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Frontier Lands of New Guinea Expedition Cruise

13 Days
Prices From:
US$ 8,079

Lots of itineraries claim to take you ‘off the beaten track’ but none mean it quite so literally as this incredible cruise on the Coral Discoverer. Papua New Guinea is one of the last great mystery nations accessible to visitors. Meet the hidden tribes and see ways of life preserved over centuries.

This 13-day cruise through Papua New Guinea is an adventure in the truest sense of the word. The country remains one of the world’s least understood and most ‘untouristed,’ which certainly isn’t for lack of things to see and do. Visit societies unlike any other and fly home with unique memories to last a lifetime.

Boarding your vessel in Madang, cruise up the Sepik River to the village of Bien, where you’ll enjoy a guided walk and dance performance. Then roam the local market before returning to ship. Sail in proximity to the Manam volcano, one of the most active in the South Pacific, before visiting the village of Tolokiwa, known for its unique nearby birdlife. You’ll have access to some water activities and guided tours here as well. Your next destination, Dregerhafen, is known as having one of PNG’s most idyllic natural locations. Enjoy a welcome and sing sing, browse the markets, and take a guided village walk, where you will probably see evidence of the American air base that operated here in World War 2. Go on to Tuam Island for more entertainment, with time to explore this walled village, and go for a swim.

Arrive at Lababia where you’ll again enjoy local entertainment, with time to explore the markets or take a guided tour. Then arrive at the Fly Islands, and go diving at Biangatu Island reef system. If you’d rather stay high and dry, take a glass bottom boat tour instead. Your next destination, Morobe Harbour is another former American air base. Only the locals remain today, and they offer you a unique Oro province welcome before you explore their village. Buna Beach is another prominent World War 2 site, with monuments to both Japanese and Allied forces who fought here. Afterwards, visit Sandanana Village and explore the war museum, which tells the story of both sides.

Travel by outrigger canoe from Maclaren Harbour into the mangroves. See a traditional sing sing with eye-popping feather headdresses, before sailing on to Tufi Fjord, where you can snorkel on the reef. Exploring Ferguson Island, visit the famous hot springs, or tour the nearby school and medical centre. Your final day in Papua New Guinea takes you to Alotau, an area rich both with native culture and World War 2 history.

Spend a day at sea en route back to Cairns, where you’ll disembark.


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13 Days
Prices From:
US$ 8,079

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Cairns to Madang

Coral Expeditions will arrange an early morning flight private charter flight from Cairns to travel to Madang (flight not included - additional charge will apply). On arrival, travel through Madang to meet the Coral Discoverer board and settle in as your PNG expedition begins.

11:00 - Set sail from Madang

Spend the afternoon at leisure as you are welcoming on board, join our Expedition Staff in the ship's lounge for an interesting introduction to our journey, and the many experiences you will share over the coming twelve days.

Meal Plan Lunch and Dinner
Duration12 Nights

Coral Discoverer

More Info

Location View map
  • Coral Discoverer

    Built for comfort and safety, the Coral Discoverer provides the luxury and convenience of larger cruise ships, yet with just 72 passengers, is small enough access sites beyond the reach of larger vessels. The Coral Discoverer features plenty of open deck space and air-conditioned lounge ...

    Built for comfort and safety, the Coral Discoverer provides the luxury and convenience of larger cruise ships, yet with just 72 passengers, is small enough access sites beyond the reach of larger vessels. The Coral Discoverer features plenty of open deck space and air-conditioned lounge areas for guest comfort. There are outdoor and indoor bars and single-seating dining indoors. Its 2016 refurbishment has brought on board amenities to an even higher level -- the Sun Deck is a new social space and hub of on board community, underneath of which is a covered deck area complete with round bar, a sundeck with lounges and an area for outdoor exercise equipment. Our captain welcomes you on the bridge to observe ship operations and have a friendly chat. Coral Discoverer excursions are made on board the specially-designed excursion vessel 'Xplorer', and a fleet of inflatable Zodiacs.


    • Air Conditioning
    • Bar
    • Gift Shop
    • Laundry Facilities (Surcharge)
    • Library
    • Lounge
    • Scuba Diving
    • Spa/Jacuzzi
    • Sundeck
    • WiFi

    More Details

Day 2

Sepik River and Sepik Village

Awake early, the ship will be at the entrance to the Sepik at first light and will then cruise three hours up river to the village of Bien, along the way the locals will be paddling out when they see the ship approaching. Once We anchor off the village of Bien, Xplorer will drop us at one end of the village and the locals will walk with us through the river front village and to the school area where the welcome and dancing will take place. Once the performances are completed the famous Sepik market will open and we can enjoy the many things on offer, the Sepik is famous for it's Masks and carvings.

