Raja Ampat & West Papua Islands Expedition

Raja Ampat & West Papua Islands Expedition

From AUD $17,595


The tropical archipelago of West Papua is ideal for expedition cruising. Raja Ampat and the nearby islands of the Indonesian archipelago are a melting pot of culture, history and nature. Discover the influence of Melanesia, Islam, and the Portuguese explorers and Dutch traders who ventured to the ‘Spice Islands’ in search of highly–prized spices such as nutmeg. Located in the heart of the Coral Triangle, Raja Ampat is also a marine biodiversity hotspot. With 75 per cent of the world’s coral species and over 1,500 species of tropical fish found here, it is a paradise for divers and snorkellers. Enjoy guided walks through rainforest where you may catch a glimpse of Birds-of-Paradise, and in Banda Neira, explore Fort Belgica, a fortress built by the Dutch in the 16th century to ward off marauders.

Trip Name
Raja Ampat & West Papua Islands Expedition
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition Length: 104 meters Passenger Capacity: 126 Built / Refurbished: 2020/2021 Due to sail in October 2021 our new ship honours the highly accomplished marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer, Sylvia Earle. As the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998 – this vessel pays tribute to Sylvia’s long standing conservation efforts for marine protected areas and ocean wildlife. Sylvia Earle will be actively involved in the development of her namesake. Designed for rugged, remote areas Crossing the notorious Drake Passage or the Denmark Strait, our expeditions face some of the most intense conditions nature can throw at us. The Sylvia Earle is at the cutting edge of nautical technology: robust, powerful and up to the task. Ulstein X-BOW® & Lounge The streamlined Ulstein X-BOW® cuts through the swell so you feel fewer vibrations and disturbances*, and makes quicker transits through waves. It also helps reduce our fuel consumption by up to 60%^. Experience the Glass Atrium Lounge inside the bow, featuring huge windows and superb views to the front of the ship. Swimming pool & wellness centre In between landings, enjoy the heated saltwater open air swimming pool and jacuzzis on board the Sylvia Earle and watch the world go by, or experience our gym, sauna or enjoy a massage (additional cost) in the Wellness centre. Safety features The Sylvia Earle will feature industry-leading safety technology that exceeds the requirements for a ship of this size with a world class return-to-port equipment, which duplicates the propulsion system, enabling the ship to maintain operating systems and comfort in the event of engine failure. The ship will also feature a fully-stocked medical clinic designed for use in remote areas. Responsible travel features We believe that preserving and protecting the environment is of the utmost importance and this is reflected in several features of the Sylvia Earle. The Sylvia Earle will boast one of the lowest polluting marine engines in the world due to low energy consumption, high fuel-efficiency and a streamlined design to deliver an 80% reduction in emissions. The ship can also utilise virtual anchoring to hold its position using a combination of GPS, steering technology, propellers and thrusters. This protects the sea floor and minimises the damage caused by conventional anchors. Zodiac launching platforms Our ships carry many Zodiacs, which you can board via four dedicated, sea-level launching platforms. These platforms make boarding the Zodiacs as quick, efficient and safe as possible, minimising wait times and getting you closer to the action for longer. Whether you’re Zodiac cruising through awe-inspiring fjords in search of wildlife or making a quick transit from ship to a shore landing site, these sturdy crafts will play an integral role in your expedition experience. Activity preparation area We offer a range of add-on adventure activities from kayaking and diving to climbing and ski touring, and your ship is designed to support these activities, making the transition from ship to sea or shore as smooth as possible. We built the spacious activity preparation areas and loading platforms in consultation with our expert activity guides. You will also have access to lockers and rapid drying areas for dry suits and wet suits, to give your gear the best chance to dry between excursions.


