A Passage to the Solomons – Cairns to Honiara (Coral Discoverer)

A Passage to the Solomons – Cairns to Honiara (Coral Discoverer)

From AUD $10,140


This voyage uncovers the pristine wildlife, fascinating cultures, and remote coral atolls and beaches of the idyllic Melanesia region. You’ll experience the Solomon Islands like never before as you are welcomed by the friendly islanders, snorkel or dive in sparkling azure water, and encounter WWII history and breathtaking beauty that will live in your memory forever. Opportunities abound to discover this remarkable region both above and below the water, with village visits and snorkelling and diving opportunities almost every day. Travelling aboard the Coral Discoverer, depart from Cairns, Australia.

Trip Name
A Passage to the Solomons - Cairns to Honiara (Coral Discoverer)
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition Length: 63 metres Passenger Capacity: 72 (in 36 rooms) Built: 2005 / Refurbished: 2016 Launched in 2005, Coral Discoverer set a new benchmark standard for small ship cruising in Australia. Refurbished in November 2016, she continues to raise the bar to new levels of sophistication in expedition cruising in the Southern Hemisphere. The 1800-tonne Coral Discoverer is the grand vision of Coral Expeditions, pioneers in expedition and adventure cruises around Australia, Papua New Guinea and South East Asia. Her shallow draught and manoeuvrability allow her to go where larger vessels cannot. Her tender vessel, Xplorer, can seat all 72 passengers for excursions to beaches and rivers. Coral Discoverer is equipped with latest technology active stabilisers to ensure comfortable cruising in open waters and is fitted with modern safety and navigation equipment and wireless internet facilities. Coral Discoverer was built to the exacting international SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) standards and specifications in Cairns, Australia, with one aim in mind; to create the ultimate small ship cruising experience. Australian flagged, and staffed entirely by an Australian and New Zealand crew, your experience aboard Coral Discoverer will be unique. After the refurbishment, the Sun Deck has evolved to become a new social space and the hub of on board community living. This area has been converted into an undercover deck area complete with round ‘Explorer Bar’ with bar stools and sun deck with lounges and an area for outdoor exercise equipment. Guest accommodation has also received a substantial upgrade with the addition of six Bridge Deck Balcony Staterooms providing coveted inside/outside living quarters. Each of our other Stateroom grades has also received a full upgrade with updated bathroom fixtures, soft furnishings and artwork making for an even more comfortable stay on board Coral Discoverer. The Coral Discoverer offers five different grades of staterooms, ranging from Bridge Deck Balcony Staterooms to Main Deck Staterooms. Bridge Deck Balcony Staterooms are on the top deck and have private balconies opening out from french windows. All rooms are furnished with contemporary flair and feature original artwork, a small private en-suite, individually-controlled air-conditioning, an iPod dock, ample storage and Australian toiletries. All staterooms are serviced daily. Each stateroom is spacious, sized between 15sqm (161 square feet) to 20 sqm (215 square feet) and has either a balcony, feature picture windows or porthole windows. Most staterooms can be configured to either junior king or twin bedding. FACILITIES ON BOARD > Sun Deck with undercover area, sun lounges and ample seating > Three fully stocked cocktail bars, including brand new round Explorer Bar on Sun Deck > Spacious, modern dining room, recently refurbished > Forward lounge > Reference library > Gift shop > Open bridge > Workout Area > Wireless internet available for laptops, mobile devices or via onboard guest computer > Limited laundry facilities available > SCUBA diving department (selected itineraries)


