Sail into a world few ever experience; idyllic islands and isolated villages where unique time-honoured traditions and elaborately costumed dancers welcome us into their world as we uncover the hidden gems of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
From the culturally rich arterial of the Sepik River we sail across the Bismarck Sea exploring remote shores and villages still living traditional lifestyles, and delve into the history, culture and wildlife of New Ireland and New Britain.
Crossing the Buka Channel at Nissan Island we see reminders of intensive World War II action, then enter a long-isolated world as we are among the first travellers to return to Bougainville in more than two decades. Sailing through the turquoise waters of the Solomon Islands, new vistas and unexpected encounters await. Discover one of the conservation jewels of the South Pacific on Tetepare Island, while villagers on culturally-rich Malaita Island still make and use traditional Malaitan shell-money as a dowry and wear it as a status symbol. Experience a kaleidoscope of cultures as we explore Vanuatu, where more than 100 indigenous languages are spoken. With over 80 habitable islands, islanders have closely guarded their own cultures and languages. Our expedition embraces some of these cultures and languages, as we explore one of the happiest places on the planet.
Throughout Melanesia there are spectacular reefs, which are home to masses of fish and coral gardens of every colour. These waters offer some of the greatest marine diversity and snorkelling in the world and everybody will have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty beneath the waves.
Whether you are snorkelling or swimming, this ocean aquarium is waiting to be explored and discovered.
For birders, this itinerary offers once-in-a-lifetime species on remote, hard to reach islands. The birding potential is exceptional; highlights may include the Superb Pitta and, endemic to the Solomon Islands the Roviana Rail, Solomon Sea Eagle and Vanuatu’s Vanikoro White-eye.
ABOUT OUR DISCOVERY FUND
Each area we visit has rich cultural experiences and wild treasures to offer. As guests, we have made a point to source and support local projects in the areas through which we travel. A contribution from each passenger represents a portion of the money we donate to ensure the longevity and success of educational, environmental and cultural initiatives in these regions.
Arrive in Papua New Guinea’s
sprawling capital Port Moresby
and transfer to your hotel where
our group will spend the first night
of the expedition. This evening
meet with your fellow travellers
and the expedition team over
dinner at the resort.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel
before our flight to Madang, the
picturesque peninsula surrounded
by islands and waterways. It is a
thriving community renowned
for its traditional artists, and the
richness of its surrounding forests.
Enjoy a Madang and Environs tour
upon arrival which includes a visit
to the Coastwatchers’ Memorial
Light at Kalibobo, Madang
museum and Bilbil Village before
returning to Madang to explore
the markets. Boarding your ship
you will have time to settle into
your cabin and familiarise yourself
with the ship; we will also take
the opportunity to introduce you
to your expedition team and our
voyage plans. You are invited to join the expedition team in the
Observation Lounge and up on
the Observation Deck as we set
sail for the Sepik River.
Sure to be one of the highlights
of our expedition, we have
allowed plenty of time to fully
appreciate this remarkable river,
its birds, animals and the people
that call it home. The Sepik
River, the longest in Papua New
Guinea, flows from the highlands
to the Bismarck Sea. It is a rich
arterial river that has fostered
great traditional artists. We plan
to explore the river by Zodiac,
following tributaries and channels
in search of local wildlife. Enjoy a warm welcome at Kopar Village
where we will experience village
life and a traditional Dragon
Dance unique to this region. Bring
along plenty of the local currency
(kina) to purchase unique
carvings directly from the artists.
Seldom visited and little known,
Manus Island is considered a
jewel in the crown of Papua New
Guinea. Biologically isolated
the Manus Province is home to
a high proportion of endemic
species and our stop here is
likely to be a birding highlight.
Once the location of a detention
centre, part of Australia’s ‘Pacific
Solution’, life on Manus Island
continues according to traditional
customs. Comprised of 10
villages and a population of less
than 1,000, our visit to Derimbat
Village includes taking part in an
elaborate welcoming ceremony
before exploring their village
and unique way of life with a
Traditionally known as Lavongai
Island, volcanic New Hanover is
a wild, rugged and untouched
paradise complete with a
dense rainforest, waterfalls and
exceptional beaches fringed by
reefs and smaller satellite islands.
Sparsley populated, the villages
here enjoy a subsistant, traditional
lifestyle. Exceptional snorkelling
is a given here with much to
experience below the surface,
while Three Island Harbour, on
the north-west tip of the island,
features four Japanese WWII
wrecks which were sunk by Allied
bombers in 1944.
