Papua New Guinea Circle Dates & Rates
dates & prices
There are no trips scheduled for this expedition.
2013: 26 Days: Darwin - Wewak - Cairns
2014: 26 Days: Cairns - Wewak - Darwin (itineary in reverse direction)
Day 1 Darwin
After boarding Oceanic Discoverer, we depart Darwin on the start of our great adventure. Take the opportunity to settle in and explore the ship before joining your travelling companions for sunset drinks and the first of many delicious dinners.
Day 2 At Sea
Spend the day at leisure enjoying the onboard facilities as we cross the Timor Sea. Join our Expedition Staff in the ship's lounge for informative presentations in preparation for our first landing in the Tanimbar Islands. This evening, join your fellow travellers, the Captain and his crew at the Captain's Welcome Cocktails as we sail toward the 'Forgotten Islands' of Tanimbar and Kai.
Day 3 Tanimbar Islands
Awaken as we approach Saumlaki, the main town in the Tanimbar Islands and our first Indonesian landfall. The islands are surrounded by pristine white sand beaches fringed with palm trees. The villagers of the Tanimbars are master carvers and their magnificent queen ebony wood carvings are considered to be the finest in the entire Indonesian archipelago. View the community's traditional ritual ceremony and learn how headhunting was practiced here until well into the 20th century.
Day 4 Kai Islands
The island of Kai Tanimbar is considered to be the birthplace of Kai Island culture. Today we cruise and explore the many small islands and communities located between Pulau Kur and Pulau Kaimeer recognized as having the best beaches in the Indonesian Archipeligo. Here we have the opportunity to practice our snorkeling and diving skills. As we pass through the islands, keep an eye out for the ancient petroglyphs that adorn the towering cliffs. Painted in ochre, black and white, the drawings depict historic sailing boats and intricately decorated locals wearing tall headdresses.
Day 5 Banda and the Spice Islands
In the middle of the Banda Sea lies an enchanted fragment of history, the centre of the Spice Island trade. Originally the world's sole source of nutmeg and mace, these nine tiny islands have attracted traders since at least 2000 years ago. In the 16th century, European explorers discovered entire continents in their quest for these islands. On our approach to Banda Island the outline of Gunung Api volcano, with its thin plume of smoke drifting from the summit, will be clearly visible. Join an early morning hike to the top of 'Fire Mountain' for spectacular views over the island's main town of Banda Neira. Then, enjoy the opportunity to immerse yourself in the colours and aromas of the Spice Islands. Stroll through the wide, tree-lined streets of Banda Neira, past the remnants of mansions constructed during Dutch colonialism. Visit the fascinating museum, the former VOC Governor's Mansion, the old church and Fort Belgica. Our exploration of Banda Neira concludes with a visit to the town's nutmeg gardens, shaded by wild almond trees.
Day 6 Pulau Gorong
Just off the western tip of Ceram lies the pristine island of Pulau Gorong, where we will spend the day exploring the enchanting saltwater lagoon, which is also home to a myriad of native birdlife. A range of in-water activities will be available including guided snorkelling, SCUBA diving and glass bottom-boat tours.
Day 7 Misool and Raja Ampat
The Misool Islands, one of the famed 'Four Kings' of the Raja Ampat region, are a gem-studded bracelet of islands that are a mecca for snorkellers and divers. The islands boast dramatic scenery, with towering limestone pinnacles jutting out of the water and white sand beaches adorned with palm trees. Travel ashore and explore on a nature walk with the Expedition Staff. You will also have the chance to experience the waters surrounding the island, which are home to at least three species of the pygmy seahorse, no larger than a fingernail, and the most splendid soft coral jungles, with their vibrant shades of orange, red, purple and pink.
Day 8 The Dampier Straits
Awaken as we cruise the Dampier Straits, named in honour of famed explorer William Dampier. Travelling ashore to Pulau Gam, a local Papuan guide will join us on a walk through the shady forests around Sawingrai village. Our guide's local knowledge will hopefully allow us to catch a glimpse of one of nature's finest creations, the ethereal Red Bird of Paradise. This afternoon immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Raja Ampat. On Arborek Island a profusion of plankton attracts giant manta rays and you have the opportunity to swim with these majestic creatures. Aboard Xplorer we'll travel ashore to nearby Kri Island, which offers perhaps the best snorkelling and diving in the archipelago, if not the world.
Day 9 Crossing into the Northern Hemisphere
Celebrate with a glass of champagne as, for the first time, Oceanic Discoverer crosses into the waters of the Northern Hemisphere. Later, we'll arrive in the pristine waters of Aljui Bay and the Cendana Pearl Farm. Join a guided tour of the farm, our local host taking us through the entire propagation and cultivation process. The farm produces pearls of the finest quality, and you may even wish to purchase an incredible souvenir produced in these very waters. Continuing north, we set sail for Wayag Island.
Day 10 Wayag Island
Savour a day of exploration on World Heritage-listed Wayag Island. Our day starts with an early morning hike up Pindito Peak, where the reward is breathtaking views over the island and its spectacular lagoon. Then, discover the lagoon's white sand beaches and a magical maze of limestone karst 'gumdrop' islands. The islands are adorned with thousands of pitcher plants and colourful orchids and we'll spend the remainder of the day exploring. This evening we remain at our scenic Wayag Island anchorage. With the bright stars of the Milky Way shining brightly overhead, it is sure to be a fantastic end to another magical day.
Day 11 Mapia Atoll
After farewelling the Raja Ampat region we travel ashore to beautiful and remote Mapia Atoll. Our Expedition Staff will lead us on a fascinating walk around the atoll before the opportunity for snorkelling, SCUBA diving and glass bottom boat tours in this most rarely visited of locations.
