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The mouth of the Sepik River

Exploring the Cultures & Wildlife of Papua New Guinea

Example 14 Day Cruise aboard Oceanic Discoverer (LI)
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Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Cairns, Australia
Day 2 : Cairns
Day 3 : Rabaul, Papua New Guinea
Day 4 : Garove Island (Witu Islands)
Day 5 : Crown Island
Day 6 : Sepik River
Day 7 : Madang
Day 8 : Tuam & Tami Islands
Day 9 : Lababia & Kamiali
Day 10 : Tufi
Day 11 : Trobriand Islands
Day 12 : Fergusson and Dobu Islands
Day 13 : Disembark / Port Moresby
Day 14 : Port Moresby / Return Home


Oceanic Discoverer (LI)

Places Visited

  • Australia
  • Papua New Guinea
  • South Pacific
  • Alotau
  • Cairns
  • Crown Island
  • Dobu Island
  • East New Britain
  • Fergusson Island
  • Kuranda
  • Lababia
  • Madang
  • Port Moresby
  • Rabaul
  • Sepik River
  • Tami Island
  • Trobriand Islands
  • Tuam Island
  • Tufi
  • Witu Islands


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

The mouth of the Sepik River Skilled colorful carvings on the Septik River Enjoy amazing snorkelling The 1994 eruption of the Tuvurvur Volcano

Day 1 Cairns, Australia

Arrive in Cairns, where you spend two nights at the fine Shangri-La Hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax and explore on your own. This evening gather for welcome drinks and dinner. (D)

Day 2 Cairns

Spend the morning exploring, taking the renowned Kuranda Scenic Railway to the lively town of Kuranda, known for its markets and galleries. The rest of the day is at leisure. (B)

Day 3 Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

A morning private charter flight brings you to 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. 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. Then embark Oceanic Discoverer, your home for the next ten nights, and sail past Tavurvur for a close-up look at the ash clouds and pyrotechnics. (B,L,D)

Day 4 Garove Island (Witu Islands)

The fringing reef surrounding Garove Island offers fine swimming, snorkeling and views from the 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 landing you will be treated to a “singsing” by your enthusiastic hosts and will have a chance to tour the church and recently built community house. (B,L,D)

Day 5 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 boat are excellent. (B,L,D)

Day 6 Sepik River

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 a community where you have a chance to meet local residents, learn about their lives and can take photos and purchase artwork. Also look to go bird-watching along some of the channels along the river. (B,L,D)

Day 7 Madang

The picturesque town of Madang lies on a peninsula backed by mountain ranges. Visit lovely Haya Village, set in the hills, and take in a “singsing.” Afterward, those who wish can walk the steep trails of the surrounding rain forest 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! (B,L,D)

Day 8 Tuam & Tami Islands

Tuam Island’s friendly residents make their living by conducting trade between the outer islands and the New Guinea mainland. They’ll guide us to their village and you’ll have a chance to take in “singsings” and see the handicrafts. Tami Island, where you’ll spend the afternoon, consists of coral atolls that offer outstanding snorkeling and glass bottom boat excursions — a setting that very much lives up to its location in the South Pacific. Look at the reefs and colorful fish that inhabit them. (B,L,D)

Day 9 Lababia & Kamiali

The village of Lababia is the gateway to the forests and wildlife of the Kamiali Wildlife Management Area. The adventurous can tackle the renowned, steep David Suzuki Trail in search of birds that include cockatoos, parrots, hornbills and, if you’re lucky, perhaps even a bird of paradise. There will also be opportunities to swim and visit the village. (B,L,D)

Day 10 Tufi

Remote Tufi consists of a spectacular network of fjords flanked by towering basalt cliffs. You’ll have a variety of activities here, including excellent snorkeling and viewing by glass bottom boat, a visit to a village to learn about its culture, and an excursion by ship to a picturesque waterfall. (B,L,D)

Day 11 Trobriand Islands

The cultures of the Trobriands have been studied extensively, most famously by the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski, who developed methods of study used to this day. Learn about the complex traditional exchange system called the Kula exchange, and, on Kitava Island, will visit a yam house; yam exchanges are key to the lives of the islanders. You’ll also visit a school and a village. (B,L,D)

Day 12 Fergusson and Dobu Islands

The volcanic islands of Fergusson and Dobu form part of the D’Entrecasteaux group, named after the French explorer who visited them in 1792. On Fergusson, visit the impressive Dei Dei Hot Springs, where the landowner shares the mythical and spiritual tales of these hot water and mud springs. You will be greeted by a flotilla of canoes as you approach the anchorage at tiny Dobu, and after landing the local primary school children welcome you with a traditional dance performance. This evening, gather for farewell cocktails and dinner aboard ship. (B,L,D)

Day 13 Disembark / Port Moresby

In the morning, disembark the Oceanic Discoverer and fly from Alotau to Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby, where you will stay at the fine Airways Hotel. This afternoon, explore the town, seeing the National Museum, the outside of the Parliament building, built in the style of a spirit house, and a nearby village built on stilts. (B,L,D)

Day 14 Port Moresby / Return Home

Transfer to the airport for your independent connecting flights home. (B)

Oceanic Discoverer (LI)

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Category 1
Main Deck C01-C03. Two lower beds, writing desk, sofa, two viewing portholes.
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Category 2
Main Deck C04-C09. Lower beds, writing desk, sofa, two windows.
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Category 3
Promenade Deck B03-B22. Lower beds, writing desk, sofa and window.
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Category 4
Twin or double, oceanview, private facilities, individual air-conditioning control.
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Category 1S
Promenade Deck B01. Lower double bed, desk and window.


This Add-on is available only for our travelers extending or customizing their itinerary.

-Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy. Request the Twin Share Program where you are matched with a cabin mate of the same gender. Even if a cabin mate is not found for you, no single supplement will be charged.
-Single costs are 1.5 times the twin rate

Costs Include:
All accommodations aboard ships or in hotels per itinerary or similar, all meals and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship, meals on land as indicated, air transportation where indicated as included, shore excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees, special access permits, use of snorkeling equipment and wet suits, use of kayaks (where available), gratuities (except to ship’s crew), taxes and service charges, services of a ship physician on most voyages, and services of expedition staff.

Not Included:
Air transportation, extensions, passport, visa, immigration fees, scuba diving (where available), meals not indicated, baggage/accident/travel protection plan, items of a personal nature, such as alcoholic beverages, e-mail, and laundry. Gratuities to ship's crew at your discretion.
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Kevin M

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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