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Raja Ampat and Spice Islands Darwin to Biak Coral Expeditions

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Spice Islands & West Papua

Spice Islands & Raja Ampat (Darwin to Biak), 12 Nights

Experience the Spice of Life

12 Nights | Departs Darwin 21 December 2019 or 06 January 2021 | Arrives Biak 

Board your small expedition ship Coral Adventurer in Darwin, Australia for a Spice Islands & Raja Ampat 12-night voyage to Biak, Cenderawasih Bay, Indonesia.

Coral Expeditions’ Spice Islands and Raja Ampat itineraries combine extraordinary natural beauty and rare wildlife encounters with Indonesian culture and Batavia-era seafaring history. Retrace the ancient trade routes of spice merchants trading Chinese silks for cloves, Indian cotton for nutmeg and Arabian coffee for pepper. Embrace the heady aromas, colourful spices and vibrant characters at Spice Island markets and small villages.

Explore some of the 1,500 remote, rarely-visited islands of Raja Ampat where a crystal clear ocean harbours over 75% of the world’s coral and fish species and coastal villages are reached by long-boat. Swim with the whale sharks of Cenderawasih Bay, the largest fish in the sea, snorkel over coral reefs and shipwrecks or look for birdlife in the forest canopy.

Be welcomed into West Papuan villages and learn about cultural traditions through vibrant ceremonies and dance performances. Admire the spectacle of Moluccan paddlers propelling kora kora canoes with their elaborately carved figureheads. Follow in 17th-century Dutch colonial footsteps of Fort Belgica, a pentagonal shaped fortress atop a hill.

Explore Indonesia and Raja Ampat on an unforgettable Spice Island voyage steeped in colonial history where nature takes centre stage and cultural adventures abound.

 

Expedition Highlights

Some of the many highlights of Spice Islands & Raja Ampat cruise include:

  • See Banda’s Kora Kora Canoes welcome you into Banda Neira
  • Dive into history on the fabled Spice Island of Banda Neira with its Belgica Fort
  • Enjoy the amazing underwater snorkelling and diving at the islands of Raja Ampat
  • Snorkel and swim with the magnificent whale sharks at Cenderawasih Bay
  • Experience local culture, including traditional dances, handicrafts and fresh local food

View 2021 Flyer

 

Fares

21 December 2019 departure

CORAL ADVENTURER TWIN SHARE PER PERSON SOLE USE*
Bridge Deck Balcony Suite $15,840 n/a
Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom $13,740 n/a
Explorer Deck $13,340 $20,010
Promenade Deck $12,240 $18,360
Coral Deck $11,290 $16,935

 

06 January 2021 departure

CORAL ADVENTURER TWIN SHARE PER PERSON SOLE USE*
Bridge Deck Balcony Suite $19,900 n/a
Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom $15,340 n/a
Explorer Deck $13,990 $20,985
Promenade Deck $11,790 $17,685
Coral Deck $9,900 $14,850

 

Prices are per person, listed in Australian Dollars (AUD) and include GST. *Limited sole use occupancy available. Optional Charter flight 2021 departure: Price to be advised.  Contact us for more information.

Itinerary

Embark: Board at Darwin’s Fort Hill Wharf at 11:00 am for 12:30 pm departure.
Disembark: Arrive at Biak at 7:00 am and disembark.

Day 1: Depart Darwin

Board your ship in Darwin at 11:00am, where there is time to settle into your cabin before our 12:30 pm departure. Spend the afternoon becoming acquainted with all the facilities onboard as we cruise northwards towards the Spice Islands.

As dusk falls join your fellow travellers, the Captain and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Drinks in anticipation of what promises to be a remarkable journey discovering Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands.

Day 2: Crossing the Timor Sea

Spend a luxuriant sea day at leisure as we cross the Timor Sea towards Banda Neira. Join our Expedition Team in the Lounge for an insightful introduction to Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands as well as safety procedures and protocols while visiting Indonesia. After dinner, a movie or documentary will be featured.

Day 3: Banda Neira - Spice Islands

The Banda archipelago is the historic heart of the spice trade and was once the world’s only source of nutmeg until the mid-19th century as Portuguese, Dutch and English fought for control over the spice trade. The ten volcanic islands have attracted traders and merchants for at least 2,000 years as highly sought-after goods such as cloves, textiles, batik and rice were moved through Banda.

The Banda Islands are lushly vegetated with tropical flora including the Myristica Tree (nutmeg) while the Banda Sea’s underwater lava flow reefs are popular for scuba diving and snorkelling.

On our approach to Banda Neira, witness the outline of Gunung Api volcano with its thin plume of smoke often rising from the summit. Admire the photo-worthy spectacle of Moluccan paddlers propelling kora kora canoes with their elaborately carved figureheads.

Snorkel and dive over the nearby lava flow reef system or explore ashore and enjoy local tea and snacks on the waterfront.

Later in the afternoon, there is time to explore Fort Belgica, built by the first Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in 1611. The pentagonal shaped fort is extremely well preserved and provides an interesting insight into Dutch colonisation. Join the locals for a traditional dance and music performance before enjoying a glass of champagne as the sun sets over the fort.

