Arrive in Bali and board the National Geographic Orion for your Indonesian adventure! (D)
Stop at the Indonesian island of Sumbawa and attend a lively cultural display put on by local villagers. Among the festivities, witness a traditional wedding ceremony and a local boxing match. (B,L,D)
Arrive at Komodo National Park, home to the world’s largest living lizard: the Komodo dragon. Join the park rangers to learn about the conservation of these prehistoric giants and take a hike to spot the lizards in their natural habitat. Enjoy an afternoon of swimming, snorkeling, or beachcombing at 'Pink Beach,' named for the coral fragments that lend their color to the sand. (B,L,D)
Journey to Flores, a small island which was once an important Portuguese sandalwood trading center. Visit the town of Larantuka, a refuge for deserters of the Dutch East India Company, and meet with the locals to learn about their history and customs. Travel to the island of Alor, known for the rich biodiversity of its reefs, and venture to its rugged interior to experience the traditions of the indigenous population. Visit a market selling intricate ikat textiles, and marvel at ancient bronze moko drums at a local museum. (B,L,D)
Amid the glittering Banda Sea lie isolated coral reefs and atolls. Take a day to explore these tropical gems, then sail into the Moluccas archipelago, also known as Maluku or the Spice Islands. Visit the nutmeg-rich island of Run, which played a pivotal role in the 17th century spice wars and was traded by the British in exchange for the Dutch island of New Amsterdam, later renamed New York. Delve into the history of the Dutch East India Company at Bandanaira island, and go swimming and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters. (B,L,D)
In true expedition fashion, these two days remain flexible to take full advantage of the conditions of the moment. Whether exploring on walks ashore, or with mask, fins and snorkel, this region is rich with possibilities.
Arrive in the enchanting Asmat region, which spreads across mud flats and mangrove forests, with raised wooden boardwalks linking one village to the next. Elaborately painted “warriors” escort you to one of the stilt villages on shore to attend a fascinating welcome ceremony.
Your next exploration is dictated by the tides, as you venture to neighboring villages by Zodiac and encounter the ancient culture of the Asmat people, who are renowned for their woodcarving. (B,L,D)
Spend a relaxing day at sea before sailing into the Torres Strait. Stop at Thursday Island to learn about the pearl industry which once made this island known, and continue on to explore Cape York. (B,L,D)
Spend two days immersed in the wonders of the world's largest reef system: Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel or dive with a vast amounts of marine life, including starfish, sea anemones, reef sharks and turtles. Cruise south along the Queensland coast to Lizard Island National Park, a secluded group of islands considered sacred by the indigenous Dingaal people. Explore the white-sand beaches and coral gardens inhabited by colorful fish and giant clams. (B,L,D)
Arrive in Cairns and disembark. Transfer to the airport for your connecting flights. (B)