Cruise Through Melanesia

Melanesia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu

16 days
from
£13,930
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Trip code: 
AVO
Way to Travel:
Voyages
Activity:
Marine Wildlife
Max group size:
100
Min age:
17

Unveil ancient tribal rituals, lush jungles, surreal creatures and a land time forgot.

Go beyond life as you know it and come face-to-face with fire dancers, spot legendary birds of paradise, snorkel with spinner dolphins, canoe past smoking volcanoes, cool off under jungle waterfalls and spot rare creatures found nowhere else on earth. The luxuries of modern-day meet the remote island cultures of Melanesia as you discover Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Disembark for expert-guided tours of this surreal world, still light years away from the 21st century. Meet remote tribal communities where ancient traditions are preserved and visits from outsiders are few and far between. Snorkel or dive over pristine coral reefs in search of shipwrecks lost in the sea. This is the type of adventures legends are made of.

 Hosted by National Geographic Explorer, filmmaker, photographer, George Kourounis, you’ll fall in love with this remote corner of the world. Whether it’s swapping travel and expedition stories from across the globe, learning about Kourounis’ famous firsts in the region or providing tips and training on photography techniques this epic adventurer will be there every step of the journey to share his expertise. Along with George, you’ll be joined by a team of renowned ornithologists, naturalists, divemaster’s, marine biologists, ornithologists, historians, anthropologists, and archaeologists all specially selected so you can enjoy lectures, guided excursions, and daily recaps to bring an educational component to your adventure.

Highlights

  • Join us on an award-winning journey that reveals the extraordinary diversity of Melanesia and its people.
  • Receive warm welcomes from friendly locals and witness time-honoured ceremonies that include hypnotic drumming, melodic bamboo panpipes, and elaborately-costumed dancers.
  • Snorkel or dive over pristine coral reefs populated by a variety of tropical fish.
  • Search for striking endemic birds, including the Solomon Island sea eagle, buff-headed coucal, and Melanesian megapode.
  • Stroll through tiny villages and isolated island communities for a glimpse of traditional life on these idyllic islands.

Key information

  • 100 guests
  • 16 days land only
  • 2 nights hotel, 13 nights aboard the Island Sky
  • 15 dinner, 15 breakfasts, 14 lunches
  • Countries visited: Papua New Guinea, Australia

What's included

  • Daily activity options including Zodiac cruises, snorkelling, nature walks, and cultural tours
  • All gratuities
  • All accommodations
  • World-class lecture and expedition team
  • All onboard meals and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and landing and port charges
  • Arrival and departure transfers on group dates
  • Gift certificates for recommended expedition gear
  • Medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance

What's not included

  • Airfare from your home city/Port Moresby and Port Vila/Brisbane/home city
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Airport arrival and departure taxes
  • Transfers for independent arrivals and departures
  • Passport and/or visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, alcoholic beverages (other than listed above), and other incidentals
  • Email/Internet/fax/telephone charges
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Itinerary

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
to
Brisbane, Australia
  • Day 1

    Arrive Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

    Upon arrival in Port Moresby transfer to the Airways Hotel for an afternoon at leisure. Gather this evening for a welcome dinner and overnight at our hotel.

    Accommodation: Airways Hotel

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Port Moresby / Embark Island Sky

    Visit the National Museum and Art Gallery with its exceptional collections of primitive art, including Sepik River carvings, Malagan masks, and Trobriand Island fishing vessels. Board the Island Sky in the afternoon.

    Accommodation: The Island Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Bonarua Island

    Be on deck as the ship traces the coast of Papua New Guinea, to observe the peaks of the dramatic Stanley Owens Range that soar to 13,000 feet. This afternoon visit the island of Bonarua, where a local choir welcomes you ashore. Observe fishing and weaving demonstrations, and stroll through the enchanting village, sampling local delicacies made from sweet potatoes, taro, and yams. Birders venture into the thicket to search for island specialties, and the warm inviting waters of the Coral Sea offer a perfect introduction to the undersea wonders on your first snorkel or dive excursion of many to come.

    Accommodation: The Island Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Dobu & Fergusson, D'entrecasteaux Islands

    Today explore these distinctive, jewel-like islands capped by active volcanoes and snorkel or dive in the surrounding marine-rich waters. You will also visit a tranquil seaside fishing village and hike to a series of hot springs and bubbling mud pools surrounded by lush vegetation.

    Accommodation: The Island Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Laughlan Islands

    Traditional canoe building is a specialty of the Laughlan islanders. In this very remote corner of eastern Papua New Guinea, find hand-crafted seagoing canoes in various stages of construction, with finely tuned hulls of traditional planking lashed with natural sennit fiber cord and caulked with sap. The residents here welcome you with a stroll through the village of palm-thatched houses. Enjoy an afternoon snorkel off a pristine sand-bar or an adventurous dive off the outer reef.

    Accommodation: The Island Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    At Sea

    Attend lectures recapping your experiences and join naturalists on deck to search for seabirds and marine mammals.

