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Papua New Guinea

Sepik River Scouting Expeditions

Explore a wild and unspoiled land

Portrait of local dancer_3_Tuam island_PNGThe Sepik is one of the world’s great river systems. Meandering 1,100 km through Papua New Guinea, this mighty river has nurtured tribes and cultures for millennia. With dense terrain making this part of the world largely inaccessible by road, the river provides access to villages and towns along its course.  Coral Expeditions first explored the Sepik River nearly a decade ago.  We were amazed at what we saw. We encountered a truly wild and unspoilt land – increasing in magnificence the further upriver we went.

In response to increased demand to see more of Papua New Guinea,  Coral Expeditions has planned a short series of four landmark expeditions in February 2018, each of 7 days duration. Positioning the Coral Expeditions I at the Sepik for a short month-long window, we will take advantage of her shallow draft and maneuverability to travel as far as the middle Sepik, where few have ventured before.

Day 4 - Port Davey (31)EDIT2Allowing the rhythm of the river to determine our schedule, we will visit local tribes who have had little contact with modernity, pass through some of the oldest and densest rainforests in the world, and look out for local species including the famed Bird of Paradise.  Reconnaissance voyages up smaller tributaries can be taken in smaller tender vessels, returning after each excursion to the comfort of Coral Expeditions I.

Coral Expeditions draws from our own experience cruising the Sepik, as well as the expertise of local operators, to develop an itinerary that is both comprehensive and exploratory. This knowledge of the area, as well as the experience and professionalism of our staff, will ensure you have a safe and exciting cruise.


February 2018

Deluxe Stateroom $5,890 n/a
Upper Deck Stateroom $5,590 n/a
Stateroom $5,290 $7,935
Cabin $4,990 $7,485

*Limited sole use occupancy available



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Carol KiduCAROL KIDU DBE Dr (Hons) – Guest Lecturer

When Carol from Brisbane married a Papuan student, Buri Kidu, in 1969, she became a member of the Vahoi clan of Pari Village of the Motu tribe.    Their personal life was deeply involved in Motu culture and customs and their lived reality was the interface between tradition and modernity in an urban village.  In 1980 her husband was appointed as the first indigenous Chief Justice of Papua New Guinea.  After Sir Buri’s death in 1994, Carol remained with his extended family and entered politics in 1997. She retired from Papua New Guinea Parliament in 2012 after 15 years in politics. She was the Minister for Community Development for 9 years and finished her political career as Leader of the Opposition. She focused on legislative and policy reform for social development in PNG with a focus on marginalised and/or vulnerable populations. Since retiring from politics, she has continued international and regional commitments and was a member of the UN Pacific Commission on AIDS; the Global Commission on HIV and the Law; and a member of the Global High Level Taskforce on ICPD 2014 and beyond
Dame Kidu has been awarded four Honorary Doctorates (UNRE and UPNG in PNG; Queensland University and Deakin University in Australia). She was awarded Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2005; the PNG International Woman of Courage Award by the Secretary of State of the United States of America in 2007; Pacific Person of the Year in 2007 and was the recipient of the Regional Rights Resource Team Pacific Human Rights Award in 2008 for her contribution to promoting the rights of Pacific Islanders. She was honoured by the French Government with the Cross of Knight in the Order of the Legion d’Honneur in 2009.
During 2017, her focus has been on renovating their family home to become a library and learning centre to serve the community – it is still a work in progress.
She has travelled to the middle Sepik only once and is excited to join Coral Expeditions to revisit the people who are the custodians of the mighty Sepik River.


Embark: Board at 3:00pm for 4:00pm departure. Disembark: 8:00am


An expedition of this nature cannot be planned to the hour. We will use trusted local guides and the rhythm of the river to plan our daily schedule. Every trip may be slightly different, depending on the current of the river and the local conditions. You are guaranteed a spectacular insight into one of the world’s last frontier lands.

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Madang / Sepik Mouth

Leaving Madang, sail through the Madang Lagoon and past coral-laced islands to Sek Harbour and then out to the Bismarck Sea. Pass through the Dampier Strait at Cape Corselle and during the evening continue along the North Coast. As you pass the volcanic islands of Manam and Boisa, see the crater spewing hot ash and lava.

Murik Lakes / Mendam

Leaving the ship by tender, we follow the barat (canal) through rainforest to the Murik Lakes and the village of Mendam where you will be introduced to the Sepik people. You may see traditional drama performed by the youths, and unique carvings can be purchased before returning through the Lake to the Sepik.


