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In the Wake of the Makassans

Departs Makassar to Darwin14 nightsAll InclusiveFrom $14,120.00* PP

Embark on a personalised voyage through the East Indies, with stops at enchanting islands like Komodo and Padar, culminating in Makassar during this 14-night expedition aboard Coral Geographer. Explore lesser-visited islands home to traditional seafaring traditions and rich cultural practices, including Alor and Tana Toraja. At Tana Beru, witness ancient traditional Phinisi boat building and visit one of the last traditional subsistence whaling villages at Lamalera. From encountering Komodo Dragons on a walking tour with local rangers to exploring the colourful underwater realm of Takabonarate Marine Park, these voyages are a feast for the senses.

From the 16th century, Makassan trepangers began to venture from their homeland in South Sulawesi. Travelling through the Flores and Savu seas, they arrived at the shores of the Kimberley and Arnhem Land.  On their journeys, Makassans encountered the peoples of northern Australia and left an impact on the cultures that survive to this day.

  • Special Event: Meet the people of Tana Toraja, high up in the mountains of Sulawesi, and encounter their astonishing cultural traditions and funeral rituals
  • Walk in the tracks of the endangered Komodo Dragons and spot this iconic monitor lizard in the wild with local guides
  • Explore the turquoise waters and tiny islands of the Coral Triangle including at Takabonarate Marine Park
  • Gaze out over the tri-coloured crater lakes of Kelimutu National Park
  • Meet the beachside boatbuilders of Tana Beru and admire the skillful construction of Phinisi ships
  • Meet the Abui people of Alor Island and watch the Lego Lego dance in their traditional village
  • On Padar Island, hike to the summit to enjoy breathtaking panoramic views
  • Explore a 17th century Fort Rotterdam in Makassar, which now houses museums and cultural wonders


In The Wake Of The Makassans - Darwin to Makassar - 14 Nights

The following itinerary shows departing Makassar and arriving Darwin.

Darwin Port

From your optional charter flight from Darwin, board Coral Geographer at Makassar Port at 5:00pm where there is time to settle into your cabin before departure.

Take the time to become acquainted with all the facilities onboard as you spend the day getting to know your fellow travellers. Enjoy lunch onboard before Captains Welcome drinks and the first of many delicious dinners.

Phinisi Tana Beru

Traditionally, wooden Phinisi ships have been crafted by the Bugis boat-builders on the beach at Tana Beru since the 14th century. The ancient technique, which uses no nails, has been handed down through generations. Hear the seafaring tales of the boat builders and climb into a Phinisi ship to admire its size and the craftsmanship of the boat-builders.

Toraja land

An overland journey takes us into the highlands of Sulawesi to the remarkable Tana Toraja, where you will witness stunning limestone mountains and the ancient culture and traditions of the Torajan people. Visit the Tongkonan houses at Marante, the stone graves with Tau-tau effigies at Lemo and the hanging burial sites of Bori Parinding. Explore Kete Kesu, a 400-year-old village high in the mountains. Stay overnight and enjoy local music and dancing.


The small island of Sogori measures just 1.5km long and around 90m wide and is home to the seafaring masters the Bajau and Bugis people. Explore the marine diversity that surrounds the island ahead of learning more about the unique local way of life. The surrounding white sandy beaches as well as several shipwrecks make it appealing for beach walking, swimming, snorkelling, or scuba diving.

Be welcomed at Tinabo Island with a dance performance before a guided tour through the village. Enjoy music and craft demonstrations and insights into the local cottage industries of coconut oil, fishing nets and boat building. At Tinabo Besar, visitors are encouraged to help with conservation programs of tree planting under the guidance of National Park staff, before snorkelling in the pristine waters.

This is an expedition stop. Our Expedition team will scout the nearby atolls for the best snorkelling and diving in the area.

Padar, East Indies

A climb to the peak of Padar Island offers a chance to stretch your legs and be rewarded with a mesmerizing panoramic view over the island’s rugged peaks, beaches and vast blue sea. Alternatively, explore the island up close by Xplorer cruise.

Komodo Dragon

Take a walk with local rangers to spot the Komodo Dragon and visit a local village. You will learn of the legends of the Komodo Dragons and why villagers treat them with kindness. Later, enjoy a stroll along the dusky pink sands of Pink Beach and swim or snorkel in the clear water.

