Many of Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) attractions are close to the coast or along the Sepik River. An expedition cruise is a very effective way of exploring this wonderful country. We work with a small number of ships ranging from just 32 guests (True North) up 170 (Le Laperouse). Each ship offers something a little different; they all have specialist expedition crew with forays ashore in Zodiac inflatables, or skiffs; the True North also has a helicopter.
Among the stops are the rain forest of the Kamiali Wildlife Management Area, which is only accessible by boat, the tropical fjords of Tufi, the intriguing old colonial port of Samarai, the island groups of Trobriand, Marshall Bennett and D’Entrecasteaux. And of course the wondrous Sepik River.
PNG has some of the region’s most wonderful cultures and village communities several of which offer excellent examples of the country’s outstanding handicrafts. There are several opportunities for snorkelling and bird watching, both of which are exceptional.
If you know the ship upon which you would like to explore Papua New Guinea on click on the image or button below and you’ll be taken to the page for that ship with all of its itineraries.
Flowing for 1126 kilometres and covering 7.7 milllion hectares throughout tropical rainforests, swamplands and mountains – the mighty Sepik River and its accompanying tributaries are lined with extremely remote villages, exceedingly rare birds of paradise and customs and traditions found no where else in the world. Living at the hand of natures mercy, those who dot the shores of the Sepik, the largest uncontaminated freshwater system in the Asia-Pacific region are living on what is considered to be the soul of Papua New Guinea. There are over 250 known different tribal groups that live within the vicinity of the Sepik River. No signs of development or sizable cities can be found along the river, leaving it extremely close to how it was thousands of years ago. There are 76 mammal species known to inhabit the region, 13 of which are endemic or near endemic to the area along with rare flora. Little places in the world remain as untouched and pristine as the Sepik River and it’s surrounds making it an extremely unique and incomparable experience for its guests.
Papua New Guinea’s lack of predatory animals along with its diverse range of habitats and climates contribute to its thriving bird population. Touted as having one of the richest and most varied avifauna in the world, PNG has a recorded 708 species of birds. Most notably – of the 43 Bird of Paradise species across the globe, 38 can be found in Papua New Guinea. Historically, locals traded and used these birds colourful and mesmerising plumage as ceremonial headdresses. Now these species are entirely protected and it is illegal to take them out of the country. There are also large numbers of both perching and non-perching birds including cuckoos, parrots, kingfishers, cassowaries, fairy-wrens, drongos and main, many more! If you don’t consider yourself a birder, a visit to Papua New Guinea will certainly turn you into one!
Image courtesy of Ponant.
With evidence of inhabitants dating back to 50,000 years ago, the culture and history of Papua New Guinea is considered one of the oldest on the planet and it is certainly one of the most unique. You may have the opportunity on your cruise to attend a Sing-Sing, a large-scale song and dance where it’s participants are embellished with incredible amounts of body decoration and adornments made from things such as feathers, leaves, bone, shells and animal skin. Perhaps you will be lucky enough to visit a villages Spirit House – where art and spirituality coincide and traditional initiations still take place for the young men. One of the most incredible initiation ceremonies belongs to the ‘Crocodile Men’ of the Sepik Region. Their skin is carved with razor sharp bamboo to create human representation of salt and fresh water crocodile markings.