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Snorkel the coral reefs of Indonesia

Iconic Melanesia: New Guinea, Sepik River & the Solomon Islands

Bali to Brisbane - Example 18 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Orion
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Set sail from Bali on an expedition to explore Indonesia's diverse cultural tapestry and picturesque tropical islands. Explore the entirety of this island nation's eastern half—Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. See areas that few outsiders have ever had the opportunity to view. Participate in enthusiastic welcome ceremonies in remote towns along the trip and step back in time as you hear about some of the Pacific Theater's bloodiest battles during WWII. As the National Geographic Orion makes her way to the Solomon Islands and Honiara, discover the amazing riverine world of the Asmat region, one of the globe's least-explored regions.
Wayag Islands, New GuineaBalinese dancerA pair of dragons on Komodo IslandSealife at Manuar Island, Raja Ampat, IndonesiaBeautiful wild coast of Raja Ampat, IndonesiaDancers in a Barong Dance showRelax on white-sand beaches with crystal blue watersLearn about the cultures of Papua New GuineaBrilliant textiles at a marketRemote lagoon in Papua New GuineaLearn about the cultures of Papua New GuineaSnorkel the coral reefs of Indonesia
Highlights
  • Cruise in Sepik River and discover the hidden communities and vibrant wildlife.
  • Witness an impressive diversity of cultures, see traditional communities & some “primitive” art.
  • Discover the timeless traditions and exquisite art of the Asmat people.
  • Learn about the ancient legends and modern history of Papua New Guinea.
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Bali, Indonesia

Arrive in Bali. Check in to the Fairmont Hotel (or similar). Meet your fellow travelers this evening at our welcome reception. 

Day 2: Bali | Sorong, West Papua | Embark

This morning, check out of the hotel and head off to explore this paradise, where life and art are interwoven. Following lunch depart on your charter flight to Sorong, West Papua, and embark on the National Geographic Orion.

Day 3-5: At Sea | Cendrawasih Bay | Yapan Islands

Settle into the comforts on board as you sail towards Cendrawasih Bay, one of the largest marine parks in Indonesia. Far off the beaten path, this region remains unspoiled and rarely visited. Explore the atolls and small islands, winding through mangroves and snorkeling in healthy coral reefs. You'll be on the lookout for the several species of sharks who inhabit these waters, including the endemic epaulet shark. With luck on our side, we may encounter the elusive dugong or a whale shark cruising through the deep trenches.

Day 6-7: Jayapura | At Sea

Located on the northern coast of New Guinea, Jayapura is the capital of Papua. You’ll head to Lake Sentani where you will visit the houses on stilts in the small fishing villages that dot the shoreline. The locals will share stories and traditions of life on the water. Admire the breathtaking views as you go in search of the myriad of birds found in the hills above that circle the city.

Day 8-9: Sepik River, Papua New Guinea

The communities along the Sepik River are renowned for their traditional dress and body decoration, for maintaining many of their traditional ways, and for the art which they produce. Sail up the serpentine course of the river and visit communities where you will meet residents, and learn about their daily lives and culture. This river is also home to a wide array of wildlife – over 100 fish species, saltwater crocodiles, birds of paradise, and dwarf cassowary to name just a few. You'll be on the lookout as you cruise the winding channels.

Day 10: Madang, Papua New Guinea

The picturesque town of Madang lies on a peninsula backed by mountain ranges. Visit the lovely Haya Village, set in the hills, and take in a “singsing.” Afterward, those who wish can walk the steep trails of the surrounding rainforest in search of wildlife. This afternoon, explore the markets and shops of Madang on your own, and be sure to look for flying foxes in the trees!

Day 11: Crown Island

Tiny, volcanic Crown Island offers a fine walk up a trail, where you can look for giant lizards, birdlife, and butterflies. The island’s beaches are important turtle nesting grounds. Spend the afternoon exploring the pristine nearby reefs, where the snorkeling and viewing from the glass-bottom Zodiac are excellent.

Day 12: Garove Island (Witu Islands)

The fringing reef surrounding Garove Island offers fine swimming, snorkeling, and views from our glass-bottom boat, and you will spend the morning there. As you approach Garove in the afternoon, you may be greeted by colorfully dressed local residents in outrigger canoes. The headdresses are particularly elaborate. After you land, you will be treated to a “singsing” by our enthusiastic hosts and will have a chance to tour the church and recently built community house.

Day 13: Rabaul

Arrive this morning in Rabaul, the capital of the island of New Britain, where the town was buried in ash by the massive eruption of Mt. Tavurvur in 1994—a landmark event. You will have a guided exploration of Rabaul, with views of the ash-covered town, and see the remains of a Japanese ship hidden in a cave during World War II. After sunset, witness the traditional fire dance of the Baining people—performed by young men as an initiation into adulthood. Later, sail past Tavurvur for a close-up look at the ash clouds and pyrotechnics.

Day 14-16: At Sea | Solomon Islands

Settled as early as 25,000 BC by skull-worshipping tribes, today the friendly Solomons remain some of the least visited, most dive-worthy South Pacific islands. This region was a strategic WWII battleground and visit Kennedy Island, named after President John F. Kennedy who swam ashore here after the Japanese sank his PT-109 patrol boat. You will meet the woodcarvers of Marovo, reported to be the best in the Pacific, and explore isolated Marovo Lagoon, a proposed UNESCO site and an exceptional spot for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and diving.