Six beautiful cone-shaped
volcanoes ring Rabaul’s dramatic,
flooded-caldera harbour. Visit
the bubbling hot springs and
take in the magnificent views of
the harbour and volcanoes from
Observatory Ridge. As we explore
the island, we will see fascinating
reminders of the Japanese
occupation, our tour taking in
the site of the enormous volcanic
eruption that all but destroyed
Rabaul town, the underground
bunker that was the hiding place
of Pearl Harbour commander,
Yamamoto, and joining the locals
shopping at the bustling Kokopo
A tropical atoll adrift in the azure
waters of the Buka Channel,
Nissan Island is bathed in rich
tropical currents that abound
in marine life. Seldom have
outsiders had the opportunity
to discover this world promising
abundant pelagic fish-life and
pristine coral reefs. Ashore there
are still reminders of the brief, but
intensive, World War II activities
during which the islands were
recaptured by Kiwi, Australian
and British forces from the
Japanese occupiers. During our
time ashore we will meet with the
friendly locals from all three of the
island’s Balil Villages and search
the dense woods for some of
the elusive birds that occur here.
Later the snorkellers will find plenty
to discover in the coral reefs that
We plan to be among the first
expeditioners to re-discover
the treasures of Bougainville,
long isolated and in a strange
way protected due to the
conflict which swirled around
its shores. Today it is emerging
once again as a newly vibrant
and remarkably pristine island
paradise, it is home to some of
the greatest biodiversity in the
region both above and below
the water. We plan to explore the
area around Arawa, including the
Panguna Copper & Gold Mine
site – the setting for the movie
– with great opportunities
to access the island’s interior and its reefs. Spend your last Kina
under the thatched roof of the
Arawa Markets amongst the hum
and chatter of hundreds of locals.
The volcanic New Georgia Islands
are found in the Western Province
of the Solomon Islands and are
characterised by extensive reefs
and lagoons, rugged terrain and
an abundance of rivers. Nature
enthusiasts will relish landing on
Kolombangara Island, where we
plan to visit the Imbu Rano Lodge
and Conservation Area which
protects the islands central peak
and search for the rare Roviana
Rail along with other endemic bird species. Snorkel the wreck of
a US NAVY FAF Grumman Wildcat
(carrier version) WWII plane off a
tiny island where the surrounding
reefs are home to some of the
highest fish counts in the world.
Stock up on the local currency
to purchase the wood or stone
carvings that the people of the
Western Province are so famous for.
Uninhabited for 150 years,
this rugged island cloaked
in rainforest and fringed with
coral reefs is home to one of
the Solomon Islands’ leading
community driven conservation
projects Tetepare Descendants’
international recognition for its
conservation and archaeological
significance. Three species of
turtle, including the endangered
leatherback, nest on its beaches
while other species inhabiting the
island and surrounding waters
include dugong, the world’s
largest skink, endemic Tetepare
White-eye and many more.
Mountainous Malaita is home to
one-third of the Solomon’s total
population and features pristine
rivers and unexploited tropical
forests to explore. This morning
we plan to visit the beautiful
uninhabited Leli Island, an ideal
snorkel site with its calm clear
waters and abundant array of
fish and corals. In the afternoon
we plan to be among the first to
visit a remote and hard to reach village where we will experience
a rapturous warrior welcome
from the Kwaio mountain people.
One of the most traditional
communities in the Solomon
Islands, enjoy an authentic slice of
village life as we learn about their
Makira is the most easterly of the
main islands in the Solomon’s
archipelago. This morning we
anchor in the calm waters of
Star Harbour. Join the naturalists
for a Zodiac exploration of the
abundant mangrove forests that
line the shores, and take a short
walk to Makira’s south coast
where the villagers live much as
they have for millennia. We spend
time with the locals, who share
with us their traditional song and
dance. If we are lucky, the local
boys might be surfing on their
hand-carved palm wood boards.
Nendö is the largest of the Santa
Cruz Islands, which lie to the
south-east of the Solomon Islands.
The Spanish navigator Álvaro de
Mendaña de Neira unsuccessfully
attempted to establish a colony
in 1595. Biologically these islands
share more in common with Vanuatu. It is also the home of red
feather money, sourced from the
Scarlet Honeyeater. Watch the
manufacture of red feather money,
and join the locals in dances which
reverberate through the ages.
