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Locals of Papua New Guinea dressed in traditional headdress.

Melanesia Discoverer

Example 14 Day Cruise aboard Spirit of Enderby
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Uncover the hidden gems of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. From the culturally rich arterial of the Sepik River, sail north across the Bismarck Sea to the remote shores of Manus and Mussau Islands. Manus has the lowest density of people in all New Guinea with its people still living a very traditional lifestyle. Delve into the history, culture, and wildlife of New Ireland and New Britain. Cross the Buka Channel and at Nissan Island view reminders of the brief but intensive World War II activities. Then enter a long isolated world as you are amongst the first travelers to return to Bougainville in over two decades. These waters offer some of the greatest marine diversity in the world and everybody has the opportunity to snorkel, kayak, and appreciate the beauty beneath the waves. For birders this itinerary offers once-in-a-lifetime species on remote islands where few have been before. 
Swimming in the crystal blue waters of Papua New Guinea.Local of Melanesia wears a traditional headdress.Wandering through the swampy forests of Melanesia.Travelers enjoying the ocean view from the beach.Locals of Papua New Guinea dressed in traditional headdress.
Highlights
  • Uncover the hidden gems of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands
  • Snorkel waters with some of the greatest marine diversity in the world
  • Kayak along coral reefs, marine life, and locals in their dugout canoes
  • See once-in-a-lifetime bird species on remote islands where few have been
  • Delve into the history and culture of remote Melanesian communities
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: Madang, Papua New Guinea

  • 1 Dinner
Arrive in the port town of Madang and transfer to the Madang Resort for the first night. This evening meet with your fellow travelers and the expedition team over dinner at the resort.

Day 2: Embark in Madang

Madang is a thriving community renowned for its traditional artists, world-class diving opportunities, and the richness of its surrounding forests. This morning leave Madang for the highlands close to the township; here the tall forests contain a richly diverse wildlife. Arrive back in Madang with time to explore the colorful markets with your guides. Optional excursions are offered this morning for bird enthusiasts. This afternoon board the Spirit of Enderby, settle into your cabin, and join the captain and your expedition team on the bridge as you set sail.

Day 3: Sepik River

Sure to be one of the highlights of your expedition, the Sepik River is the longest river in Papua New Guinea. It is a rich arterial that has fostered great traditional artists. Plan to explore the river by Zodiac following tributaries and channels in search of local wildlife. Also meet with the villagers and marvel at their artistry.

Day 4-5: Manus Province

Seldom visited and little known, Manus Island is considered a jewel in the crown of Papua New Guinea. Biologically isolated, the islands are home to a high proportion of endemic species, including the superb pitta which is likely to be one of the birding highlights of the expedition. The waters around Manus offer some of the most spectacular and rich diving in the region - seldom explored waters promising a myriad of ‘first’ diving opportunities.

Day 6: Mussa Island

Mussa Island represents one of the western-most extensions of the Lapita culture. Spend time with the local people to learn about their special culture and life on this remote outpost in the Pacific.

Day 7: Kavieng, New Ireland

Historic Kavieng has significant evidence from the large Japanese occupation. Birders leave early for the highlands while the rest of the group spends the morning exploring the town of Kavieng and its history. Later snorkel in the clear waters of the local reefs.

Day 8: Rabaul, New Britain

Six beautifully cone-shaped volcanoes ring Rabaul’s dramatic flooded-caldera harbor. Visit the bubbling hot springs and take in magnificent views of the harbor and volcanoes from Observatory Ridge. 

Day 9: Nissan Island

A tropical atoll bathed in rich tropical currents, Nissan Island’s waters abound in marine life. Seldom has anybody had the opportunity to discover this world which promises abundant pelagic fish life and pristine coral reefs. Ashore there are still reminders of the brief but intensive World War II activities on this island. Meet with the friendly locals and search the dense woods for some of the elusive birds that occur here.

