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Sunrise over Mount Kinabalu

Between Papua & Indonesia

Example 18 Day Cruise aboard L'Austral
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Join this 18-day voyage aboard L'Austral on a one- of-a- kind cruise to the heart of the Asian archipelagos. From Port Vila, capital of Vanuatu, discover the Solomon Islands, a true tropical Eden, then head for Papua New Guinea, the last refuge of numerous Papuan tribes. Set a course for Malaysia and its lands of legend to conclude your expedition.
Bornean pygmy elephants looking cute by the river
  • Explore jungle-covered islets of Raja Ampat, a UNESCO site and diving site
  • Visit traditional villages and encounter ethnic peoples of Papua New Guinea
  • Enjoy Sandakan, a natural paradise, and encounter orangutans
  • Venture out on daily outings in Zodiac dinghies with naturalist-guides
Places Visited
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Embark in Port Vila, Vanuatu

Arrive in Port Vila and embark L'Austral between 4 and 5 PM this evening. Settle in to your cabin and familiarize yourself with the ship and her crew.

Day 2: Santa Ana, Solomon Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The people of the Solomons make up Oceania’s three main cultural groups: Melanesia, Polynesia, and Micronesia. It is here that these three cultures merge and cohabit as one nation, proud of their unique cultural identity. Solomon Islanders have a rich cultural heritage commonly called kastoms, which vary from one province to another. Communal, clan, and family ties remain very strong. 1942 saw the world descend on the Solomon Islands as Japanese and American-led Allied Forces turned the islands into a theater of war. 
The age old custom (kastom) was allegedly handed down from ancestral spirits through one generation to another, forming the basis of cultural values in the Solomon Islands. Despite the predominance of devout Christians, traditional Solomon Island practices are still being followed, especially by those living inland on the larger islands. Off the beaten path, village life remains much as it has been for centuries. While some villages do welcome strangers, not all do, so it’s always good practice to ask local authorities before setting out to visit these remote and far-flung areas. 
Today the number of local languages listed for the Solomon Islands is 74, of which 70 are living languages. English is the official language of the Solomons, but Pijin is spoken by about half the population. 
On arrival this morning, disembark the ship by zodiac directly onto the beach and be welcomed by the Warrior Challenge (or Mara-mara-tafa). This is a traditional welcome performed by selected men who are armed with spears and shield. Several colorful performances follow, such as pan pipers, women’s dances, conch shell blowing dance, and traditional wedding performances. Finally the famous Aimatawa with men in full body paint of red soil challenge the Aifonofono men in black charcoal body paint. This particular performance depicts the ancient rivalry between the two races to conquer the island.
Guests may wish to join a local guide for a 2-hour walk through the forest to the sacred spirit house. 

Day 3: Honiara

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Honiara is the capital city of Solomon Islands, administered as a provincial town on the northwestern coast of Guadalcanal Island. As of 2009 it had a population of 64,609 people. The name Honiara derives from nagho ni ara which roughly translates as "place of the east wind" or "facing the southeast wind" in one of the Guadalcanal languages. 
The Battle of Henderson Field (1942), the last of the three major land offensives conducted by the Japanese during the Guadalcanal Campaign of World War II, took place in what is now the airport area about 11 kilometers (6.8 mi) to the east of the city center. During the battle, the U.S. Marine and Army forces, under the overall command of Major General Alexander Vandegrift, repulsed an attack by the Japanese 17th Army under the command of Japanese Lieutenant General Harukichi Hyakutake. 
Honiara officially became the capital of the British Protectorate of Solomon Islands in 1952. The infrastructure had been fairly well developed by the U.S. during the war which dictated the decision of the British Government to shift the capital from Tulagi to Honiara.
The Guadalcanal American Memorial was built at the initiative of Robert F Reynolds to mark the 50th anniversary of the Red Beach landings. The U.S. War Memorial was dedicated on August 7, 1992. The Solomon Islands Peace Memorial Park, built by the Japanese war veterans in memory of all those who were killed in World War II, is about 3.5 km/2.2 mi down the coastal road. There are numerous other relics from World War II in and around Honiara. Also seen is the memorial erected in honor of Sergent Major Jacob Vouza, a highly decorated war hero who escaped after the Japanese tortured him and lived to tell his story.