Kelimutu National Park Crater Lakes

From the coastal town of Ende, travel a beautiful road up to Kelimutu. On the way, meet the Sisters of the Saint Francis Order over morning tea to learn about their social work within the local community. Arrive at the spectacular tricoloured Crater Lakes, where we may throw stones into the lakes for good luck. Later, enjoy lunch at Kelimutu Eco Lodge accompanied by the traditional music of Flores.

Lamalera, East Indies

Lamalera is one of the last traditional whaling villages, where an ancient hunting tradition continues to provide for the subsistence lifestyle of this village. The small island of Sogori measures just 1.5km long and around 90m wide and is home to the seafaring masters the Bajau and Bugis people. Explore the marine diversity that surrounds the island ahead of learning more about the unique local way of life. Observe hunting and Ikat weaving demonstrations, with opportunities to purchase exquisite hand-woven cloth directly from the weavers.

Alor Island

Small, rugged Alor Island is home to around 140,000 people speaking 50 different languages. Visit the open-air Kadelang Market, the Museum of 1000 Moko and a traditional village, where you will be warmly welcomed. Witness the ceremonial Lego Lego dance in which ladies dressed in handwoven textiles and bronze bangles form a tightly-knit circle and dance rhythmically to gongs and Moko drums.

Tablolong Bay

Arrive at Tablolong Bay, Kupang and listen to the bright, harp like sounds produced by the traditional Sasando instrument with a beachside performance. Later, there is an opportunity to swim or snorkel.


Enjoy a peaceful day at sea as we make our way towards Tablolong Bay, where our first adventure of this journey awaits. Partake in onboard activities including workshops and lecturers from our special guests and Expedition Team.


Arrive and disembark at Darwin’s Fort Hill Wharf. Post cruise transfers to CBD hotels or the airport are included. If you’re not transferring directly to the airport why not spend the day enjoying the tropical city of Darwin with its landscaped waterfront and harbourside Wave Pool.

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. Coral Expeditions suggests that you do not arrive on the day of embarkation or depart on the day of disembarkation due to any changes that may occur in scheduling. 

Fares & Availability

Bridge Deck Suites

Private Balcony - 37.5m2


Explorer Deck Balcony Stateroom

Private Balcony - 21.4m2


Promenade Deck Stateroom

Picture Window - 17m2


Coral Deck Stateroom

Porthole Window - 17m2

Last Stateroom
Book this Departure

Prices are per person twin share, listed in Australian Dollars (AUD).  Booking Terms & Conditions >
For solo traveller rates see our Solo Traveller Program

Additional Information


  • All excursions with our Expedition Team
  • Use of Xplorer, Zodiacs and Kayaks
  • Snorkelling & SCUBA equipment (SCUBA diving at an additional cost)
  • Daily lectures and briefings with Guest Lecturers
  • All meals, chef-prepared on board
  • Captain’s welcome and farewell events, and open bridge access
  • Selected wines, selected beers and house spirits, juices, and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner
  • 24-hour barista-style coffee and tea station
  • All entrance fees to National Parks, ports, traditional owner fees and charges imposed by governing authorities
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Use of all onboard facilities, incl. a reference library
  • Expedition diary, along with a photo and video gallery documenting the highlights of your voyage
  • Post-cruise transfers (in most destinations)
  • Wifi Access – Standard speed connectivity enabling email, social image sharing, web browsing and messaging

Not Included:

  • Pre-cruise transfers
  • Pre and post cruise flights/charter flights
  • Pre and post cruise accommodation
  • Travel Insurance
  • SCUBA Diving (view Scuba diving rates)
  • Entry visas & travel permits for the country you are travelling to/from
  • Alcoholic drinks (including beer and wine) outside of lunch and dinner service
  • Laundry service (available at a cost)
  • Items of a personal nature such souvenir purchases
  • Optional Extras (in some destinations)


Coral Geographer, the newest addition to our fleet, carries a maximum of 120 guests, delivering Coral Expeditions’ renowned warm Australian hospitality, intimate onboard atmosphere, and world-class expedition experience. More About Coral Geographer >

Travel Insurance is not included in your cruise fare. We highly recommend all guests to obtain comprehensive travel insurance with remote area evacuation coverage. Please refer to our Pre-Cruise Checklist page for facts that should be considered and shared when speaking with Travel Insurance suppliers regarding travel insurance.