Time at Bien venue: 9 AM to 12 PM Village walk -- Welcome with locals and Sepik Markets.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 3

Manam Volcano and Tolokiwa

Manam volcano located 13 km off the northern coast of New Guinea near Bogia town is one of Papua New Guinea's most active volcanoes. It has one of the longest records of historic eruptions in the SE Pacific region. The larger eruptions of Manam produce pyroclastic flows and sometimes lava flows. Both have repeatedly reached the coast and affected populated areas. We will sit the ship close by on the leeward side of the island and enjoy a BBQ and Drinks as the sun sets.

In afternoon, we will visit the village of Tolokiwa and do some water activities -- snorkelling, diving and guided tours. Tolokiwa is also well known for its bird species so fabulous opportunity for bird watches to "spot" unique PNG birdlife.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4

Dregerhafen and Tuam Island

The ship will arrive into the beautiful anchorage of Dregerhafen, we will head ashore to the local village where a welcome and sing sings will be performed, the local market is famous for wooden paddles and wooden bowls. The locals will offer guided walks around the village and there are plenty of ww2 artefacts lying around from the large American base there in the war

The ship will move to Tuam Island late morning and we will go ashore mid -afternoon to visit Tuam Island village where their famous dance groups will entertain us within the walled village. Local markets are on offer as well local guides to take you to the garden areas. Afterwards enjoy a swim or snorkel off the beach.

Time at Dregerhafen venue: 7 to 10 AM: Village visit -- Markets (bowls & paddles)
Time at Tuam venue: 3:30 - 6 PM Village visit -- Dancing groups -- swim off beach.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 5

Lababia and Fly Islands

In the morning, relaxing village visit to the local village where after a traditional welcome we will enjoy singing and dancing before the local markets open up. Those who wish can join local guides around the village or walk down the beach area and board an outrigger up the local river into the rainforest area. It is possible to swim in front of the village with local children or enjoy a kayak off the beach. Over lunch the ship moves to Fly Islands.

Ship arrives at the beautiful Fly Islands, we will enjoy snorkelling and diving off the Xplorer at Biangatu Island reef system. Those who wish can enjoy the glass bottom boat if conditions allow.
Our afternoon will be a Time at Fly Islands venue - Snorkel -- Dive -- Glassy option.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 6

Morobe Harbour

Coral Discoverer will enter into Morobe Harbour early morning which the American forces used as a staging post and supply base during WW2. Enjoy an early morning cruise in Xplorer and our zodiacs up the nearby Mou river and view the stunning forest area. Afterwards we will visit the fun and friendly locals at the village where we will receive a true Oro province welcome, after the ceremonies we will be able to enjoy the local markets on offer and wander with guides around the village and surrounding areas. There is the opportunity on the high tide to travel through a small water way into a stunning bay where another village lies in wait.

Time at venue: 9AM to 5PM River cruise -- Village visit -- Outer lagoon expedition

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 7

Buna and Sandanana

In the morning, we will head ashore in Xplorer to land at Buna beach home to some of the toughest fighting in the pacific campaign. The locals will be ready ad after a welcome and refreshment's we will then walk with the local guides and visit the areas where the Allied forces clashed with the Japanese. We will see the Japanese monument and the American monuments
along the way. It is sometimes possible to get transport arranged.

After lunch the ship will have moved to anchor off Sandanana Village. Xplorer will take us ashore and after the locals have welcomed us we can visit the war museum which the locals have constructed as well as the local gardens and surrounding areas. The museum is divided into two with a Japanese hut and an Allied hut, this was the biggest battleground in the Oro
Province and is at the far end of the Kokoda track.

Time at Buna venue: 8 to 11AM Local welcome -- guided walk through the battlefield area Japanese memorial and American memorial.
Time at Sandanana venue: 2 to 6 PM Village welcome speeches and visit local WW2 Museum, local gardens and walk the nearby area.