Choose between a tour focusing on WWII history or a village cultural tour. 

Day 4: Mbike

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 5: Kennedy Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 6: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Relax as your ship sails today and prepare for your next stop.

Day 7: Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 8: Kopar Village, Sepik river

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The people of the Sepik region speak more than 250 languages and are knitted together in systems of trade and cultural interaction. Life revolves around the river, with men paddling narrow dugout canoes full of goods for trade, women fishing or making sago, and children joyfully swinging from trees to splash down in the river. The Sepik is a gallery of tribal art - each village boasts a unique style and every villager is an artisan. Kopar Village’s location at the mouth of the Sepik river makes it an important trading point for surrounding villages, from as far west as the Murik Lakes to the Ramu River in the east. Here the crocodile is worshiped as the water spirit. In excruciatingly painful ceremonies young men have their backs cut to resemble the markings of the crocodile, which is a symbol of strength and power.
As is custom in all Sepik societies, the men's house is the place where important decisions regarding the village are made, where boys are initiated and become men, and where ceremonies to please the spirits are performed. 

In the morning the ship makes a brief stop at Wewak for clearance formalities and then continues to Kopar in the early afternoon. Transfer ashore for a welcome ceremony and cultural performance. Walk around the village to experience traditional life in the lower Sepik, as well as have ample opportunity to purchase artifacts (only local currency accepted - Papua New Guinea Kina). 

Day 9: Jayapura, Irian Jaya - Indonesia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Jayapura is the capital and largest city in Papua, Indonesia. It is situated on the island of New Guinea on a slope overlooking the bay. The city has been known in the past as Hollandia (1910-1962), Kota Baru (1962-1963), and even Sukarnopura (1963-1968). Among ethnic Papuans, it is also known as Port Numbai, the former name before the arrival of immigrants. The literal meaning of Jayapura is ‘City of Victory’. The reason for that name is that Suharto, the second president of Indonesia, wanted to mention his victories while fighting Operation Trikora against the Netherlands during Indonesia’s struggle against colonialism. In 1942, the northern part of Dutch New Guinea was occupied by Japanese forces. The area served as General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters until the conquest of the Philippines in 1945. In 1945, the Dutch made Hollandia the capital of Netherlands New Guinea. The city retained the name of Jayapura when Indonesia took control. As Jayapura is in a very remote and isolated part of the world, resources (transportation and guides) are scarce and may not be of the standards you are used to - patience and understanding is essential. 

Papua, West New Guinea or formerly Irian Jaya, is a land of apocalypse, where the earth dances, the mountains speak, the doors of the spirit open, and men are shaken by obscure trances. Experience the culture, customs, beautiful scenery, and warm and friendly Papua people during your visit. 
From the port embark non- air-conditioned local transportation for your tour of Jayapura and surroundings. A 30-minute drive brings you to Lake Sentani jetty where you then board a local style wooden boat for a one-hour journey on the tranquil waters of Lake Santani. Upon reaching Assey Village, a traditional tribal village, be welcomed by a traditional cultural performance and see local carvings and bark paintings. Re-embark the local boat for the 30-minute return cruise to the jetty.
Discover the vast collection of Papauan artifacts and tribal art at the Loka Budaya Museum. Some of the exhibitions were funded by donations from the philanthropic Rockefeller family, in commemoration of Michael Rockefeller who disappeared in 1961 during an art-collecting expedition to the Asmat region of Papua.

Day 10: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
If you haven't already, use this day at sea to take advantage of your ship's many luxurious amenities.