Today we explore the archipelago
of Vanikoro, with its five islands
encapsulated by a dramatic barrier
reef which offers superb snorkelling.
French explorer Jean-François de
Galaup, comte de La Pérouse
famously disappeared here after
both his vessels,
, struck the reef in 1788.
On the shore we visit a monument
to Le Pérouse, erected by fellow
explorer Dumont Durville in 1827.
Join the naturalists on a forest walk
in search of the endemic Vanikoro
White-eye and Monarch, or marvel
at the delicate Vanikoro Orchid. We
also have a good chance to see
the recently rediscovered Vanikoro
Flying Fox, considered extinct until a
recent visit by Heritage Expeditions.
Today we explore Vanuatu’s
largest Island, Santo; location
of James Michener’s Tales of
the South Pacific. Indulge in a
swim in the crystalline waters
of Champagne Beach with its famed powdery white sand. This
afternoon we will enjoy Zodiac
cruises to the iconic blue holes of
Santo. For those with an interest
in the history of the island, there
is a visit to Lugainville and Million
Today we will visit Ambrym,
renowned as the island of
volcanoes and magic throughout
Vanuatu. We plan to head ashore
at Ranon on the northern coast
where the traditional Rom dance is
still practised and custom carving
is alive and well. A walk through
the forest brings us to the ‘arena’
where masked dancers emerge
from the forest. The forests of
Ambrym offer some excellent walks
to go in search of the local birds
and plants, accompanied by our
naturalists. This afternoon enjoy a
final snorkel excursion.
Arrive into Port Vila early
morning and disembark. Upon
disembarking a transfer to your
central city hotel or the airport
will conclude your voyage. To
allow time for disembarkation
procedures we do not
recommend booking flights from
Port Vila before midday.
During our voyage,
circumstances may make it
necessary or desirable to deviate
from the proposed itinerary.
This can include poor weather
and opportunities for making
unplanned excursions. Your
Expedition Leader will keep
you fully informed. This tour
offers a variety of activities and
excursions. Your personal interests
will determine which of these
you wish to join. Please note that
some activities and excursions
will run at similar times and it will
not be possible to participate in
both. Accordingly, refunds for
excursions and missed landings
are not available.
23 October, 2023 to 08 November, 2023
DECK 3 | SIZE: 22m2 (235.SqFt) Main Deck Triple Cabins on Deck 3 are a spacious 22m2 and feature two porthole windows, two single beds and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, lounge area, writing desk, private en-suite bathroom with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.
DECK 5 | SIZE: 22m2 (235.SqFt) Superior Triple Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, two single beds and one Pullman bed which folds down from the wall, lounge area, writing desk, private en-suite bathroom with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.
DECK 4 | SIZE: 22m2 (235.SqFt) Superior Cabins are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, lounge area, writing desk, private ensuite bathroom with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.
DECK 5 | SIZE: 22m2 (235.SqFt) Superior Cabins are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, lounge area, writing desk, private ensuite bathroom with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.
DECK 3 | SIZE: 22m2 (235.SqFt) Main Deck Single Cabins on Deck 3 are a spacious 22m2 in size and feature two porthole windows, king bed, lounge area, writing desk, private ensuite bathroom with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.
DECK 6 | SIZE: 22m2 (235.SqFt) Located on Deck 6, Worsley Suites are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king or two single beds, comfortable chaisestyle lounge suite, writing desk, private en-suite bathroom with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.
DECK 5 | SIZE: 22m2 (235.SqFt) Superior Single Cabins on Deck 5 are a spacious 22m2 and feature large panoramic windows, king bed, lounge area, writing desk, private en-suite bathroom with shower, ample storage and a flat screen entertainment system.
