Exploring Papua New Guinea

  • 16 days
  • Voyage from Cairns, Australia to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea aboard the Oceanic Discoverer

Expedition Details


Board the deluxe Oceanic Discoverer and set out to discover one of the most remarkable places on Earth, where rain forests meet volcanic landscapes, coral reefs harbor brilliant marine life, and vibrant indigenous cultures exist much as they have for centuries. Explore Papua New Guinea’s unspoiled treasures on hikes, snorkeling and Zodiac excursions, and visits to remote villages.

Trip Highlights

    • Witness joyful sing-sings, celebrations of song and dance performed in ceremonial headdresses and body paint.
    • Explore the rich artistic heritage of the people of the Sepik River, and get to know the unusual culture of the little-known Trobriand Islands.
    • Discover coral reefs and underwater wildlife on snorkeling and diving excursions, or from the unique vantage point of a glass-bottom boat.
    • Join our extension to the Tari Highlands of Papua New Guinea and visit the ornately decorated wigmen of the Huli tribe.

Itinerary - 16 Days

Days 1, 2, & 3 — U.S./Cairns, Australia

Depart for Australia, crossing the international date line and losing a day en route. Arrive in Cairns, and check into our hotel on the marina. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure before gathering for dinner.
Shangri-La Hotel (D)

Day 4 — Kuranda/Cairns

Board the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway and ride into the rain forest, passing waterfalls and stunning gorges. Arrive in the town of Kuranda, nestled in the jungle, and wander among its lively markets and galleries. Return to Cairns in the afternoon and explore the city on your own.

Day 5 — Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

Fly by private charter to Rabaul, a town still buried in thick grey ash from the eruption of nearby Mt. Tavurvur in 1994. Wander through the eerie, lunar-like townscape, and explore the remains of a Japanese ship hidden in a cave during World War II . Embark the Oceanic Discoverer this afternoon and sail past Tavurvur.

Days 6 & 7 — Garove Island/Crown Island

Our ship heads west towards the main island of Papua New Guinea, stopping at tiny and beautiful volcanic islands along the way. Off Garove Island, we’ll be greeted by locals in outrigger canoes. Go snorkeling on the nearby reef, take a swim in turquoise waters, or examine the marine life from a glass-bottom boat. Certified divers will have the opportunity to go on diving excursions in the company of a dive instructor. The next day, explore the reefs of Crown Island, and follow a trail through the lush vegetation to look for giant lizards, birdlife, and butterflies.
(B,L,D daily)

Day 8 — The Sepik River

The mighty Sepik River winds past age-old villages where artisans carve stunning masks and elaborate canoes, tribal leaders convene in mystical spirit houses, and children fish in dugouts near the shore. Visit a village along the Sepik, learn about the rich artistic and spiritual traditions of the local community, and witness everyday life on the river. Board the ship’s excursion boat to explore a channel of the river, on the lookout for interesting vegetation and rare birdlife.

Day 9 — Madang

Dock in Madang and take a short drive to Haya, a lovely village set among the hills. Local families treat us to a sing sings, a traditional performance of music, dance, and ceremonial dress. Examine elaborate costumes of hibiscus fibers, flowers, and body paint. If you wish, hike a steep trail into the rain forest in search of cassowaries and other wildlife. This afternoon, explore the markets of Madang on your own.

Days 10 & 11 — Tuam and Tami Islands/Lababia

Spend the morning on Tuam Island, where we’ll get to know its friendly residents and watch sing sings that tell vivid stories. Peruse the local handicrafts before continuing to the atolls of Tami Island. Don snorkeling or diving gear (if a certified diver) and immerse yourself amid dazzling fish and corals, or take in the view from above in the glass-bottom boat. The following day, dock at Lababia, an island in the Kamiali Wildlife Management area. Rise early to tackle the David Suzuki Trail, searching for cockatoos, parrots, hornbills, and birds of paradise as we climb through the jungle. Or, take a stroll on the beach, go for a swim, and visit the village.
(B,L,D daily)

Days 12 & 13 — Tufi/Fergusson and Dobu Islands

Spend a day amid the fjords, reefs and basalt cliffs of the glorious Tufi coast. Meet villagers and learn about the local customs. Explore the rain forest and cruise to a spectacular waterfall. Our next landfall is the Fergusson and Dobu Islands. Explore the gurgling volcanic landscape of Dei Dei Hot Springs and discover the mythology behind the hot springs and mud pots. A flotilla of canoes greets us as we approach tiny Dobu, where primary school children welcome us with traditional dance.
(B,L,D daily)

Day 14 — Trobriand Islands

Explore the Trobriand Islands where an age-old culture remains largely unchanged. Learn about the islander's matrilineal social structure and complex exchange system, see a traditional yam house, and stop in a village school. This evening, toast our adventure at a farewell dinner aboard our ship.

Days 15 & 16 — Alotau/Port Moresby/U.S.

Disembark in Alotau and fly to the capital city, Port Moresby. Set off on a city tour, stopping at the National Museum, the Parliament, and a nearby village built on stilts. After breakfast the next day, transfer to the airport for your return flight.
Airways Hotel (B,L,D; B)

Lindblad/National Geographic Logo

This trip is offered in association with Lindblad Expeditions.


This expedition is not currently being offered.

Activity Level

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