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Melanesian Discovery | Madang - Honiara | 12 Nights

Papua New Guinea to the Solomons

Departing Madang 8 October 2021 | Arriving Honiara 20 October 2021 | Onboard Coral Geographer

The culturally complex islands north and east of Australia known collectively as Melanesia comprise nearly 2,000 islands with its peoples speaking approx. 1,300 languages. Your journey is an exploration into the cultural diversity and natural beauty of this mysterious region. As we approach the mouth of Papua New Guinea’s largest river, the mighty Sepik, cruise past the magnificent active Kadovar Volcano for spectacular views from the deck. Discover the unique marine life and birds of the isolated Manus province, and go ashore at eastern Papua New Guinea’s best-kept secret – Lavongai. The raw paradise of this island is seen in the dense rainforest cloaking volcanic mountains, where rivers cascade into tumbling waterfalls. Spend two days in rarely visited Bougainville, including stunning Nissan Island and the islands around Kieta.  In the Solomon Islands, discover the hawksbill turtle nesting grounds at the Arnavon islands and cruise magnificent Marovo Lagoon. Wandering the streets of Ghizo, Tulagi, Rabaul and many small villages mingle with locals and hear the stories of the customs and lifestyle.

View Brochure       Snorkelling & Scuba Diving Information


Expedition Highlights

  • Cruise the mighty Sepik River to Bien village, home to some of Papua New Guinea’s most skilled woodcarvers
  • Explore little-visited Manus Province, where some of Papua New Guinea’s best snorkelling and diving sites are located
  • Look for Hawksbill turtles at the Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area, the largest turtle rookery in the South Pacific
  • Swim, dive and snorkel the crystal-clear waters of the Solomons Mangalonga Island and Marovo Lagoon, considered the world’s finest double barrier enclosed Lagoon
  • Learn of Rabaul’s turbulent history at the Volcano Observatory
  • Spend two days exploring remote Bougainville, and meet the welcoming local people who share their way of life



10% Early Bird: Available on bookings made before 31 August 2020.

Bridge Deck Balcony Suite $18,480 n/a
Explorer Deck Balcony $14,760 $22,140
Promenade Deck $11,880 $17,820
Coral Deck $9,480 $14,220

Prices are per person, listed in Australian Dollars (AUD) and include GST. *Limited sole use occupancy available.

Optional Charter flight: Direct flight from Cairns to Madang on the morning of 8th October 2021. The flight is accompanied by a Coral Expeditions Staff member. Flight times and fare to be advised (approximately $850 AUD per person). The charter flight fare includes a pre-cruise tour of Madang and a transfer to the ship. Limited seats available, contact our reservations team.


Small Islands of The World - Madang to Honiara Map


Embark: Board at 4:00 pm for a 5:00 pm departure at Madang, Papua New Guinea, on 8 October 2021
Disembark: Arrive at 8:00 am at Honiara, The Solomons, on 20 October 2021

Optional Charter flight: Direct flight from Cairns to Madang on the morning of 8th October 2021. The flight is accompanied by a Coral Expeditions Staff member. Flight times and fare to be advised (approximately $850 AUD per person). The charter flight fare includes a pre-cruise tour of Madang and a transfer to the ship. Limited seats available, contact our reservations team.

Madang > Sepik River & Bien > Manus Island group > Tingwon Island > Lavongai >  Rabaul > Bougainville – Nissan Island > Bougainville – Pok Pok Island > Gizo & Njari Reef > Arnavon Islands – Kerehikapa & Dart Sound > Marovo Lagoon > Mangalonga & Tulagi > Honiara

Day 1: Depart Madang

Charter Flight: For those who join us on our optional charter flight, arrive in Madang and enjoy a tour of Bil Bil village to admire the local pottery industry.  There will also be time to visit the local markets before boarding.

All guest board Coral Geographer at 4:00pm for an 5:00pm departure. This evening, join the Captain’s welcome drinks and meet your crew and fellow guests as the sun sets.

Day 2- 12:

These are expedition itineraries covering remote regions. Your Captain and Expedition Team may make changes to the daily schedule when necessary to maximise guest experience. Below are the highlight destinations of your voyage.

Sepik River

We continue to cruise into Papua New Guinea’s largest river, the mighty Sepik. We head ashore to Bien village, home to some of Papua New Guinea’s most skilled woodcarvers whose works are found in curated collections globally. This evening we cruise past the magnificent active Kadovar Volcano (pictured above) for spectacular views from the deck.

Manus Province

Seldom visited Manus Province is a jewel of Papua New Guinea. It is a birding highlight, home to many endemic species such as the superb pitta and red-footed booby. The snorkelling and diving here is spectacular – rarely explored waters provide a kaleidoscope of opportunities, from magnificent walls to encounters with sea turtles and tropical fish. We will explore one of the remote islands of this province today.

Tingwon Island

Tingwon Island, completely surrounded by a coral reef and home to unique birdlife flourishing in virgin rainforest, is a charming and rarely visited stop.  Go ashore to meet the small population of this island and enjoy their company as they introduce you to their culture with traditional dances and local delicacies. The island’s surrounding reef provides a chance to snorkel and dive in the afternoon.