At Coral Expeditions dining is a celebration of great food and good company enjoyed in extraordinary destinations. People and place are key to enjoyable dining experiences, where food becomes the vehicle for conversation and creating memorable occasions.

We now offer two wine selections that guests may purchase in addition to our new house selection of wines. These packages showcase contemporary choices of Australian wines and French Champagne. More About Cuisine & Wine >

  • A Taste of Australia Selection | 6 Bottles | $280.00
  • Connoisseur Selection | 6 Bottles | $400.00

Our Cruise Collection Merchandise including expedition gear is also available for purchase in our onboard gift shop. View our Cruise Collection here >

When it comes time for the exciting time of packing for your cruise, our packing lists are available to assist you. More specific information regarding weather conditions in your destination will be included in your Cruise Documentation which you will receive prior to your cruise.

The Islands of Indonesia packing list will be featured here shortly.

There are several walking options available on this departure, mostly through villages and at a leisurely pace, although there will be some longer walk options on offer.

An alternative excursion will always be offered in place of higher impact walks. The Expedition Team will advise walking conditions and requirements prior to each excursion. Should you have any physical limitations or mobility issues, please notify our reservations team in advance prior to your departure.

There will be multiple swimming, snorkelling, and diving opportunities on this itinerary at Tablolong Bay, Komodo Island, Takabonarate Marine Park, Sogori, and more (subject to weather conditions). These opportunities are a guide and not all are guaranteed.

Our vessel is fully stocked with a wide range of snorkelling and scuba diving equipment.

Please ensure your passport has at least 6 months validity from the time the expedition commences, and two blank pages. Please email a scanned colour copy of your passport identification page to our team at [email protected] no later than 45 days prior to your departure.

Important: Please bring your physical passport with you on all international departures.

The travel advice information below is for Australian guests only. If you are a non-Australian passport holder travelling on these departures, please contact your relevant government department, embassy, or your travel agent for applicable information.
Travelling guests are fully responsible for arranging their own health requirements to travel abroad.

Makassar Post Cruise Optional Charter Flight: We offer an optional direct charter flight connecting guests with ease between Makassar and Darwin. This flight will be $1,900 per person. Limited seats are available, contact our reservations team to book.

Darwin Post Cruise Transfer: A complimentary transfer is provided to CBD hotels or the airport. We recommend allowing sufficient time to arrive for your flight in the event of any delays in disembarkation. If you’re not transferring directly to the airport why not spend the day enjoying the tropical city of Darwin with its landscaped waterfront and harbourside Wave Pool.

Darwin to Makassar voyage:
Indonesian 30-day Visa on arrival will be processed onboard the ship en route to Tablolong Bay, Indonesia. Please ensure that your passport complies with the requirements already advised. The Visa processing fee of AUD$55.00 will be charged to your onboard guest account.
Makassar to Darwin voyage:
Guests arriving in Indonesia by air must apply for an e-VOA (e-Visa on Arrival 30 days) at before traveling. This e-VOA is at a cost of IDR 500,000 (five hundred thousand rupiah).
You cannot apply for an Indonesia E-VOA until 14 days prior to your arrival, from the 20th of March 2024.

Click HERE to view an Indonesian E-VOA guide for our guests travelling on the Makassar to Darwin direction.

We do not have currency exchange onboard. Guests are advised to exchange money into local currency prior to departure from their home port. Currency exchange and eftpos style point of sale is increasingly available in the regions we visit. We recommend carrying small denominations.

Indonesia: Rupiah

We want to ensure that your journey with us is smooth and hassle-free. To help you prepare for your cruise, refer to our Pre-Cruise Checklist for more detailed information on the milestones leading up to your voyage.

Optional Charter Flights are included as a part of this itinerary.

Cruise and Fly Fare: Optional charter flight available from Darwin to Makassar for $1900 per person. Connect with ease to the ship on this hosted 2 hours and 15 minutes direct charter flight transfer from Australia.

Book Online: Secure your cruise reservation through our online booking system. Please note you will receive two confirmation emails: the initial automatic confirmation generated by our system, and the second, manually sent during office hours by our reservations team.

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