PNG - Wewak to Darwin Dates & Rates
Join us aboard Oceanic Discoverer to experience the world’s most diverse and exciting regions as they emerge into the 21st Century and see how real contact with the outside world has only started to take place in the last few decades. From the fragrant Spice Islands of Indonesia and the ‘Four Kings’ of Raja Ampat, this 13-night expedition from Wewak to Darwin is sure to leave you spellbound.
Centuries ago the Spice Islands of Indonesia were the only source of the world’s most valued spices. The most treasured and valued 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 valued amongst the elite. We will travel ashore on Banda Island where a stroll through the local markets promises all of the aromas, colour and characters of the vibrant Spice Islands.
The centrepiece of our expedition is a 5-day exploration through the rarely-visited Raja Ampat region. The archipelago is made up of about 1500 islands in seven Marine Protected Areas, and harbours over 75% of the world’s coral species and 75% of the world’s fish species.
dates & prices
There are no trips scheduled for this expedition.
Day 1: Wewak
Board Oceanic Discoverer this afternoon from 2:00pm, ahead of our 5:00pm departure from Wewak. Settle in, meet your travelling companions and enjoy the onboard facilities as we make our way towards our first Papuan landfall in Jayapura.
Day 2: Jayapura
Overnight we cross into West Papua Waters ahead of our arrival in 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. Visit Lake Sentani, the location of General Douglas MacArthur’s main base during WWII and home of villagers famed for their distinctive art, traditional motifs, sago bowls, drums and bark paintings.
Day 3: Pulau Unsamfursi
Travel ashore to Pulau Insamfursi, a small island in the Biak Island group ringed by a beautiful white sand beach and colourful coral reefs. Enjoy an afternoon of in-water activities including snorkelling, glass bottom boat tours, kayaking and optional SCUBA diving. The island is covered in lush rainforest and is home to many endemic mammals and brightly coloured birdlife including the small tree-climbing Geelvink Pygmy Parrot and Biak Scrubfowl. Join the Expedition Leader for a walk across the island through prehistoric rainforest.
Day 4: At Sea
Ahead of our arrival in Raja Ampat we spend a day at sea enjoying Oceanic Discoverer’s onboard facilities and views of the New Guinea northern coastline. Join the Expedition Leader and Guest Lecturers in the Lounge for an informative introduction to Raja Ampat and an overview of our activities planned for the coming days which are sure to be a highlight of the voyage.
Day 5: Wayag Island and Raja Ampat
Savour a day of exploration on Wayag Island, one of the famed ‘Four Kings’ of the Raja Ampat region. Our day starts with a discovery of the lagoon’s white sand beaches and a magical maze of limestone karst ‘gumdrop’ islands. There will also be ample opportunity for a full range of in-water activities. The islands are adorned with thousands of pitcher plants and colourful orchids and we’ll spend the remainder of the day exploring. For the more energetic there may be an opportunity to climb Pindito Peak where the reward is breathtaking views over the island and its spectacular lagoon. This evening we remain at our scenic Wayag Island anchorage and enjoy sunset drinks and a tropical BBQ on the Sun Deck. With the bright stars of the Milky Way shining brightly overhead, it is sure to be a fantastic end to another magical day.
Day 6: Pulau Gam and Kaibui Bay
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 join a guided tour of the South Seas Pearl 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.
Day 7: Penemu, Groot Fam and Paradise Island
This morning we explore uninhabited Penemu Island and discover one of Raja Ampat’s best kept secrets ‘Hidden Bay’. We call in at the rarely-visited island of Fam, which is home to a large, traditional fishing village. Later, immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Raja Ampat. On the aptly-named Paradise Island a profusion of plankton attracts giant manta rays and you have the opportunity to swim with these majestic creatures.
Day 8: Misool Islands of Raja Ampat
The Misool Islands 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 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 9: 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, kayaking and glass bottom-boat tours.
Day 10: 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. Immerse yourself in the colours and aromas of the Spice Islands. Stroll through the wide, tree-lined streets, 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 11: Banda Sea Volcanoes
The Banda Sea is home to many active volcanoes and today we enjoy a true expedition as we investigate two of the most imposing calderas in the region. At Pulau Serua, one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, we cruise around the island and admire views of the permanent plume of volcanic gases escaping from the crater and at least two lava streams formed during earlier eruptions, the last of which occurred in 1921. Later, we visit Pulau Nila, where the most recent eruption in 1968 caused the locals of Rumadai village to flee. Nila rises some 781 metres above sea level and if conditions permit we plan to travel ashore for a close up inspection of the caldera.
Day 12: Tanimbar Islands
Awaken as we approach the Tanimbar Islands. The islands are surrounded by pristine white sand beaches fringed with palm trees. Travel ashore to the small village of Sangliat Dol and climb an antique stone staircase to view the well preserved stone boat which is used by the locals in ancestor worship ceremonies. Later, in Saumlaki, the main town in the Tanimbar Islands, we have the opportunity to explore and witness master carvers producing magnificent queen ebony wood carvings which 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 13: At Sea
Spend the day at leisure enjoying the onboard facilities as we cross the Timor Sea. Join our Expedition Staff is the ship’s lounge for a recap of the many enriching experiences on this once-in-a-lifetime journey. This evening, enjoy our final night onboard and join your fellow travellers, the Captain and his crew at the Captain’s Farewell Drinks as we sail toward Darwin, gateway to Australia’s ‘Top End’.
Day 14: Arrive Darwin
08:00am: Our unforgettable Raja Ampat and Spice Islands expedition concludes in Darwin this morning.
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.