Melanesia Discoverer: Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea

Overview

DEPARTURES: OCT
From: US$6,995

STYLE: EXPEDITION

Days: 14
Country: PAPUA NEW GUINEA, INDONESIA AND WEST PAPUA

Uncover the hidden gems of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. From the culturally rich arterial of the Sepik River sail north across the Bismarck Sea to the remote shores of Manus and Mussau Islands. Manus has the lowest density of people in all New Guinea with its people still living a very traditional lifestyle. Next delve into the history, culture and wildlife of New Ireland and New Britain. Cross the Buka Channel and at Nissan Island view reminders of the brief but intensive World War II activities during which the islands were recaptured by Kiwi and British forces from the Japanese occupiers. Then enter a long isolated world as you are amongst the first travellers to return to Bougainville in over two decades. Sailing through the turquoise waters of the Solomon Islands, new vistas and unexpected encounters await.

Avatip, Sepik River, Papua New Guinea

ITINERARY SUMMARY

Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise, Varirata National Park, Papua New Guinea

DAY 1 MADANG, PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Heritage Expeditions - Must Credit

Image Courtesy of Heritage Expeditions. 

Arrive in the port town of Madang and transfer to the Madang Resort for the first night. This evening meet with your fellow travellers and the expedition team over dinner at the resort.

DAY 2 MADANG

Melanesia, Sepik River Area, Papua New Guinea

Madang is a thriving community renowned for its traditional artists, world class diving opportunities and the richness of its surrounding forests. This morning leave Madang for the highlands close to the township; here the tall forests contain a richly diverse wildlife. Arrive back in Madang with time to explore the colourful markets with your Guides. Optional excursions this morning for bird enthusiasts. Late morning board the Spirit of Enderby, settle into your cabin and join the captain and your expedition team on the bridge as we set sail.

DAY 3 SEPIK RIVER

Avatip, Sepik River, Papua New Guinea

Sure to be one of the highlights of the expedition. The Sepik River is the longest river in Papua New Guinea, it is a rich arterial that has fostered great traditional artists. Plan to explore the river by Zodiac following tributaries and channels in search of local wildlife. Also meet with the villagers and marvel at their artistry.

DAYS 4-5 MANUS PROVINCE

A Russ - Heritage Expeditions

Image Courtesy of Heritage Expeditions taken by A Russ. 

Seldom visited and little known, Manus Island is considered a jewel in the crown of Papua New Guinea. Biologically isolated, the islands are home to a high proportion of endemic species including the Superb Pitta which is likely to be one of the birding highlights of the expedition. The waters around Manus offer some of the most spectacular and rich reefs in the region, seldom explored waters promising a myriad of opportunities.

DAY 6 MUSSA ISLAND

A Russ Heritage Expeditions

Image Courtesy of Heritage Expeditions taken by A Russ. 

Mussa Island represents one of the western-most extensions of the Lapita culture. Spend time with the local people to learn about their special culture and life on this remote outpost in the Pacific.

DAY 7 KAVIENG, NEW IRELAND

West Papua

Historic Kavieng has significant evidence from the large Japanese occupation. Birders will leave early for the highlands while the rest of the group will spend the morning exploring the town of Kavieng and its history. Later snorkel in the clear waters of the local reefs.

DAY 8 RABAUL, NEW BRITAIN

Rabaul and Harbour, PNG

Six beautifully cone-shaped volcanoes ring Rabaul’s dramatic flooded- caldera harbour. Visit the bubbling hot springs and take in magnificent views of the harbour and volcanoes from Observatory Ridge.

DAY 9 NISSAN ISLAND

MUST CREDIT ARuss Heritage Expeditions Melanesia Images

A tropical atoll bathed in rich tropical currents Nissan Island’s waters abound in marine life. Seldom has anybody had the opportunity to discover this world which promises abundant pelagic fish life and pristine coral reefs. Ashore there are still reminders of the brief but intensive World War II activities on this island, meet with the friendly locals and search the dense woods for some of the elusive birds that occur here.

DAY 10 BOUGAINVILLE ISLAND

Image Courtesy of Heritage Expeditions taken by A Russ. 

Plan to be among the first expeditioners to re-discover the treasures of Bougainville, long isolated and in a strange way protected by the conflict which swirled around its shores. A pristine island paradise it is home to some of the greatest biodiversity in the region both above and below the waters. Plan to explore the area around Arawa which offers great opportunities to access the island’s interior and reefs.

DAY 11 CHOISEUL ISLAND

Crocodile

Today you will arrive in the Solomon Islands on the remote northern coast of Choiseul Island. This was once the home of the Choiseul Crested Pigeon and while it no longer walks the forest floor many other species still enliven the forest. Zodiac cruise deep into the mangrove forest towards the Sui River Falls searching for Dugong and crocodiles.

DAY 12 NEW GEORGIA ISLANDS

The volcanic New Georgia Islands are found in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. Birding enthusiasts will relish landing on Kolombangara Island, where you can hope to see the rare Roviana Rail along with other endemic bird species.

DAY 13 SANTA ISABEL ISLAND

MUST CREDIT HERITAGE ARuss Melanesia Discoverer

Image Courtesy of Heritage Expeditions taken by A Russ. 

The Arnavon Islands are north-west of Santa Isabel, an area rich in marine biodiversity and one of the most important rookeries in the western Pacific for the endangered Hawksbill Turtle. The islands also support a high diversity of terrestrial fauna, with 41 species of birds, six species of bats, and at least seven species of terrestrial reptiles. Sensational snorkelling can be experienced around the islands.

DAY 14 HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS

Shutterstock Papua New Guinea

Honiara was founded as a military base during World War II and was witness to the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Tour Honiara, visiting historical sites including Henderson Airfield, war memorials and the open-air war museum while the birders head to the rain-forested slopes of Mount Austen in search of some of the Solomon Islands’ most spectacular birds including the Solomon Sea Eagle. For those disembarking a transfer to either a central city hotel or to the airport will conclude your voyage or continue exploring the Solomon Islands.

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