Day 1 - Please note:
The below itinerary is indicative. No two cruises with Coral Expeditions will be the same, with each expedition crafted by our experienced Masters and Expedition Leaders. 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. Coral Expeditions suggests that you do not arrive on the day of embarkation or depart on the day of disembarkation due to any changes that may occur in scheduling.
Board the Coral Discoverer at 8:00 am for a 9:00 am departure.
Day 3 - DAY 2: AT SEA
Spend the day at leisure as we cross the Coral Sea, and join our Expedition Leader and Guest Lecturers in the lounge for presentations and briefings on Papua New Guinea ahead of our clearance at Samarai.
Day 4 - DAY 3: SAMARAI
Today we enter Papua New Guinea at the small island of Samarai, located at the southern tip of Milne Bay. In beautiful Sewa Bay, we will spend the afternoon at Nuakata in the Daiwari Islands. Here we can experience cultural demonstrations, or snorkel over the myriad of coral reefs kept incredibly healthy by active and irregular water currents.There is also potential to take a long or short walk to visit skull caves that date back to the island’s headhunting past.
Join our Expedition Staff on a walk to Dei Dei Hot Springs on Fergusson Island, where the people share the mythical and spiritual tales of these hot water and mud springs located at the base of an extinct volcano. Locals still use the hot springs to cook food in palm frond baskets.In the afternoon, we visit Dobu Island to learn the history of the Kula Ring trade and meet the local primary school children, who will welcome us with a traditional dance performance. Later, enjoy a snorkel over the bubbling Springs Reef.
Prepare for an unforgettable experience as we discover remote Egum Atoll and enjoy opportunities for snorkelling, scuba diving and glass-bottom boat tours over colourful reef systems. Visit a village on one of the atoll’s low islands, where the locals will share their creation legends, and stories of the Kula Ring trading, which creates lasting bonds between the clans throughout the islands.
Laughlan Islanders specialise in canoe building, and in this very remote corner of Papua New Guinea, we find seagoing canoes under construction. The friendly village of Bodaluna welcomes us and shares their way of life. Also part of the Kula Ring, people from these villages may travel long distance by canoe to take part in the trade of precious shell necklaces and armbands.Later, we may have opportunities for swimming or snorkelling.
This morning we enter the Solomon Islands at the town of Gizo. Wander through the open-air markets which showcase a bounty of tropical fruits and fresh fish, as well as crafts by the legendary wood and stone carvers of the region. You may choose to scuba dive over Japanese shipwrecks as an optional extra instead of exploring the town of Gizo.In the afternoon, we cruise past Kennedy Island before enjoying water activities at Njari Reef. Njari Reef is a merge point for oceanic currents and is said to have one of the highest fish counts in the world.
Today, we visit the marine reserve of the Arnavon Islands, home to the largest rookery of endangered Hawksbill Turtles in the South Pacific Region and supporting some of the healthiest and most diverse coral reefs in the world. In 1995 the US-based Nature Conservancy helped three local communities come together to create the Arnavon Community Marine Conservation area – it was the first protected area to be established within the Solomons and covers over 40,000 acres of land and sea. Go ashore at Kerihikapa Island with the chance to see turtle hatchlings emerging from their nests.Later, cruise up picturesque Dart Sound to the remote village of Kia, and be welcomed with traditional dance and singing. Many of the rangers that work in the Arnavons are from this area.
Marovo Lagoon has been described as one of the world’s natural wonders. One of the world’s largest double barrier enclosed lagoons, this isolated spot in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands has been proposed for World Heritage listing.Marovo’s is world-famous for its intensive coral reef ecosystems, the waters teem with tropical fish and boast exceptional dive and snorkelling sites. You may sit down with the locals and learn about village life. Expert Marovo carvers are justifiably famous for the intricate pieces they create from king ebony with inlays of rosewood and mother-of-pearl.
This morning, we visit Mangalonga Island to snorkel and dive on the reef. Mangalonga Reef has amazing fish life and it is common to see feather stars and colourful anthias. We may also enjoy a birdwatching walk on the island – some of the often-sighted birds include claret-breasted fruit doves. This afternoon, enjoy a scenic cruise through the island passages to spot shipwrecks.
Day 12 - DAY 11: MARAU SOUND
Located in the eastern tip of Guadalcanal, this is an area of turquoise water and verdant tropical islands. It is also a geographical crossroad, separating Guadalcanal’s calm northern waters from its Tasi Mauri or ‘weather coast’. Most of the Marau people depend on their natural environment, practising subsistent farming and fishing.Five marine protected reserves have been established in Marau Sound. Here, we will hear the panpipes played and watch the women perform water music.
Disembark in Honiara this morning at 8:00 am. Post-cruise transfers are available in Honiara at additional cost.
Day 14 - Please Note:
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.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
12-10-202023-10-2020AUD $10,140Main Deck B
12-10-202023-10-2020AUD $10,650Main Deck A
12-10-202023-10-2020AUD $11,150Promenade B
12-10-202023-10-2020AUD $12,170Promenade A
12-10-202023-10-2020AUD $14,190Bridge Deck Balcony
12-10-202023-10-2020AUD $16,725Promenade B Solo


    • Visit remote and pristine atolls, including Egum Atoll and the world heritage listed Marovo Lagoon
    • See the rich tradition of canoe-building at Budibudi
    • Visit the natural wonder of Dei Dei Hot Springs with its bubbling geysers and mud pools
    • Explore the natural wonder of the Marovo Lagoon, and see the famous ebony carvings produced here
    • See the water music and listen to the panpipes at Marau Sound
    • Enjoy enriching cultural visits to remote island communities and learn about ‘kastom’ and the Kula Ring
    • See turtle hatchlings and learn about local conservation efforts at the Arnavon Islands
    • Excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities almost every day