Secrets of Melanesia Dates & Rates
Sail into a world where few people have ventures, home to idyllic islands and isolated villages with unique culture and traditions, where elaborately costumed dancers welcome us into their world. Set sail from Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, to discover the beauty of the outer Islands of this amazing area.
Relax as our ship glides into secluded bays, and takes us to visit remote oceanic islands where the art of traditional navigation still lives to this day. Search for endemic bird species or dive one of the world’s most famous wrecks in Vanuatu, and discover hidden worlds, with picture perfect islands which are breathtakingly beautiful and yet to be discovered.
dates & prices
There are no trips scheduled for this expedition.
11 Days: Solomon Islands to Vanuatu
Day 1: 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. Board the Spirit of Enderby this afternoon. After familiarising yourself with your cabin and the ship join the Captain and expedition team on the Bridge as we leave Honiara and look forward to what secrets lay ahead for us to explore.
Day 2: San Jorge Island and Santa Isabel
One of the largest and highest islands in the Solomon Islands, most of Isabel remains unexplored and undiscovered. We will head for the remote southern shores and Thousand Ships Harbour which is nestled between San Jorge Island and the high peaks of southern Santa Isabel. The multitude of inlets, channels and bays provide numerous opportunities for divers to experience the thrill of a ‘first’ dive.
Day 3: Malaita
Mountainous Malaita is home to one-third of the Solomon’s total population, with pristine rivers and unexploited tropical forests. Anchoring in one of the harbours on the western side of the island, we’ll spend the day ashore, including a visit to Langa Langa Lagoon, famous for its artificial islands. An excursion into the hills behind Auki provides good chances of sighting birds endemic to Malaita.
Day 4: Makira and Santa Ana (San Cristobal)
Makira is the most easterly of the main islands in the Solomons archipelago. Nearby to the east lies Santa Ana, a small raised coral atoll. Sea caves on the island are believed to be the site of first habitation in the Solomons, dating back to 1280 BC. We spend time with the locals, who share with us their traditional song and dance.. Join our naturalists for a walk across the island, looking out for colourful orchids and the elusive Melanesian megapode.
Day 5: Nendö – Temotu Province
Nendö is the largest of the Santa Cruz Islands, which lie to the south-east of the Solomon Islands. The Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira unsuccessfully tried to establish a colony there in 1595. Biologically these islands share more in common with Vanuatu. This is the home of red feather money, sourced from the Scarlet Honeyeater. Today the islanders will perform the dances of their ancestors with traditional red feather sticks.
Day 6: Duff Islands
The Duff Islands are a cluster of 11 small islands. On the tiny island of Taumako in the Solomon Islands' eastern province of Temotu live some 500 Polynesians who may be the only people in the Pacific still capable of building and sailing traditional voyaging canoes in completely traditional ways. Watch out for locals hand-crafting their vessels on the shore with adzes.
Day 7: Vanikolo
Today we explore the archipelago of Vanikolo, with its five islands encapsulated by a dramatic barrier reef which offers superb diving and snorkelling. French explorer Jean-François de La Pérouse was stranded here after both his vessels, La Boussole and Astrolabe, struck this reef in 1788. On the shore we visit a monument to Le Perouse, erected by fellow explorer Dumont Durville in 1827. Join the naturalists on a forest wander in search of two endemic bird species and float through the crystal clear waters.
Day 8: Vanua Lava
This morning we arrive in Vanuatu at the northern outpost of Vanua Lava, the largest island in the Banks Islands which is crowned by the volcanically active Mt. Séré’ama. Vanua Lava with its nearby Motu Lava and Reef Islands offers diverse landscapes, rich culture and a bountiful underwater world. The surrounding waters are home to the recently discovered Vanuatu Petrel which we will be looking for upon our departure.
Day 9: Espiritu Santo
Enjoy a full day ashore on Vanuatu’s largest Island, Santo; location of James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific. Early morning offers a visit to Vatthe Conservation Area for the birders in search of many of Vanuatu’s endemic birds or diver can explore the wreck of SS President Coolidge. Other opportunities include swimming, snorkelling or a visit to Luganville Township.
Day 10: Malakula
Vanuatu’s second largest island,visited by Captain Cook in 1774, Malakula and its coastal islands became known as The Cannibal Islands due to the fierce reputation of the Big Namba and Small Namba tribes. We explore the southern shoreline, home of the Small Nambas tribal group and the least developed and most traditional part of Malakula. The nearby low-lying Maskelyne Islands offer first-class diving and snorkelling opportunities. Be transported back in time as we witness the famed Masked Dances of Malakula.
Day 11: Port Vila, Vanuatu
Arrive into Port Vila early morning and disembark. Upon disembarking a transfer to your hotel or the airport will conclude your voyage.
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.
Your visa arrangements are your responsibility. Please contact our reservations staff for assistance, or if you are unsure if you require a visa.
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.
How to Book
If you are interested in an Aurora Expeditions voyage, please contact our sales team to check availability.
Either email an expert here or call our experienced consultants direct on + 61 2 9252 1033 or 1800 637 688 (Freecall within Australia).
Complete a booking form
Once availability is confirmed, please download, print and complete the booking form. Please return it to us, along with your deposit to secure your berth. Please ensure you read the Terms and Conditions of contract before sending us your signed booking form.
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.
Aurora Expeditions - Your Personal Travel Agent
Aurora Expeditions is a licensed travel agent. Our experienced reservations consultants all have specialised expertise on the destinations we travel to. Each voyage has a dedicated travel expert solely working on developing dynamic itineraries for our passengers. Contact our reservations team and allow us to create a personal itinerary to compliment your voyage, including airfares, accommodation, travel insurance and pre and post voyage travel options.
We look forward to assisting you with your journey of a lifetime.