Day 17: Honiara | Disembark | Brisbane, Australia

The expedition concludes in Honiara, a former U.S. supply depot and a strategic WWII battleground. Tour around the outskirts of the city to see sites well known from the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942-43. See the shores of Red Beach and the vital airbase at Henderson Field. Visit the hills above Honiara where some of the fiercest battles took place. Then, transfer to the airport for our flight to Brisbane, where you will overnight at a local hotel.

Day 18: Brisbane, Australia | Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Depart this morning for your flight home

Ship/Hotel

National Geographic Orion

Keep in shape in the exercise room aboard the National Geographic Orion
The National Geographic Orion is sleek and at your service
The lovely National Geographic Orion

Bali - Hotels

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
Rates are subject to change without notice. Book early to get the best rate.
National Geographic Orion's Category 1 Cabin.
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Category 1
Cat 1 #316, 318-321. Cabins feature a luminous oval window and configurable beds: two single beds, two beds converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed. An armchair, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the amenities. Marble bathrooms are generously sized and include a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
Your  Category B Stateroom on the National Geographic Orion
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Category 1 Single
Cat 1S #301, 322, 323. These solo cabins feature a window or two portholes, a queen-size bed, except for #301 which has a double bed, writing desk and chair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Marble bathrooms are generously sized and include a roomy shower stall with a glass door.
A Category A Stateroom on the National Geographic Orion
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Category 2
Cat 2 #302-312, 314, 315, 317. Cabins feature a luminous oval window and configurable beds: two single beds, two beds converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed. An armchair, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the amenities. Marble bathrooms are generously sized, and include a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
A lovely category 3 suite on the National Geographic Oion
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Category 3
Cat 3 Suite with Window #401-412, 414-419. These suites feature a sitting area with a large window, a sofa–except slightly smaller #401 & #402–an armchair or two, writing/laptop desk, reading lamps, flat screen TV, & climate controls. Beds are configurable (call for details). Marble bathrooms include a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
National Geographic Orion's Category 3 Cabin.
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Category 3 Single
Cat 3S Suite with Window #512. This solo suite features two beds and two large windows, plus two armchairs and small table, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls. The marble bathroom is generously sized and includes a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
National Geographic Orion's Category 4 Cabin.
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Category 4
Cat 4 Deluxe Suite with Window #511, 515. These two suites feature separate sleeping and sitting areas, with a chair and armchair and a two-cushion sofa facing an expansive window. Beds are configurable (call for details). Ample storage, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the amenities.
National Geographic Orion's Category 5 Cabin.
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Category 5
Cat 5 Suite with French Balcony #501, 503-506, 508. These spacious suites feature open living areas and sliding glass doors opening to a shared French balcony. Beds are configurable (call for details.) A sitting area with arm chairs and a sofa, a writing/laptop desk, well-placed reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the decor.
National Geographic Orion's Category 6 Cabin.
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Category 6
Cat 6 Owner’s Suite with French Balcony #502, 507, 509*, 510. These large, elegant suites feature a French balcony, with the exception of #509 which has double windows. Each provides a separate living area with a sofa and two arm chairs, except for #502, which uniquely offers a 'soaking tub with a view' in addition to a shower stall and expansive vanity.

Notes

Single supplement varies by itinerary. A solo traveler matching program may be available but is subject to availability.
Included
  • 17 Breakfasts, 16 Lunches, 16 Dinners
  • 17 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Assistance by the onboard National Geographic Photography Expert
  • Access to the OM System Photo Gear Locker with the latest gear to try out on loan (aboard Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet) 
  • Beer, wine, cocktails, and spirits are available aboard the ship. Additionally, a selection of super premium wines and liquors is offered for purchase.
  • Crew gratuities
  • Complimentary Starlink-enabled Wi-Fi internet is available to all guests aboard Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet, enabling email, messaging, and social media.
  • Park and site entrance fees, special access permits, and port taxes
  • Excursions, hotels, and airport transfers, as indicated in the itinerary 
  • Selection of exploration tools curated to your destination, such as Zodiacs and glass-bottom boats, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, snorkeling equipment (including wetsuits, masks, and fins), and other state-of-the-art gear
  • Guidance and company of leading expedition staff
  • All meals as indicated in the itinerary, both aboard and onshore. Meals are inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible
  • Hors d’oeuvres inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible
  • 24-hour access to snacks, premium coffees and teas, non-alcoholic beverages, and filtered water
  • Presentations on your destination by expedition staff and expert guest speakers
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
  • The services of a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or paramedic  where available
  • Morning stretch classes and 24-hour access to exercise equipment where available
  • 24-hour access to lounges, observation decks, library stocked with regionally relevant literature, and other shared spaces 
  • Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Laundry, spa treatments, scuba diving, Wi-Fi and phone services (except when indicated as included)
  • We strongly recommend our guests to take Travel Protection Plan. A Plan with comprehensive coverage to protect you from cancellation fees, costs incurred due to trip delays/interruption, damaged or lost baggage, medical assistance, and evacuation during your travels
  • Airfare (except flights when indicated as included), pre- and post-expedition extensions, additional hotel nights, and private transfers (except when indicated as included)
  • Travel protection plans and passport, visa, and immigration fees 
  • Enhanced and premium Wi-Fi plans, which may enable video chat, web browsing, and streaming (connectivity permitting)

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Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.
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