DECK 6 | SIZE: 44m2 (475.SqFt) Located on Deck 6, Heritage Suites are an expansive 44m2 and feature large double panoramic windows, king bed, large living area with a sofa, coffee table and chairs, large writing desk and grand marble bathroom with a double basin, bathtub and shower, floor to ceiling storage and a flat screen entertainment system
Discovery Fund: 500 USD pp
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship
Length: 124 metres
Passenger Capacity: 140
Heritage Adventurer is a true pioneering expedition vessel of exceptional pedigree. Often referred to as the ‘Grande Dame of Polar Exploration’ due to her celebrated history and refined design, she was purpose-built for adventure in 1991 at Finland’s Rauma shipyard and specifically designed for Polar exploration.Setting a peerless standard in authentic expedition travel, Heritage Adventurer (formerly known as MS Hanseatic) combines the highest passenger ship ice-class rating (1A Super) with an impressive history of Polar exploration. Having held records for the most northern and southern Arctic and Antarctic navigations, and for traversing both the Northwest and Northeast Passages, makes Heritage Adventurer perfect for pioneering New Zealand-based Heritage Expeditions signature experiential expedition travel.Originally designed to accommodate 184 guests, Heritage Adventurer now welcomes just 140 expeditioners ensuring spacious, stylish and comfortable voyages, while a fleet of 14 Zodiacs ensures all guests are able to maximise their expedition adventure. Heritage Adventurer proudly continues our traditions of exceptional, personalised expedition experiences as Heritage Expeditions flagship.
Observation Lounge – One of the most celebrated and best-known features of Heritage Adventurer is the awe-inducing Observation Lounge, Library and Bar. Located on Deck 7 and perched directly above the Bridge, enjoy sweeping 270-degree views through floor to ceiling windows, perfect for wildlife spotting and quick access to the outer deck. Bring your binoculars to spot wildlife, observe the ever-changing landscape, write in your journal or relax with a book.
Observation Deck – Enjoy 360-degree views from the highest point on the ship. The Observation Deck sits above the Observation Lounge and provides exceptional outside viewing options. Stretching the full width of the vessel, this is the perfect spot to take in the surrounding land and seascapes. Perfect on a sunny day, recline in the comfortable sun loungers protected from the wind and elements and watch your voyage unfold.
The Bridge – No expedition is complete without visiting Heritage Adventurer’s busy nerve centre. Located on Deck 6, Heritage Expeditions’ Open Bridge Policy means you are welcome to observe the Captain and crew at work while enjoying some of the ship’s best views. It’s a fascinating place to learn about navigation and vessel operations, however please note the Bridge will be closed when departing or arriving at port.
Dining Room – Indulge in fine international cuisine from our talented chefs in the lavish surrounds of our Dining Room on Deck 4. Sensational 270-degree views provide a stunning backdrop to meals here along with an international wine list featuring many outstanding regional wines. With relaxed seating arrangements, all guests can enjoy dining in a single sitting from hearty breakfasts setting you up for the day’s adventure to sumptuous lunches and multi-course evening dining.
Bistro – Simple fast and delicious meals and snacks are on offer in our relaxed Bistro on Deck 6. Perfect for early risers to enjoy tea, coffee and light breakfast options the Bistro provides great views and opens directly onto a covered and heated teak-deck outdoor dining area.
The Bar and Lounge – The social hub of Heritage Adventurer, the Bar and Lounge on Deck 5 features seating for all guests. Enjoy a beverage at the bar, sink into an armchair, relax on one of the many spacious loungers and watch the world go by through the panoramic windows or make new friends at the communal seating. This multi-tasking space also doubles as the location of daily briefings and evening recaps with the expedition team.
The Gym – Featuring spectacular ocean views, the well-equipped gym is adjacent to the pool, hot tub and sauna in Deck 7’s wellbeing zone. Maintain your routine with an elliptical cross trainer, treadmill, rowing machine, stationary bikes, TRX as well as free weights, yoga mats and fitness balls. Towels are provided with change room and shower amenities nearby.
Sauna and Steam Room – True to her Nordic origins, Heritage Adventurer features a dry-heat Finnish sauna and European steam room on Deck 7. Perfect for warming up post Polar plunge or unwinding after a day’s adventures, the sauna and steam room include change room facilities, showers and towels.
Swimming Pool and Hot Tub – Surrounded by relaxed teak seating including sun loungers, the open-air saltwater pool can be heated or chilled. Encased in glass the hot tub ensures all-weather use, perfect for those who like to relax with a view following a day of exploring.
Lectures and Presentations – Enjoy informative and entertaining lectures on history, biology, wildlife, and ecology in the comfort of the Presentation Theatre. With state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, our world-renowned expedition team will bring your adventure to life through interactive presentations and discussions.
• Voyage on board in selected cabin cateogy
• Pre/Post cruise transfers
• Experienced expedition leader and team
• All meals while on board
• All expedition shore excusions
• Suites include complimentary mini bar, in-room dining and a US$100 pp spa gift voucher
• International and Domestic flights, both commercial and charter
• Travel insurance
• Passport and visa costs if applicable
• Beverages on board
• Any items of a personal nature including laundry