Day 11: Wayag Islands - Raja Ampat archipelago

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Situated off the northwest tip of the Bird's Head Peninsula on New Guinea Island, Raja Ampat, or the Four Kings, comprises over 1,500 small islands, cays, and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo.
According to Conservation International, the diversity of marine life is greater than any other area sampled in The Coral Triangle. The Coral Triangle is the heart of the world's coral reef biodiversity, making Raja Ampat quite possibly the richest coral reef ecosystems in the world. The Raja Ampat islands are remote and relatively undisturbed by humans. The coral diversity, resilience, and its role as a source for larval dispersal make it a global priority for marine protection. The variety of marine life is staggering; 1,508 fish species, 537 coral species (a remarkable 75% of the world’s known species) and 699 mollusk species. 
Wayag Island is known for its beautiful atolls and amazing underwater life covering a total area of 155,000 hectares (about 383,013.3 acres). Here, you find pristine beaches with unique Karst islands that look like mushrooms sprouting out from the sea. Swim and snorkel in the clear tropical waters from one of the isolated beaches. Time and weather permitting, you may also undertake a zodiac cruise to enjoy the spectacular scenery. 

Day 12: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As you make your way to your next port in Indonesia, take some time to finally open that book you brought, chat with fellow travelers, or simply enjoy the sea breeze.

Day 13: Pulau Lihaga | Bunaken National Park Sulawesi

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 14: Tangkoko National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 15: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 16-17: Sandakan, Borneo, Malaysia

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners

Day 18: Disembark in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia

  • 1 Breakfast
Following breakfast on board, disembark in Kota Kinabalu. Transfer to the airport for your homeward journey.

Photo Gallery

Sunrise over Mount Kinabalu Bornean pygmy elephants looking cute by the river Traditional hut in Papua New Guinea Orangutan walking through the jungle Remote lagoon in Papua New Guinea




Enjoy a gourmet meal at the Gastronomic Restaurant.
Stunning views from the bar and lounge
Relax on the sun deck.

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
Superior Stateroom
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Superior Stateroom
8 cabins, 226 sq ft, located on Le Champollion Deck. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area and private bath.
Deluxe Stateroom
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Deluxe Stateroom
28 cabins, 200 sq ft with private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite
3 suites, 290 sq ft with 54 sq ft private balcony, located on the Le France Deck. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, desk, minibar, private bath.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite - Deck 5
398 sq ft with 86 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living area, private bath.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite - Deck 6
398 sq ft with 86 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living area, private bath.
Owner's Suite
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Owners Suite
484 sq ft with 97 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living, dining areas, private bath with large tub and shower, minibar, 2 flat screen TVs, DVD, CD, and IPOD, Video on demand, Satellite phone


*Rates are capacity controlled and are subject to change without notice.

Cruise fares are per person and include the following:
• English speaking lecturer
• All meals while on board the ship 
• Captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner
• Open bar, tea, filter coffee, water, a selection of cruise wines white, red and rosé offered during meals, afternoon tea
• Evening entertainment and events
• Luggage transfer from pier to the ship and vice versa
• 24h room service (special selection)
• Water sports activities using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite
• Park entry fees into protected area

Cruise fares do not include:
• Airport taxes (subject to modification)
• Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned
• Optional Spa package to be booked prior your departure; please ask for more information
• Optional shore excursions
• Beverages other than the ones mentioned
• Laundry services, hair salon and à la carte Spa treatments
• Personal expenses, on board medical consultations and drug prescriptions
• Cancellation/luggage/assistance/repatriation/medical insurance(s)
• Visa, disembarkation taxes, environmental taxes and/or national park fees if applicable


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This was our first trip to South America and we were a little nervous. But Adventure Life made things so easy! All our questions were answered before we left, and our guide, Vidal, was amazing! He gave us enough space to explore without rushing us along. He also knew where the best picture taking opportunities were, which was great.
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