Day 1 - Day 1 Denpasar
Upon check-in at Novotel Hotel Denpasar Airport, reception staff will provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags. Please fill out the luggage tags clearly, showing your name and cabin number to allow us to deliver your luggage to your cabin ahead. At our voyage briefing, enjoy a welcome drink and meet fellow expeditioners, before spending the night in preparation for your charter flight to Biak.Accommodation: Novotel Hotel Denpasar Airport
Day 2 - Day 2 Fly to Biak, embarkation
Board a morning charter flight to Biak to embark the Sylvia Earle. Explore the powdery white-sand beaches and sparkling waters in the waters of the Schouten Islands. Separated by a narrow mangrove-lined channel, these forest-covered islands boast the highest rate of endemic species in Papua. Birders will hope to strike off their list a rare and endemic species. Kayak offshore pristine cays and snorkel among coral reefs. Discover a cave that was home to some 5,000 Japanese during World War II, and search for remnants of where American and Japanese military forces clashed. While sipping a sunset cocktail, meet your expedition team and crew at a beach barbecue welcome dinner.
Day 3 - Day 3 Mamberamo River
The longest and widest river in Indonesia, the Mamberamo river is often called the Amazon River of Papua. Flanked by tropical rainforest that is inhabited by a rich diversity of wildlife, we plan to explore the area near the mouth of the Mamberamo River where it meets the Bismarck Sea, searching for wildlife and visiting a local village hike in the forest and learn about local plants and wildlife.
Day 4 - Day 4 Roon Island
Dive and snorkel among the colourful shallow reefs in Numamuran Strait, where the jungle meets the reef, and where we search for branching corals, boulder coral colonies, and cushion stars. Paddlers may glimpse dugongs—relatives of manatees that graze on seagrass. At the southern end of Roon Island, divers and snorkellers might see Hawksbill and green turtles, barracuda and surgeonfish, and where a Japanese Zero fighter aircraft, a relic from World War II rests on a shallow coral slope.
Day 5 - Day 5 Kwatisore
The Cenderawasih Marine Park covers more than 15,000 sq. km / 5,790 sq. mi of marine and coastal habitat, featuring some the finest and most extensive coral reefs found anywhere in the world. The marine park is renowned for its diversity of coral reef fish species, where some 1,040 species including multiple species of butterfly fish, angelfish, damselfish, parrotfish, rabbitfish and anemone fish. In Cenderawasih Marine Park, you have the chance to experience swimming with iconic whale sharks, the world’s largest fish that can reach a size of 12 m / 39 ft. These gentle enormous creatures congregate near local fishermens’ bagan (traditional hand-made floating rafts), where they feed on fish that have escaped the fishermens’ nets. Here you’re able to experience a close encounter with these inspiring creatures.
Day 6 - Days 6 Arfak Mountains & Manokwari
The capital of West Papua Province, Manokwari, and the nearby majestic Arfak Mountains offer outstanding land and sea-based activities. The Arfak Mountains is one of the world’s premier birdwatching destinations and features an incredible variety of endemic plants and birds. After a pre-dawn start, we arrive in the Arfak Mountains and divide into small groups where we quietly sit and watch the displays of some of the region’s most iconic birds including numerous species of Bird-of-Paradise and the Vogelkop Bowerbird.Manokwari is a small coastal town that offers beautiful beaches and bays to explore. Divers and snorkellers can explore the clear blue waters surrounding the nearby islands of Lemon, Raimuti and historic Mansinam, which features fascinating World War II shipwrecks.
Day 7 - Days 7-10 Raja Ampat
Located in the ‘Coral Triangle,’ Raja Ampat archipelago has been described as a marine ‘species factory,’ and a Mission Blue Hope Spot. Believed to contain the most biodiverse marine habitat on the planet, the waters surrounding Raja Ampat are home to 600 species of hard coral and 1,500 types of fish – more than anywhere else in the world – which makes for exceptional diving and snorkelling experience. We plan to spend four days exploring the coral reefs and shoals, limestone formations and rainforests of this hidden gem. Some of the islands we plan to explore include Wayag, Waigeo, Gam and Misool Marine Reserve, another Mission Blue Hope Spot. Established in 2005, The Misool Marine Reserve encompasses a 300,000-acre protected area. Fishing, collecting turtle eggs, reef bombing, cyanide fishing, netting or shark finning are not permitted here. In a scientific survey, conducted between 2007 and 2013, prohibition of the activities listed above have seen a 250 per cent increase in fish biomass. On some key sites, recovery surpassed 600 per cent – an incredible story of how the ocean's ecosystems can heal once they've been fully protected and left alone to recover.
Day 8 - Day 11 Ambon Island
Ambon is the capital city of Maluku, one of Indonesia’s oldest provinces, and is famous for its abundant natural resources, especially spices. On a guided tour of Ambon, learn of its history during Dutch rule and visit the Australian World War II memorial. In the afternoon, swim, snorkel, dive or kayak at Namalatu Beach.
Day 9 - Day 12 Banda Neira
The story of the Banda Islands is mostly related to the trading of spices. As nutmeg was an expensive luxury item in Europe, controlling the production of nutmeg and mace was a major motivation for the Dutch conquest of the islands in the 1620s. On Banda Neira, explore the local market famous for its spices, stretching along the road next to the pier, and the nutmeg plantation close to the harbour. Enjoy a guided tour of impressive Fort Belgica, built by the Dutch East India Company to protect their monopoly of the nutmeg trade.
Day 10 - Day 13 At sea
As we cross the Timor Sea, enjoy some final lectures from our team of experts and celebrate the end of a thrilling expedition discovering West Papua and the Spice Islands at a Captain’s Farewell Dinner.
Day 11 - Day 14 Darwin
Bid a fond farewell to your fellow travellers as you disembark in Darwin to continue your journey.
Day 12 - Important note:
In the spirit of expedition travel, we encourage exploration and adventure offering flexibility in challenging environments. This itinerary is only a guide and is subject to change due to weather, sea and other conditions beyond our control. Local regulations of the marine parks and reserves in Papua can change with little or no notice. Under such circumstances, Aurora Expeditions reserves the right to amend the proposed itinerary accordingly.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
21-09-202204-10-2022AUD $17,595Aurora Stateroom Superior
21-09-202204-10-2022AUD $18,095Balcony Stateroom Category C
21-09-202204-10-2022AUD $18,995Balcony Stateroom Category B
21-09-202204-10-2022AUD $20,395Balcony Stateroom Category A
21-09-202204-10-2022AUD $22,295Balcony Stateroom Superior
21-09-202204-10-2022AUD $27,995Junior Suite
21-09-202204-10-2022AUD $33,195Captain’s Suite


    • Snorkel and dive among the world’s most biodiverse marine ecosystems in Raja Ampat
    • Swim amongst whale sharks in Cenderawasih Marine National Park
    • Search for endemic Birds-of-Paradise in Arfak Mountains
    • Explore impressive Fort Belgica – one of the largest remaining European forts in Indonesia – on Banda Neira