In the afternoon, a visit to Bien means a chance to purchase billum bags and a range of handicraft. The school will welcome you with a “sing sing”.

Proceed upriver to Taway and Angoram.

Angoram / Kambaramba

Following in the path of the German explorer Otto Fisnch as we continue up the Sepik. Visit Kambaramba, a village built entirely on stilts over the river. Snap some photos of this unique place and learn about the daily lives of its inhabitants.  Continue to Moin Village.


Tambanum is the largest village along the Sepik River, and is known for its prolific carvers. Here, you have the chance to have your face painted in the traditional way – an unforgettable experience.


Sail past the Catholic Mission Station and continue upriver through the Iatmul Region of the middle Sepik. Kamindimbit is as far as the Coral Expeditions I will go upriver. At Kamindimbit, you will witness a spectacular “sing sing”, village demonstration, and a chance to see a display of valuable artifacts and handicraft. In the evening, see the sacred flutes played aboard, as they cannot be played within earshot of the village women.

Chambri Lakes

Be taken by tender through a beautiful canal to the Chambri Lakes.  With many islands and back-dropped by the Hunstein Mountains in the distance, it is a magical place.  You will see many birds and maybe a pukpuk (crocodile) through the wetlands. Visit Aibom, famous for its pottery, and the first Haus Tambaran (spirit house) at Wombun.  Haus Tambarans are used to administer village and cultural affairs, including initiations.

Kanganaman / Pelambei

Continue upriver by tender, to visit Kanganaman and Pelambei. Kanganaman has the largest Haus Tambaran on the Sepik River. The carvings, hooks, garamut drums, and sacred flutes all play a significant part in village life and the carvings are considered to be among the best along the Sepik. See a demonstration of the famous garamut drums being played by the elders in the village.

The above itinerary is an indication only. Activities may vary and are subject to change based on local conditions and local availability.

February 2018

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
20 February 2018 20 Feb 2018 27 February 2018 27 Feb 2018 Loading... Loading... Coral Expeditions I Loading...
27 February 2018 27 Feb 2018 06 March 2018 06 Mar 2018 Loading... Loading... Coral Expeditions I Loading...

March 2018

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
27 February 2018 27 Feb 2018 06 March 2018 06 Mar 2018 Loading... Loading... Coral Expeditions I Loading...

fruit seller

Your cruise price includes:

  • Accommodation in selected room grade for the number of nights as listed in each itinerary
  • All meals
  • House beer and wine during lunch and dinner service
  • 24 hour tea and coffee
  • Captain’s welcome and farewell drinks
  • Access to islands, marine and national parks
  • Guided tours in tender vessels
  • Touring as described in each itinerary
  • Services of expedition staff and lecturers including briefings and knowledge-sharing sessions
  • Port taxes and government charges imposed by government authorities

Your cruise price does not include:

  • Pre and post flights, transfers and hotels
  • Entry visas/travel permits
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature including but not limited to phone and internet communications and bar charges (outside of the included drinks package as highlighted), laundry charges and souvenir purchases

Tipping not required:

Other cruise lines automatically add gratuities to your account and service charges to your bar invoices. On Coral Discoverer, our crew has no other agenda than your delight.

Now that you’ve chosen your cruise, our reservations specialists are on hand to assist with all of your booking arrangements to ensure your holiday runs as smoothly as possible.


To speak to our reservations specialists contact us during business hours on freecall 1800 079 545 (within Australia), or email

Don’t forget, we strongly recommend the purchase of Travel Insurance with any cruise purchase. See below for further details.

Recommended Hotels

madang-resort-suiteMadang Resort

We recommend the Madang Resort, owned by Sir Peter Barter, for your pre and post cruise stay in Papua New Guinea. This resort is one of the most iconic in the Pacific Region and the winner of multiple Trip Advisor awards.
Visit the resort website here.



Comprehensive Travel Insurance is strongly recommended for all travellers as protection against any unforeseen events that may necessitate the cancellation or interruption of your holiday and should be purchased at the same time as you purchase your cruise. It should also include emergency evacuation and repatriation cover.

We recommend Travel Insurance by SureSave.

SureSave, is an Australian company who specialise in travel insurance designed for travellers. SureSave provides world assistance through a customer support team, a claims team and an in-house 24/7 Emergency Assistance division. Underwritten by Lloyds of London, you get peace of mind knowing your security is guaranteed. When you need help, you’ll get it in a familiar accent from someone who understands and is there to help.

Please note: SureSave Travel Insurance policies may only be purchased by Australian residents. For international travellers, please discuss your policy requirements with your local insurance provider.