DAY 4: BANDA NEIRA & HATTA ISLAND - SPICE ISLANDS

This morning snorkel and dive over the nearby lava flow reef system, rich in colour and variety of fish species, or you may like to travel through the streets of Banda Neira, past the remnants of mansions constructed during Dutch colonialism on a town tour. After lunch we farewell Banda Neira and head for nearby Hatta Island within the Banda Archipelago.

Hatta Island offers exceptional snorkelling and diving at the edge of the reef just 5m off the shoreline. Admire vibrant corals and sea creatures of all shapes, sizes and colours home to turtles, dolphins, sea horses, great coral gardens and plenty of fish. There is time to take a guided walk through the village, visit school children, and to explore a plantation of Pepper Trees and Nutmeg Trees.

Day 5: Molana Island & Saparua Island - Spice Islands

We start the day arriving early at Molana Island whose history stretches back to the Portuguese colonial era. This uninhabited private island is home to 85 species of trees, Pacific Monitor Lizards (Varanus Indicus), Moluccan Scrubfowl (Megapodius Reinwardtii) and Coconut Crabs. The island still contains the ruins of a hospital built by the Dutch, whose construction was interrupted by the Japanese occupation in World War II. Residing in a large reef cluster that emerges to the surface makes for rich marine life surrounding the island. Snorkelers can take advantage of the shallow corals and clear water with easy viewing of unique corals and plentiful fishes. Experienced divers may see an underwater cave that connected to a well in the centre of the island.

After brunch, we head East to nearby Saparua Island where we are welcomed by singing school children. The area holds an important spot in history books which we learn at Fort Duurstede, a 17th- century Dutch fort with a complicated backstory that spans centuries. Here men and boys give us their war dance with shields, swords and cultural adornment. This is a location of cultural immersion and learning.

Day 6: Sawai - Spice Islands

In the middle of the Banda Sea, Sawai village is on Seram Island and is one of the oldest villages in the Maluku Islands. The village is in a beautiful setting with simple homes built on stilts over the ocean. We will spend the day immersed in the crystal-clear waters and snorkelling over reefs as well as exploring ashore the grand cliffs and valleys of Manusela National Park. The park is popular for birdwatchers with 118 known species including colourful Eclectus parrots, purple-naped lory and salmon-crested cockatoo which are all endemic to Seram Island.

This is our final stop in the Spice Islands as we make our way to the natural playground of Raja Ampat.

Day 7: Misool & The Stone Gardens Of Misool - Raja Ampat

Our introduction to the beautiful natural playground of Raja Ampat is at Misool, one of the four largest islands. Raja Ampat means the ‘Four Kings’ which refers to four main islands: Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, and Misool, in an archipelago comprising over 1,500 smaller islands.

More than 1,000 prehistoric petroglyphs estimated up to 5,000 years old have been discovered at Misool. These ochre rock paintings, which depict human figures, canoes, sharks and dolphins as well as abstract images thought to symbolise fertility.

At Misool we visit Balbulol Lagoon, an almost landlocked inlet populated with conical-shaped islets undercut at sea level that rise from turquoise waters like Christmas Trees. There is time to swim and kayak amongst the islands in this beautiful lagoon.

We visit another similarly spectacular waterway at Yapap, considered one of the best natural pools in the world. This vast primordial pool is dotted with dramatic limestone formations which look more like chess pieces than rocks. The turquoise Yapap sea has such clarity that grains of sand and coral reefs on the seabed are visible from the surface. We also visit heart-shaped Dafalen Love Lake which can be viewed from up high with a climb to the summit of nearby cliffs. Swimming and diving in these pristine waters is an undisputed highlight of our Raja Ampat adventures.

Day 8: Kofiau Island - Raja Ampat

At Kofiau Island we are welcomed by village dancers from their traditional boats before leading us ashore at Deer Village (also known as Kampung Deer). Local guides show us through their village before we board a local longboat which takes us to another village, Kampung Awat. Here we enjoy a traditional Sasi Opening Ceremony and a Bar-B-Que on the beach. Sasi is a traditional ceremony to preserve the ecosystem and effectively limits the catch of particular marine species during a designated period.

After lunch, we snorkel and swim in the ocean, visit other villages and keep an eye out for the striking red bird-of-paradise which is distinguished by its emerald green face and crimson red plumes that fall elegantly from each breast.

Day 9: Wayag Island - Raja Ampat

More Raja Ampat treasures await today as we explore the magnificent waterways and lagoons by Xplorer and Zodiac boats with time to swim in crystal clear waters and walk upon white-sand beaches amongst the many islands.

After lunch, there is an opportunity for an energetic hike up to famed Pindito Peak, with hikers rewarded by panoramic views over the island and its spectacular lagoon. Alternatively, you can choose to relax by swimming, snorkelling, kayaking or a guided glass bottom boat tour.

Day 10: At Sea

Leaving Raja Ampat in our wake, we enjoy a luxuriant, relaxed day at sea as we make our way towards Cenderawasih Bay on the north coast of Papua.