Day 10: Bougainville Island

Plan to be amongst the first expeditioners to re-discover the treasures of Bougainville, long isolated and in a strange way protected by the conflict which swirled around its shores. A pristine island paradise, it is home to some of the greatest biodiversity in the region both above and below the waters. With some of the most spectacular diving in the world, these reefs await rediscovery. Plan to explore the area around Arawa which offers great opportunities to access the island’s interior and reefs.

Day 11: Choiseul Island

Today arrive in the Solomon Islands on the remote northern coast of Choiseul Island. This was once the home of the Choiseul crested pigeon and while it no longer walks the forest floor, many other species still enliven the forest. Zodiac cruise deep into the mangrove forest towards the Sui River Falls searching for dugong and crocodiles.

Day 12: New Georgia Islands

The volcanic New Georgia Islands are found in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. Birding enthusiasts relish landing on Kolombangara Island, where you can hope to see the rare Roviana rail along with other endemic bird species. Nearby Ghizo Island has some of the best and most exciting diving in the world with World War II wrecks.

Day 13: Santa Isabel Island

The Arnavon Islands are northwest of Santa Isabel, an area rich in marine biodiversity and one of the most important rookeries in the Western Pacific for the endangered hawksbill turtle. The islands also support a high diversity of terrestrial fauna, with 41 species of birds, six species of bats, and at least seven species of terrestrial reptiles. Sensational diving and snorkeling can be experienced around the islands.

Day 14: Disembark in Honiara, Solomon Islands

  • 1 Breakfast
Honiara was founded by the British as a military base during World War II and was witness to the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Tour Honiara, visiting historical sites including Henderson Airfield, war memorials, and the open-air war museum or alternatively head to the rain-forested slopes of Mount Austen in search of some of the Solomon Islands’ most spectacular birds, including the Solomon sea eagle. For those disembarking a transfer to your hotel or the airport concludes your voyage or continue on with the Secrets of Melanesia voyage.

Ship/Hotel

Spirit of Enderby

Seating for all passengers in the Lecture Room
Heritage Suite
South Pacific fish

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
Main Deck Triple-Spirit of Enderby
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Main Deck Triple
One cabin located on the Main Deck, with two lower bunk beds, one upper bunk bed, outside porthole, wash basin, desk and chair, wardrobe with hanging space, and shared bathrooms on same deck.
Main Deck-Spirit of Enderby
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Main deck
Thirteen cabins located on the Main Deck, with two lower bunk beds, outside porthole, wash basin, desk and chair, wardrobe with hanging space, and shared bathrooms on same deck.
Superior Cabin-Spirit of Enderby
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Superior
Four cabins located on the Middle Deck,with one lower and one upper bunk, side-facing windows, desk and chair, wardrobe with hanging space, and private bath facilities.
Superior Plus Cabin-Spirit of Enderby
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Superior Plus
Eight cabins located on the Upper and Middle Decks,with two lower bunk beds, side-facing windows, desk and chair, wardrobe with hanging space. and private bath facilities.
Mini Suite- Spirit of Enderby
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Mini Suite
Two cabins located on the Upper Deck, with one double bed in separate room, side-facing windows, separate lounge area with a single bed, desk and chair, wardrobe with hanging space, and private bath facilities.
Heritage-Spirit of Enderby
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Heritage Suite
One cabin located on the Upper Deck, with one double bed in separate room, forward- and side-facing windows, separate lounge area with a single pull-out bed, desk and table area, wardrobe with hanging space, and private bath facilities.

Notes

- Travel Insurance is mandatory for all passengers aboard the Spirit of Enderby.
- Single clients are matched with a sharer of the same sex in a twin-share cabin. Payment of a single supplement guarantees a single cabin. The single supplement is 1.8 times the price of the voyage with the exception of the suites which are double the single rate.
Included
  • 13 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 13 Dinners
  • 13 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • House beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
  • Landing fees
  • All expedition shore excursions
  • Programme of lectures by noted naturalists
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Required Visas if applicable
  • Laundry 
  • Mandatory medical evacuation insurance
  • Kayaking Option
  • Optional Birding

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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney

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