Note: Swimming is not permitted on this day due to salt water crocodiles

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 8

Maclaren Harbour and Tufi Jord

Coral Discoverer arrives into Maclaren Harbour early morning, and we will then head off on Xplorer to the end of the Fjord where the local outriggers will be waiting to transport us into the mangroves where we will be paddled up the creek under the rainforest canopy, the locals will greet us ashore and after a welcome we can enjoy watching and learning the local way of life, the old men will perform a traditional sing -sing with their feather headdresses. A local market will have sprung up and as we walk back we can enjoy the markets where Tapa cloths are the specialty. Over lunch the ship will move around to Tufi Fjord.

At Tufi we can enjoy snorkelling on the house reef, Diving with the local resort team, kayak along the steep edges of the nearby fjords or head up to the resort and enjoy a drink and the views on offer.

Time at Maclaren Harbour venue: 7:30 to 12:30 PM Outriggers up the rainforest mangroves, traditional welcomes and craft displays. Dancing and local market.
Time at Tufi venue: 2 to 6 PM Resort visit -- Snorkel -Dive -- Kayak Local floating markets at the stern of ship.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 9

Trobiands - Kuiawa and Kitava Islands

Coral Discoverer arrives at the small island of Kuiawa in the Trobriand group, we will head shore in the morning and be greeted Trobriand styles by the local children. Welcome speeches, dances and sing - sings are all part of the experience. We will then have chance to wander through the village and peruse the local markets along the walkway. Over Lunch the ship will move to the island of Kitava.

The island of Kitava is famous in the Trobriand's, we will visit the beach area of the village and after a welcome the local market will be on offer famous for its yam houses. Those who wish can walk up to the village along the gradual uphill track or be whisked across the channel to the nearby island and enjoy water activities.

Time at Kuiawa venue: 7:30 to 11 AM Village visit -- Markets Sing - Sing/ Dances
Time at Kitava venue: 3:30 to 6 PM Beach welcome -Markets Village walk -- Swim Snorkel option

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 10

Ferguson Island - Dei-Dei Springs - Dobu Island

Coral Discoverer will anchor in front of Dei- Dei springs village on the island of Ferguson. We will head ashore in the zodiacs and be welcomed by the locals who will then guide us in small groups to the famous hot springs which around 40min in each direction over flat terrain. The villagers are famous for making flax hand bags. Those not up for the walk can visit the nearby
school and medical centre on board Xplorer. Over lunch the ship will move around to Dobu Island anchorage, and we will head ashore on Xplorer for a fantastic school visit on the island, after a welcome from the children we will visit their classrooms and then you can stroll around
with the locals and visit the outer village areas, this is one of the homes of the Kula Ring which has a crucial part in the areas history.

After our visit those who wish can be on Xplorer to visit the nearby bubbling springs coral reef system where excellent snorkelling is on offer, or you may choose to enjoy a swim off the beach in the clear waters.

Time at Dei-Dei venue: 8 to 12 PM Hot Spring walk or Xplorer visit to local school / Medical centre
Time at Dobu Island venue: 1:30 to 6 PM School visit and Snorkel at bubbling hot springs / beach swim option

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 11


Wake 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 historic Alotau. Cruise Milne Bay and learn of the World War II military history of this region.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 12

At Sea

Day at leisure.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 13


Arrive Cairns Disembark Coral Discoverer and transfer to Cairns accommodation or Airport

Arrive Cairns: 10 AM

This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information


Coral Discoverer

2018: Nov 05


  • 13 night's accommodation
  • Accommodation charges on board
  • Captain's Welcome and Farewell Drinks
  • House wine and beer served with lunch and dinner meal service
  • Services of expedition staff including lectures
  • Briefings, slide/film presentations, and other group activities
  • Guided adventure touring and walks
  • Group transfers during the cruise
  • All meals, morning and afternoon teas
  • Guided tours on purpose built expedition vessel "Xplorer"
  • Use of snorkelling equipment, inc masks, snorkel and fins
  • An introductory SCUBA skills session for first time divers
  • 24 hour tea and coffee station
  • Port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities


  • Travel insurance
  • Pre and Post flights
  • Transfers and accommodation
  • Entry VISA/travel permits
  • Fuel surcharges if applicable
  • Personal items such as telephone, facsimile, internet charges, laundry,
  • Additional bar charges, travel insurance, SCUBA diving charges where applicable
  • Charter Flight from Cairns to Madang. This is at additional cost


Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please enquire.

5 Nov 2018
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