Join our Expedition Leaders and Guest Lecturers in the Lounge for an informative presentation on the whale sharks of Cenderawasih Bay. Reaching between 9m and 12m in length and weighing up to 12,500kg, whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean. Drawn to the fishing platforms of local fishermen, there are few other places in the world where these magnificent creatures congregate.

Day 11: Roon or Auri Island

Depending on the weather and conditions, today we will enjoy either Roon Island or Auri Island.

Cenderawasih Bay (translates to Bird of Paradise Bay), hosts an incredible array of marine biodiversity. The largest marine park in Indonesia, Teluk Cenderawasih National Park protects a rich marine ecosystem, and covers an area of more than 14,500 square kilometres and is home to whale sharks, dugongs, dolphins as well as over 200 known species of fish and 150 species of coral.

One of the highlights of Roon Island is the wreckage of a Japanese Zero fighter plane lying in shallow water and is visible to snorkellers when the weather co-operates. The wreck has become a marine habitat and sports large corals, gorgonian fans as well as large populations of lionfish, surgeonfish and turtles amongst other marine life.

To reach Auri Island, we will navigate through picturesque island scenery before enjoying beach activities, swimming and snorkelling in this striking location. There is also a visit to a local village where we will enjoy a traditional dance and music performance. Villagers turn out adorned with body paint and dressed in colourful costumes with grass skirts, shells and beads along with elaborate headdresses.

Day 12: Cenderawasih Bay & Kwatisore Village

The biodiversity hotspot of Cenderawasih Marine Park attracts a significant population of whale sharks, the biggest fish in the sea. Cenderawasih Bay is one of the few places worldwide where it’s possible to swim with this endangered species. There is no guarantee that whale sharks will materialise on cue – if they do, we may have the chance to snorkel amongst them. Eyeballing these enormous fish, which are completely harmless and can grow to the length of a bus, is an experience you won’t forget!

Later, we will visit Kwatisore village with local guides and learn about West Papuan customs, cultures and the traditional lifestyles of the people. You will notice the difference in dancing, adornment and musical instruments of the West Papuan people in comparison to customs and culture of earlier islands visited in Raja Ampat and Spice Islands.

Day 13: Arrive in Biak

After an early morning arrival into Biak we visit Binsari Caves before our 12:00noon charter flight to Darwin (additional costs apply)

Arrive at Biak at TBC and disembark at TBC.

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. Note: Visits to Raja Ampat are subject to access approvals to protected marine parks. These access approvals may alter over time. If access to some areas is not possible, alternatives will be introduced to this itinerary.

December 2019

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
21 December 2019 21 Dec 2019 02 January 2020 02 Jan 2020 $11,290 to $13,740 $11,290 to $13,740 Coral Adventurer Available Book

January 2020

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
21 December 2019 21 Dec 2019 02 January 2020 02 Jan 2020 $11,290 to $13,740 $11,290 to $13,740 Coral Adventurer Available Book

January 2021

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
06 January 2021 06 Jan 2021 18 January 2021 18 Jan 2021 $9,900 to $15,340 $9,900 to $15,340 Coral Adventurer Available Book

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 barista-style coffee
  • Captain’s welcome and farewell drinks
  • Access to islands, marine and national parks
  • Guided tours on Xplorer expedition vessel, zodiacs, glass-bottom boat and kayaks
  • 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.

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 explore@coralexpeditions.com

 

Travel Insurance

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.

 

Recommended Darwin Hotels

Doubletree by Hilton Esplanade

Located in a prime position close to the waterfront, the Doubletree by Hilton Esplanade offers comfortable and well appointed rooms, a large outdoor pool and friendly, relaxed service. Just a short stroll from all of the attractions of the city, the restaurants of Mitchell Street and art galleries.

Hilton Darwin

Overlooking Darwin Harbour, Hilton Darwin offers fabulous Esplanade views and an ideal location in the heart of the city. Enjoy contemporary features, great location and a welcoming service every time you stay. The elegant rooms and suites are loaded with thoughtful amenities and many have stunning Harbour views. We also offers Mitchell’s Grill restaurant with innovative Australian cuisine, high-floor outdoor pool, gym, flexible meeting space and more.

Darwin Central Hotel

The Darwin Central Hotel is located on a prime position in the heart of Darwin’s Central Business District on the corner of Smith and Knuckey Streets, opposite the Smith Street Shopping Mall.

The hotel enjoys a very stylish theme with artwork and furnishings throughout the hotel, making every floor a walk through gallery. The hotel has been decorated with a diverse selection of lounges and artworks with each piece individually selected to create the boutique feel with contemporary class and style. The hotel is owned by a local Darwin Company and is proud to be a long standing Northern Territory Business.

Adina Apartment Hotel

Adina Apartment Hotel Darwin Waterfront is located in the heart of the Darwin Waterfront precinct with close proximity to the CBD and overlooking the Darwin Waterfront Recreational Lagoon and manmade Wave Lagoon.

Adina is the perfect choice for discerning travellers with central locations across Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Offering a range of spacious accommodation for guests including: studios, one, two and three bedroom apartments.