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.
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. (B,L,D)
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. (B,L,D)
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. (B,L,D)
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)
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single cabin in 2013, add $3,740 in Category 1 and $4,000 in Category 2. Airfare is not included in the expedition cost. Economy airfare from Los Angeles to Cairns and return from Port Moresby is $2,500 (subject to change). The round-trip charter flight from Cairns to Rabaul and from Alotau to Port Moresby is $815 (subject to change).