    Accommodation: The Island Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Tetepare Island, Solomon Islands

    The largest uninhabited island in the South Pacific, Tetepare is covered with pristine lowland rainforest. Nature walks may reveal some of the island’s 230 recorded bird species, such as Sanford’s sea-eagles, crested cuckoo-doves, Kolombangara monarchs, and beautiful Nicobar pigeons. The surrounding reef is one of the most biodiverse in the world, and crocodiles, dolphins, and dugongs are often found cruising along the coast. The island’s black-sand beaches are also an important nesting site for green, leatherback, and hawksbill turtles.

    Accommodation: The Island Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Uepi Island

    Beautiful Uepi Island is a classic raised barrier reef island, covered in lush rainforest and outlined with sandy beaches. Uepi is also home to the longest saltwater lagoon in the world. Bounded by volcanoes on its southern and western sides, both the raised reef and inner lagoon are dotted with hundreds of small, sandy islets. Snorkelers will find lovely coral gardens in the protected waters of the lagoon, while divers explore the impressive fringing reef.

    Accommodation: The Island Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Malaita

    The residents of Malaita are renowned for their panpipe ensembles and dances that depict traditional activities, like fishing and sailing. Birders will seek the endemic Malaita fantail.

    Accommodation: The Island Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    At Sea

    Attend lectures from our experts during an educational day at sea.

    Accommodation: The Island Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Utupua, Santa Cruz Islands

    A lagoon and barrier reef surround the rarely visited island of Utupua where Zodiacs take you down a fjordlike channel. Among the marshy mangrove trees, learn about an ecosystem that is a beehive of biological activity. Enjoy free time to stroll through Nembo to see the villagers’ prolific gardens, or join a snorkel or dive excursion along the fringing reef where an abundance of small fish attract predators like gray reef sharks, mangrove jacks, Oriental sweetlips, and schools of trevally.

    Accommodation: The Island Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Tikopia

    Tikopia is legendary—a remote tropical paradise where traditional customs remain intact. School children clad in tapa cloth harmonize songs of welcome, followed by enthusiastic dances by the young men of the village. A hike to the crater lake at Tikopia’s center may reveal fairy terns, cardinal honeyeaters, and yellow-bibbed lories.

    Accommodation: The Island Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Ureparapara, Vanuatu

    On Ureparapara you are welcomed ashore with a performance of “water music.” Then join locals for a tour of the village.

    Accommodation: The Island Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

    Ambrym

    Today you are welcomed ashore by palm-leaf-clad dancers with elegantly carved headdresses before exploring traditional Linbul Village. Ambrym is known for its slit-gong drums, some carved from enormous breadfruit tree trunks.

    Accommodation: The Island Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 15-16

    Port Vila / Disembark / Brisbane, Australia

    Disembark this morning for a tour of Port Vila, ending at the airport for your independent flight to Brisbane. Dinner and overnight at our airport hotel.

    Accommodation: Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Papua New Guinea

All visitors to PNG including tourists are required to have a visa to enter. Currently a 30-day tourist visa is available upon arrival for UK nationals at Port Moresby's Jackson's International Airport. This visa is non-extendable and the fee is currently PGK25. To be granted a visa on arrival you will need a valid passport, proof of sufficient funds for your stay, an onward airline ticket with confirmed bookings and PGK25 in cash. Alternatively, you may arrange your visa prior to leaving your home country with the nearest PNG Embassy.

Australia

All nationalities except New Zealand require a visa for Australia. British, most EU passport holders, Canadian and US passport holders can apply for an electronic visa online. For British passport holders this is done through www.australia.org.uk.

Vaccinations

Papua New Guinea

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for this trip. Recommended vaccinations for this trip are: Tetanus,
Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.
Malaria prophylaxis is essential on this trip, and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take.

Australia

There are no specific health risks.

Is this trip for you?

This tour is operated in partnership with our sister company Zegrahm Expeditions. As such the departures are not exclusive to Exodus and groups may be a mixture of Exodus, Zegrahm Expeditions, and other clients. This trip is booked through Exodus and you will receive the same award winning customer service that you would expect. Zegrahm Expeditions operate with the same core principles used by Exodus and champion the benefits of small group travel.

Before you go

For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb into and out of Zodiacs and tenders for diving and snorkeling activities and excursions ashore (staff and crew members will be on hand to assist). Ashore, you must be able to walk moderate distances, unaided, over beaches and sometimes rough terrain. Average daily temperatures will range from the lower to the upper 80sºF throughout our itinerary.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Island Sky

The Island Sky is an all-suites, all-inclusive small expedition vessel with touches of elegance throughout. Carrying a maximum of 108 passengers, the ship provides an abundance of public space for wildlife viewing, relaxation and taking in lectures and briefings. Every suite has private bathroom facilities and an exterior view, while some suites include a private balcony. All suites have flat screen televisions and DVD players.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Be the first to post your review! If you have recently returned from an Exodus adventure and want to help other travellers with your feedback then simply use the link below to post your holiday review.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]