Introduction Papua New Guinea is home of the largest area of intact rainforest outside of the Amazon and guests will discover magnificent scenery ranging from colourful coral atolls to volcanic mountains, pristine wilderness areas and mighty rivers. The country’s secret forests nurture over 3,000 varieties of strikingly coloured orchids and many rare species of birds and insects, including the world’s largest butterfly, the Queen Alexandria Birdwing – whose wingspan reaches up to 30 centimetres! There are 700 species of birds, including parrots, hornbills, cassowaries, cockatoos and kingfishers, but the country is best known for its brilliantly coloured birds of paradise. Day 1: Depart Cairns After boarding Coral Discoverer at 10:00am for an 11:00am departure we leave Cairns on the start of our great Papua New Guinea expedition. Take the opportunity to explore your new home for the next 12 nights. Enjoy an evening sunset drink before sitting down to the first of many delicious dinners. Day 2: At Sea Having passed through the Great Barrier Reef we continue northeast towards the China Strait. Enjoy the facilities and get to know your travelling companions. This afternoon, join our Expedition Leader and knowledgeable Guest Lecturers in the Lounge for presentations and briefings on Papua New Guinea ahead of our arrival in Alotau. Day 3: Alotau Enjoy waking up to the scenery of the China Strait as we approach our first Papua New Guinea landfall – Alotau. Our experienced Guest Lecturers will interpret the traditional welcome dances prior to leading us on a tour of historic Alotau. Reboarding Oceanic Discoverer, we cruise Milne Bay and see the World War II military history of this region before the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Drinks. Day 4: 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 a walk to the Dei Dei Hot Springs where the landowner shares the mythical and spiritual tales of these hot water and mud springs. Day 5: Trobriand Islands and Kuiawa Historically known as the ‘Islands of Love’ the Trobriands offer a glimpse of traditional culture largely unspoilt by outside influence. On the island of Kuiawa witness traditional Trobriand dance performed by the colourfully costumed locals. Day 6: Tufi Fjords Today 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 spectacular views as we cruise close to the towering cliffs before boarding Xplorer to travel ashore to meet the friendly locals. Then, enjoy a leisurely swim and snorkel over colourful fringing reefs. Day 7: Lababia – Wildlife Management Area and Fly Island 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 Guest Lecturers and local guides, walk the David Suzuki Trail through the prehistoric rainforest. With luck, we many see some of the prolific native birdlife including hornbills, parrots, palm cockatoos and the iconic Raggiana Bird of Paradise. Enjoy an afternoon of in-water activities at Fly Island, which has some of the best coral reefs in all of Papua New Guinea to discover through snorkelling, SCUBA diving, glass bottom boat tours and kayaking. Day 8: The Idyllic Islands of Tuam and Tami Tuam and Tami, in the Siassi group of islands, offer a mix of both mainland and Bismarck Archipelago cultures. Their prized trinkets and decorations include dog’s teeth, spondyllus shells and wonderful balsa wood and sago bark headdresses. Witness the locals perform their traditional welcome dances and savour the warm village hospitality. Day 9: Historic Madang Madang sits on a peninsula surrounded by a number of picturesque islands and is famed for its diving, with excellent visibility and many World War II wrecks to explore. Discover the town, including the markets where there is the opportunity to purchase a large selection of artefacts from the Sepik region. Enjoy diving, snorkelling, swimming and a harbour exploration. Day 10: Sepik River and Volcanic Manam Island Sure to be a highlight, this morning we enter the mouth of the mighty Sepik River – one of the world’s great river systems. Only aboard Oceanic Discoverer will you cruise well up into the middle Sepik region, renowned for its unique artefacts. Visit the remote village of Bien where the locals are amongst the greatest primitive artists on earth. Enjoy the opportunity to purchase unique hand carvings. On farewelling the great Sepik we pass the active volcano on Manam Island and enjoy the sunset. Day 11: Crown Island Join our Expedition Leader and Guest Lecturers aboard Xplorer and head ashore on this uninhabited island. Known as a turtle nesting ground and home of the giant lizard we explore the beaches of this seldom visited island. Spend time relaxing or snorkelling in the beautiful clear waters. Day 12: Witu Islands and Kimbe Bay With the support of local guides, our Expedition Leader will lead us on an exploration of the region. Kimbe Bay has one of the world’s richest and most diverse coral reef systems, home to over 860 different species of tropical fish and in excess of 400 different varieties of coral. Here we experience genuine island friendliness and hospitality. This evening, join your new-found friends and our staff at the Captain’s Farewell Cocktails. Day 13: Rabaul We enter magnificent Simpson Harbour early in the morning, passing the striking islands known as the ‘Beehives’. Our arrival in Rabaul at 8:00am marks the end of our voyage of exploration and adventure. If time permits you may wish to explore the ‘ghost town’ of old Rabaul that lies under volcanic ash deposited when Mt Tuvurvur erupted in 1994. On most departures a direct charter flight is available directly from Rabaul to Cairns at the conclusion of the cruise. Please enquire for more details. This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel.
Launched in 2005 Coral Discoverer set a new benchmark standard for luxury small ship cruising in Australia and the South Pacific. The state-of-the-art 1800-tonne Coral Discoverer embarks on expedition cruises around Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, South-east Asia and the island archipelagos of Melanesia. Coral Discoverer is equipped with latest technology active stabilisers to ensure comfortable cruising in open waters and is fitted with state-of-the-art safety and navigation equipment and wireless internet facilities.
Coral Discoverer was built to the exacting international SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) standards and specifications by NQEA shipyard in Cairns, Australia with one aim in mind; to create the ultimate small ship cruising experience in the South Pacific. Australian flagged, and staffed entirely by an Australian and New Zealand crew, your cruise aboard Coral Discoverer will remain in your memory for a lifetime.