Day 12 At Sea
Returning to the Southern Hemisphere, our Expedition Staff will recap the many exciting adventures from the first part of our journey as we cruise towards our final port of call in the Indonesian province of West Papua; Jayapura.
Day 13 Jayapura
Formerly known as 'Hollandia' during World War II, Jayapura is today a bustling town of some 200,000 residents and a melting pot of sights and smells. Today you may choose to explore the streets and markets of the 'old town' at your own pace, or perhaps join one of our special optional excursions. You may choose to join a charter flight and full day excursion to the mist-shrouded Grand Baliem Valley, home of the mythical Dani warriors. Or, visit Lake Sentani, the location of General Doulas MacArthur's main base during WWII and home of villagers famed for their distinctive art, traditional motifs, sago bowls, drums and bark paintings.
Day 14 Wewak
During the night we cross into Papua New Guinea waters for a morning arrival in the picturesque port city of Wewak. We farewell guests departing this morning, and welcome new friends who will be joining us for the remainder of the expedition. Wewak is the capital of the West Sepik Province and was a major air base for the Japanese during World War II. Join a guided tour of the town, including Wewak Point where we will see the Japanese tunnels, bunkers and naval hospital. There will also be time to explore the city at your own pace.
Day 15 The Mighty Sepik River
Sure to be a highlight, this morning we enter the mouth of the mighty Sepik River - one of the world's great river systems. Over the next two days Oceanic Discoverer will cruise approximately 100 kilometres upriver to the middle Sepik region, which is renowned for its unique artefacts. Visit the remote villages of Angoram and Bien where the local Sepik people are amongst the greatest primitive artists on earth and each village has its own distinct style. Enjoy the opportunity to purchase unique hand carvings. We anchor this evening in the river whilst overhead hundreds of flying foxes stream through the sky.
Day 16 Sepik River and Volcanic Manam Island
An early morning start offers a great opportunity for bird watching. Join the Expedition Staff to identify Spotted Blue-eyed Cockatoos, Wagtails, Great Egret, Little Egret, Great Billed Heron, the enormous Blyth's Hornbill and others as we cruise back down river. On farewelling the Sepik we pass the active volcano on Manam Island and enjoy the sunset.
Day 17 Historic Madang
The historic town of Madang sits on a peninsula surrounded by a number of picturesque islands. Famed for its diving, the waters surrounding Madang offer excellent visibility and many WWII wrecks to explore. Enjoy swimming, snorkelling, diving and a harbour exploration.
Day 18 The Idyllic Islands of Tuam & Tami
Tuam, in the Siassi group of islands, offers a mix of both mainland and Bismark Archipelago cultures. Their prized trinkets and decorations include dog's teeth, spondyllus shells and wonderful balsa wood and sago bark headdresses. We enjoy the welcome dances and village hospitality.
Day 19 Lababia - Wildlife Management Area
We awaken early and travel ashore to the picturesque village of Lababia, gateway to one of the most important conservation areas in PNG - the Kamiali Wildlife Management Area. In the company of our Expedition Staff and local guides, walk the David Suzuki trail through the prehistoric rainforest. With luck we may see some of the prolific birdlife resident here including hornbills, parrots, palm cockatoos and the iconic Raggiana Bird of Paradise.
Day 20 Tufi Fjords
Today enjoy a true highlight as we discover the scenic beauty of the rarely visited Tufi Fjords. Similar to Nordic fjords and featuring 25 individual canyons with sheer basalt cliffs, these are the only fjords in Papua New Guinea and offer a wealth of sightseeing opportunities. Soak up the spectacular views as we cruise close to the towering cliffs before boarding Xplorer to travel ashore to meet the friendly locals. Then, enjoy the opportunity to discover the region's numerous white sandy beaches, take a leisurely swim and snorkel over spectacular fringing reefs.
Day 21 Dobu and Fergusson Islands
We are greeted by a flotilla of canoes as we approach the Dobu anchorage. Our Guest Lecturers will share with you the history of the Kula Ring where Dobu Island was a pivotal link between the north and south Kula trade routes. Meet the local primary school children who will welcome us with a traditional dance performance. Join our Expedition Staff on an expedition to the Dei Dei Hot Springs where the landowner shares the mythical and spiritual tales of these hot water and mud springs.
Day 22 Trobriands and Kitava
Historically known as the 'Islands of Love' the Trobriands offer a glimpse of traditional culture largely unspoilt by outside influence. Witness traditional Trobriand Dances.
Day 23 Alotau
This morning we enter Milne Bay before arriving in Alotau. Famed for its significance during World War II, our Expedition Staff will lead us on a guided tour of the town, before we commence our crossing of the China Strait.
Day 24 At Sea
As our once-in-a-lifetime expedition draws to a close, the Expedition Staff will present a recap of our remarkable adventure. Spend the remainder of the day simply relaxing and enjoying the onboard facilities.
Day 25 Osprey Reef
Located 100 kilometres off the Queensland coast, visits to Osprey Reef are rare. Enjoy a final opportunity to snorkel and SCUBA dive in the protected lagoon at the heart of the reef, amidst a myriad of colourful marine life. This evening, reminisce with the Captain, his crew and new-found friends at the Captain's Farewell Cocktails.
Day 26 Cairns
This morning cruise the Great Barrier Reef before crossing Trinity Bay. Our arrival in Cairns at 10.00am marks the end of our incredible New Guinea Circle adventure.
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.
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Emergency contact details
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Terms & Conditions
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Preparation for your voyage
On receipt of the booking form, we will contact you to confirm your booking and our reservations staff will send you a comprehensive pre-departure kit. This kit will contain all necessary pre-departure information including visa information, insurance information, a medical and personal details form, comprehensive gear list and information tailored to your voyage.
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