Sail into a world few ever experience as we explore the rich history, cultures and wildlife of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu on this 17-day authentic expedition cruise. Visit idyllic islands and isolated villages where unique time-honoured traditions and elaborately costumed dancers welcome us into their world. 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 islands where few have been before, and endemic birdlife such as the Solomon Sea Eagle, or the Vanikoro White-eye, may be seen. The birding potential is exceptional, and to allow birders to maximise the opportunities on the expedition there is an optional specialised birding programme with customised excursions.


This expedition includes the option to join a sea kayaking excursion with an expert guide. Kayakers are rewarded with tranquil, tropical settings and are a source of fascination to the locals who often paddle their canoes out to join them, and invite them back to their villages.

 

Arrive in the urban tropical paradise of Cairns, gateway to natural wonders the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics World Heritage Rainforest, and make your way to your hotel where our group will spend the first night of the expedition. This evening meet your fellow voyagers and expedition guides over dinner at the hotel.

 

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 local guide.

 

Today we plan to explore the remote beauty of Tsoilik Island, nestled within the New Ireland archipelago in the New Hanover District of Papua New Guinea. This secret South Pacific paradise combines coconut tree studded spectacular white sand beaches surrounded by stunning turquoise water and wildlife filled jungles to explore. Options include enjoying the warm hospitality and an authentic slice of village life with the locals who enjoy a subsistent, traditional lifestyle, exploring dense rainforest searching for birdlife and trying your hand at paddling a traditional outrigger canoe and basket weaving or just exploring this unspoiled tropical paradise. A highlight is exploring the vibrant underwater world of colourful corals and marine life drift snorkelling along the outer reef edge alongside Pipefish, Nudibranchs and Anemone Fish. Make sure you are out on deck to experience our thrilling passage as we sail through the narrow passage separating New Hanover from New Ireland as our adventure continues.

 

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 markets.

 

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 surround Nissan.

 

Today we discover the treasures of Bougainville, long isolated and in a strange way protected due to the conflict which swirled around its shores. High on many travellers’ wish lists, this autonomous region within Papua New Guinea magnificently marries rugged, jungled terrain with amazing coral reefs offshore and is home to some of the greatest biodiversity in the region both above and below the water. Lying to the east of the country’s mainland and north of the Solomon Islands, it comprises two main islands and several outlying islands and atolls making it both remote and hard to reach, but perfect for exploration by expedition ship. Discover Bougainville’s strong ties and connections with the Solomon Islands, which is reflected in their music, culture and language.

 

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. Stock up on the local currency to purchase the wood or stone carvings that the people of the Western Province are 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’ Association. Receiving 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. A highlight of our voyage, this afternoon we plan to explore and and enjoy a drift snorkel of the fringing reef with its outstanding marine biodiversity.

 

Mountainous Malaita is home to one-third of the Solomon’s total population and features pristine rivers and unexploited tropical forests. This morning we plan to explore the clear and calm waters that surround the island. In the afternoon we hope to be invited by the world-renowned Kwaio People, led by Chief Esau, to discover their traditional way of life which the community have fiercely guarded alongside their ancestral lands. This invitation represents a rare privilege and is made possible by our ongoing connection with the community and our assistance with the development of innovative community conservation programs. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend time in the company of some of the most authentic, yet innovative, communities in the region.

 

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 sail to the rarely-visited pacific paradise and culturally rich Torres Islands, Vanuatu’s northernmost islands. A collection of four main islets fringed with white sand beaches, clear azure waters, volcanic rock and cliffs topped with lush tangled jungles, our destination is Loh Island. After a warrior escort and welcome from the Chief we will experience the thrilling and rarely witnessed cultural wonder of the lēh-temēt – vibrant ritual headdresses known as temēt (primordial spirits) used during special singing and dancing ceremonial rituals. The colourful headdresses are regarded by the villagers as having the highest of supernatural powers and are destroyed immediately at the end of the dance ceremony. We will then have time to enjoy tours of the village, surrounding island or snorkel Loh’s incredible underwater world.

 

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 Dollar Point.

 

Today we will visit Ambrym, renowned as the island of volcanoes and magic throughout Vanuatu. We plan to head ashore at a secret location 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 and disembark after breakfast. Upon disembarking a transfer to our 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. Note: 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.

Itineraries rae subject to change. 

MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS

$18,500 NZD
$14,800 NZD pp
MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
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.

SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS

$19,750 NZD
$15,800 NZD pp
SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS
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.

SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 4

$21,500 NZD
$17,200 NZD pp
SUPERIOR CABINS 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.

SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5

$23,150 NZD
$18,520 NZD pp
SUPERIOR CABINS 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.

MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS

$28,890 NZD
$23,112 NZD pp
MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
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.

WORSLEY SUITES

$29,650 NZD
$23,720 NZD pp
WORSLEY SUITES
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.

SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS

$29,650 NZD
$23,720 NZD pp
SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
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.

HERITAGE SUITES

$40,000 NZD
$32,000 NZD pp
HERITAGE SUITES
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

Vessel Type: Expedition Ship

Length: 124 metres

Passenger Capacity: 140

Built: 1991

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.

Cabin layout for Heritage Adventurer

Book before 31 July 2024 and SAVE 20%

Book before 31 July 2024 and SAVE 20%

T&C's apply, new bookings only made on Discover the Secrets of Indonesia departing in 2025, excludes landing fees and optional extras, cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.

Inclusions


• Voyage on board in selected cabin category
• Pre/Post cruise transfers
• Experienced expedition leader and team
• All meals while on board
• House beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
• All expedition shore excursions
• Discovery fund
• One night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (incl. dinner/breakfast)
• Transfer to airport and pre cruise flight from Cairns to Madang

Exclusions


• International and Domestic flights, both commercial and charter
• Travel insurance
• Passport and visa costs if applicable
• Additional beverages other than those noted
• Gratuities
• Any items of a personal nature including laundry
17 Days from
$871 NZD per day

Highlights

• Immersive Cultural Encounters: Explore isolated villages and witness time-honored traditions in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. Experience elaborately costumed dancers and unique cultural practices firsthand.

• Historical Insights: Trace the footsteps of history through World War II remnants in places like Nissan Island and Bougainville. Encounter reminders of intense wartime action while gaining insight into the region's past.

• Marine Marvels: Dive into the vibrant underwater world of Melanesia's spectacular reefs, teeming with diverse marine life. Snorkel in turquoise waters and witness the beauty of coral gardens and colorful fish, offering unparalleled exploration opportunities.

or call us on

NZ Freephone
0800 945 3327

AUS Freephone
1800 107 715

to help you make your reservation

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