Lavongai Island (New Hanover Island)

Lavongai might well be the best-kept secret of eastern Papua New Guinea. Also known as New Hanover Island, the raw paradise of this island is seen in the dense rainforest cloaking volcanic mountains, where rivers cascade into tumbling waterfalls. The intensely blue waters are crossed by outrigger canoes and the local villages are warm and welcoming. Get to know the local culture and enjoying snorkelling and nature walks.


Arrive into Rabaul, the waterside town on the edge of a magnificent harbour, overlooked by six cone-shaped volcanoes. Once a thriving base for military and naval activity, the town was smothered by ash in 1994, causing 80% of the buildings to collapse. Here, learn of the World War II history of the area, visit the Volcano Observatory and the Kokopo Museum.

Bougainville – Nissan Island and Pok Pok Island

Spend two days in the rarely visited Autonomous Region of Bougainville. Snorkel and bird watch at remote Nissan Island and experience Bougainville culture at Pok Pok Island.

Gizo & Njari Reef

This morning we enter the Solomon Islands at the town of Gizo. Wander through the open-air markets which showcase a bounty of tropical fruits and fresh fish, as well as crafts by the legendary wood and stone carvers of the region. You may choose to scuba dive over Japanese shipwrecks as an optional extra instead of exploring the town of Gizo. In the afternoon, we cruise past Kennedy Island before enjoying water activities at Njari Reef. Njari Reef is a merge point for oceanic currents and is said to have one of the highest fish counts in the world.

Arnavon Islands & Dart Sound

Today, we visit the marine reserve of the Arnavon Islands, home to the largest rookery of endangered Hawksbill Turtles in the South Pacific Region and supporting some of the healthiest and most diverse coral reefs in the world. In 1995 the US-based Nature Conservancy helped three local communities come together to create the Arnavon Community Marine Conservation area – it was the first protected area to be established within the Solomons and covers over 40,000 acres of land and sea. Go ashore at Kerehikapa Island with the chance to see turtle hatchlings emerging from their nests.

Later, cruise up picturesque Dart Sound to the remote village, and be welcomed with traditional dance and singing. Many of the rangers that work in the Arnavons are from this area.

Marovo Lagoon

Marovo Lagoon has been described as one of the world’s natural wonders. One of the world’s largest double barrier enclosed lagoons, this isolated spot in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands has been proposed for World Heritage listing.

Marovo is world-famous for its intensive coral reef ecosystems, the waters teem with tropical fish and boast exceptional dive and snorkelling sites. You may sit down with the locals and learn about village life. Expert Marovo carvers are justifiably famous for the intricate pieces they create from king ebony with inlays of rosewood and mother-of-pearl.

Mangalonga & Tulagi

This morning, we visit Mangalonga Island to snorkel and dive on the reef. Mangalonga Reef has amazing fish life and it is common to see feather stars and colourful anthias. We may also enjoy a birdwatching walk on the island – some of the often-sighted birds include claret-breasted fruit doves.

This afternoon, we visit the old capital of the Solomon Islands, Tulagi. Tulagi was extensively damaged during WWII and has much war history. We go ashore at Vanita Jetty where we are welcomed with a traditional Solomon Islander warrior welcome followed by music and dance performances. We take a guided walking tour around Tulagi township and visit the cut through the hill, the cricket pitch, former Commissioners Residence and the Tulagi Market. We explore the harbour by Xplorer tender vessels visiting Tanambogho and Ghavutu. There may be an opportunity to dive or snorkel the waters around Tulagi which are well-known for magnificent wreck diving.

Day 13: Arrive Honiara

Disembark Coral Geographer at 8:00 am. Complimentary transfers to central hotels or the airport are included.

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. The itinerary includes the possibility of interaction with wild animals and this interaction is subject to the presence of this wildlife on the day.

October 2021

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
08 October 2021 08 Oct 2021 20 October 2021 20 Oct 2021 $9,480 to $18,480 $9,480 to $18,480 Coral Geographer Available Book

Your cruise price includes:

  • The services of an expert Expedition Team and Guest Lecturers
  • Use of snorkelling equipment
  • An authentic, flexible expedition itinerary
  • All daily guided excursions
  • Lectures, workshops and demonstrations onboard
  • All meals, chef-prepared on board
  • Selected wines and beer with lunch and dinner service
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Events, and Open Bridge Access
  • 24-hour coffee and teas
  • Use of all onboard facilities, including a reference library
  • Post-cruise transfers

Your cruise fare does not include:

  • Cost of the pre-cruise charter flight (which includes pre-cruise tour & transfer to ship)
  • Pre and post commercial flights and hotels
  • Entry visas/travel permits
  • Travel Insurance
  • Costs for scuba diving
  • 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

Our friendly reservations specialists are on hand to assist with your booking arrangements to ensure your holiday runs as smoothly as possible. Contact our team on 1800 079 545 during business hours in Australia or email



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. Please refer to our Pre-Departure page for facts that should be considered and shared when speaking with Travel Insurance suppliers.


Additional Information: