Mysterious Papua New Guinea is, in the truest sense, the last frontier on Earth. Vast expanses of thick tropical jungle and razor-sharp mountains remain daunting to all but the most intrepid explorers.
Reach into the heart and soul of Papua New Guinea, and see your expectations of the place and its people soar.
Its secret forests nurture over 3,000 kinds of orchids, and the world's largest butterfly and moth inhabit its rainforests. The ancient tribal culture lives on vibrantly in the minds of the villages and townsfolk.
Surrounding waters support unparallel bio-diversity, and its reefs are the choice of specialty divers from around the globe.
It's a place of rich cultural diversity. There is no such thing as a typical Papua New Guinean; as more than 1000 cultures, each with different traditions, are now recognised.
This is the land of the unexpected, a place of stark contrasts where fearsome frowns magically become welcoming smiles and village children your lifelong friends!
Papua New Guinea itinerary:
Day 1: Depart Cairns
After boarding Oceanic Discoverer at 12:00 noon for a departure at 1:30pm, we leave Cairns on the start of our great adventure. Take the opportunity to explore your new 'home' for the next thirteen days. Enjoy an evening sunset drink before sitting down to the first of many delicious meals.
Day 2: At Sea
Having passed through the Great Barrier Reef, we cruise northeast towards the China Strait. Enjoy the facilities and get to know your travelling companions. This evening, join our Guest Lecturer for a presentation on Papua New Guinea.
Day 3: Alotau
Enjoy waking up to the scenery of the China Strait as we approach our first Papua New Guinea landfall - Alotau. Our experienced Guest Lecturers will interpret the traditional welcome dances prior to leading us on a tour of historical Alotau.
Day 4: Dobu and Fergusson Islands
We are greeted by a flotilla of canoes as we approach the Dobu anchorage. Our Guest Lecturer will share with you the history of the Kula Ring where Dobu Island was a pivotal link between the north and south Kula trade routes. The local primary school children welcome us with a traditional dance performance. After lunch we join our Expedition Leader on an excursion to the Dei Dei Hot Springs where the landowner shares the mythical and spiritual tales of these hot water and mud springs.
Day 5: Trobriands and Kitava
Historically known as the 'Islands of Love' the Trobriands offer a glimpse of traditional culture largely unspoilt by outside influence. Witness traditional Trobriand dances.
Day 6: The Idyllic Island of Tuam
Tuam, in the Siassi group of islands, offers a mix of both mainland and Bismark Archipelago cultures. Their prized trinkets and decorations include dog's teeth, spondyllus shells and wonderful balsa wood and sago bark headdresses. We enjoy the welcome dances and village hospitality.
Day 7: Historic Madang
Madang sits on a peninsula surrounded by a number of picturesque islands. Madang is famed for its diving, with excellent visibility and many WWII wrecks to explore. Discover the town and enjoy the opportunity to purchase a large selection of artefacts from the Sepik region. Enjoy diving, snorkelling, swimming and a harbour exploration.
Day 8: The Mighty Sepik River
Sure to be a highlight, this morning we enter the mouth of the mighty Sepik River - one of the world's great river systems. Oceanic Discoverer will cruise upriver to the middle Sepik region renowned for its unique artefacts. We visit the remote villages of Angoram and Bien where the local Sepik people are amongst the greatest primitive artists on earth and each village has its own distinct style. We anchor this evening in this mighty river whilst overhead hundreds of flying foxes stream through the sky.
Day 9: Sepik River and Boisa Island
An early morning start offers a great opportunity for bird watching. Join the Guest Lecturers to identify Spotted Blue-eyed Cockatoos, the enormous Blyth's Hornbill and others as we cruise back down river. On farewelling the great Sepik we arrive at Boisa Island where villagers were evacuated following volcanic eruptions from the neighbouring Manam Island in 2004. An abundance of children, outrigger canoes and genuine friendliness ensure an unforgettable experience.
Day 10: Crown Island
Join our Expedition Leader and Guest Lecturers aboard Xplorer and head ashore on this uninhabited island. Known as a turtle nesting ground and home of the giant lizard we explore the beaches of this seldom visited island. Spend time relaxing or snorkelling in the beautiful clear waters
Day 11: New Britain Coastline
Enjoy a full day cruising the northern coastline of New Britain. Join the Expedition Leader and Guest Lecturers on guided tours aboard the Xplorer before arriving at the entrance to Kimbe Bay late this afternoon.
Day 12: Kimbe Bay
With the support of local guides, our Expedition Leader will lead us on an exploration of the region. Kimbe Bay has one of the world's richest and most diverse coral reef systems, home to over 860 different species or tropical fish and in excess of 400 different varieties of coral. Experience real island friendliness and hospitality as we are welcomed by a flotilla of outrigger canoes.
Day 13: Rabaul
We enter magnificent Simpson Harbour early in the morning, passing the striking islands known as the Beehives. Our arrival in Rabaul at 8:00am marks the end of our voyage of exploration and adventure. If time permits, you may wish to take the opportunity to explore the 'ghost town' of Rabaul that lies under volcanic ash deposited when Mt Tuvurvur erupted in 1994.
Onboard accommodation comprises 36 spacious modern staterooms. You can select from Bridge, Promenade or Main Deck staterooms offering a choice of twin through to junior king-size doubles. All staterooms have an ocean view, en-suite facilities, settee, large wardrobe, desk, luggage storage, individual air-conditioning control, and are serviced daily.
What you would expect of a much larger cruise ship:
- Large sundeck
- Spa Pool
- Guest computer
- Comprehensive reference library
- Phone and fax facilities
- Lecture lounge with large plasma screen
- Limited laundry facilities
- Two fully stocked cocktail bars
- Boutique and dive shop
- Air-conditioned public areas
Oceanic Discoverer is equipped with the latest technology active stabilizers and is fitted with state-of-the-art safety and navigational equipment and is the only Australian passenger ship registered with full SOLAS compliance allowing opportunities to explore a multitude of international voyages.
All meals during the cruise are included. Breakfast and lunch are served in the Dining Room located on the Main Deck and are buffet-style while dinner is table d’hote. Coffee and tea is available 24 hours. Standard hours are breakfast from 7:00-8:30am, lunch at 12:30pm and dinner at 7:30pm however meal times may vary according to the day's activities. Meal times will be advised in the onboard daily bulletins.
Excursion Boats And Zodiacs
The "Xplorer" is a specially designed aluminium excursion vessel used for the majority of our excursions. This vessel has high horsepower engines and will accommodate all passengers at one time. The "Xplorer" will be used for landings and for extensive exploration of rivers and tributaries. For your added convenience and comfort, the "Xplorer" is equipped with an awning and toilet.
We also carry two inflatable landing craft (Zodiacs). Designed for expedition work, these large and heavy-duty inflatables are extremely safe. Separate air compartments retain a large reserve of buoyancy even if the boats damaged. The flat bottom design permits these crafts to land directly onto the beaches. Expect nonetheless to wade through shallow water to reach the shore.