’s fire dance. Rabaul is world renowned for the excellent diving opportunities.

Day 9: Nissan Island

A tropical atoll adrift in the azure waters of the Buka Channel, 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. With some of the most spectacular diving in the world; these reefs await rediscovery. 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. Here the mountains tumble to the sea, broken only by torrents of fresh water cascading from the highlands. 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 and are characterised by extensive reefs and lagoons, rugged terrain and an abundance of rivers. Birding enthusiasts will relish landing on Kolombangara Island, where we hope to see the rare Roviana Rail along with other endemic bird species. For those more interested in the marine environment, nearby Ghizo Island has some of the best and most exciting diving in the world with World War II wrecks and reefs that have some of the highest fish counts in the world. Ghizo Township has small waterfront stores to explore and an open air market.

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 diving and snorkelling can be experienced around the islands. In the afternoon we Zodiac cruise a chain of largely unpopulated islands off the north-western tip of Santa Isabel Island before visiting the unique village of Kia.

Day 14: Honiara, Solomon Islands

Honiara was founded by the British as a military base during World War II and was witness to the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, where the Allied forces eventually overcame a Japanese invasion. Tour Honiara, visiting historical sites including Henderson Airfield, war memorials and the open-air war museum or alternatively 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.

Activities

TRIP DATES ACTIVITIES

How to Prepare

How to Prepare for a Papua New Guinea Expedition

To ensure you have an enjoyable and safe expedition we have developed some important pre-departure information to help you prepare for your voyage. We strongly recommend you download the documents below and read carefully. Our reservation staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Before you depart for your expedition we will send you a detailed pack including your itinerary, travel documents and any other essential information relevant to your voyage.

Is your passport valid? 
Your passport will be required to have validity that will extend to six months after the date of your return.

Visa arrangements 
Your visa arrangements are your responsibility. Please contact our reservations staff for assistance, or if you are unsure if you require a visa.

Travel insurance 
All passengers are required to provide travel insurance details including policy number and emergency contact number to Aurora Expeditions prior to departure. We strongly recommend insurance coverage that includes emergency medical evacuation from the vessel.

Emergency contact details 
So that you can be contacted in the case of an emergency, remember to provide your family or friends with a copy of your travel documents as well as Aurora Expeditions’ and your Ship’s contact numbers.

Remember to pack any valuables or essential items such as medication in your hand luggage to avoid issues in the case of lost baggage.

Papua New Guinea Clothing Guidelines

Papua New Guinea Photography Hints

Papua New Guinea Recommended Reading

FAQ's

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