Discover the Secrets of Melanesia aboard Heritage Adventurer 2023

Discover the Secrets of Melanesia aboard Heritage Adventurer 2023

From USD $10,695


Sail into a world few ever experience; idyllic islands and isolated villages where unique time-honoured traditions and elaborately costumed dancers welcome us into their world as we uncover the hidden gems of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

From the culturally rich arterial of the Sepik River we sail across the Bismarck Sea exploring remote shores and villages still living traditional lifestyles, and delve into the history, culture and wildlife of New Ireland and New Britain.

Crossing the Buka Channel at Nissan Island we see reminders of intensive World War II action, then enter a long-isolated world as we are among the first travellers to return to Bougainville in more than two decades. Sailing through the turquoise waters of the Solomon Islands, new vistas and unexpected encounters await. Discover one of the conservation jewels of the South Pacific on Tetepare Island, while villagers on culturally-rich Malaita Island still make and use traditional Malaitan shell-money as a dowry and wear it as a status symbol. Experience a kaleidoscope of cultures as we explore Vanuatu, where more than 100 indigenous languages are spoken. With over 80 habitable islands, islanders have closely guarded their own cultures and languages. Our expedition embraces some of these cultures and languages, as we explore one of the happiest places on the planet.

Throughout Melanesia there are spectacular reefs, which are home to masses of fish and coral gardens of every colour. These waters offer some of the greatest marine diversity and snorkelling in the world and everybody will have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty beneath the waves.

Whether you are snorkelling or swimming, this ocean aquarium is waiting to be explored and discovered.

For birders, this itinerary offers once-in-a-lifetime species on remote, hard to reach islands. The birding potential is exceptional; highlights may include the Superb Pitta and, endemic to the Solomon Islands the Roviana Rail, Solomon Sea Eagle and Vanuatu’s Vanikoro White-eye.


Each area we visit has rich cultural experiences and wild treasures to offer. As guests, we have made a point to source and support local projects in the areas through which we travel. A contribution from each passenger represents a portion of the money we donate to ensure the longevity and success of educational, environmental and cultural initiatives in these regions.

Trip Name
Discover the Secrets of Melanesia aboard Heritage Adventurer 2023
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship Length: 124 metres Passenger Capacity: 140 Built: 1991 Heritage Adventurer is a true pioneering expedition vessel of exceptional pedigree. Often referred to as the ‘Grande Dame of Polar Exploration’ due to her celebrated history and refined design, she was purpose-built for adventure in 1991 at Finland’s Rauma shipyard and specifically designed for Polar exploration.Setting a peerless standard in authentic expedition travel, Heritage Adventurer (formerly known as MS Hanseatic) combines the highest passenger ship ice-class rating (1A Super) with an impressive history of Polar exploration. Having held records for the most northern and southern Arctic and Antarctic navigations, and for traversing both the Northwest and Northeast Passages, makes Heritage Adventurer perfect for pioneering New Zealand-based Heritage Expeditions signature experiential expedition travel.Originally designed to accommodate 184 guests, Heritage Adventurer now welcomes just 140 expeditioners ensuring spacious, stylish and comfortable voyages, while a fleet of 14 Zodiacs ensures all guests are able to maximise their expedition adventure. Heritage Adventurer proudly continues our traditions of exceptional, personalised expedition experiences as Heritage Expeditions flagship. Observation Lounge – One of the most celebrated and best-known features of Heritage Adventurer is the awe-inducing Observation Lounge, Library and Bar. Located on Deck 7 and perched directly above the Bridge, enjoy sweeping 270-degree views through floor to ceiling windows, perfect for wildlife spotting and quick access to the outer deck. Bring your binoculars to spot wildlife, observe the ever-changing landscape, write in your journal or relax with a book. Observation Deck – Enjoy 360-degree views from the highest point on the ship. The Observation Deck sits above the Observation Lounge and provides exceptional outside viewing options. Stretching the full width of the vessel, this is the perfect spot to take in the surrounding land and seascapes. Perfect on a sunny day, recline in the comfortable sun loungers protected from the wind and elements and watch your voyage unfold.  The Bridge – No expedition is complete without visiting Heritage Adventurer’s busy nerve centre. Located on Deck 6, Heritage Expeditions’ Open Bridge Policy means you are welcome to observe the Captain and crew at work while enjoying some of the ship’s best views. It’s a fascinating place to learn about navigation and vessel operations, however please note the Bridge will be closed when departing or arriving at port. Dining Room  – Indulge in fine international cuisine from our talented chefs in the lavish surrounds of our Dining Room on Deck 4. Sensational 270-degree views provide a stunning backdrop to meals here along with an international wine list featuring many outstanding regional wines. With relaxed seating arrangements, all guests can enjoy dining in a single sitting from hearty breakfasts setting you up for the day’s adventure to sumptuous lunches and multi-course evening dining. Bistro  – Simple fast and delicious meals and snacks are on offer in our relaxed Bistro on Deck 6. Perfect for early risers to enjoy tea, coffee and light breakfast options the Bistro provides great views and opens directly onto a covered and heated teak-deck outdoor dining area. The Bar and Lounge  – The social hub of  Heritage Adventurer, the Bar and Lounge on Deck 5 features seating for all guests. Enjoy a beverage at the bar, sink into an armchair, relax on one of the many spacious loungers and watch the world go by through the panoramic windows or make new friends at the communal seating. This multi-tasking space also doubles as the location of daily briefings and evening recaps with the expedition team. The Gym – Featuring spectacular ocean views, the well-equipped gym is adjacent to the pool, hot tub and sauna in Deck 7’s wellbeing zone. Maintain your routine with an elliptical cross trainer, treadmill, rowing machine, stationary bikes, TRX as well as free weights, yoga mats and fitness balls. Towels are provided with change room and shower amenities nearby. Sauna and Steam Room – True to her Nordic origins, Heritage Adventurer features a dry-heat Finnish sauna and European steam room on Deck 7. Perfect for warming up post Polar plunge or unwinding after a day’s adventures, the sauna and steam room include change room facilities, showers and towels. Swimming Pool and Hot Tub – Surrounded by relaxed teak seating including sun loungers, the open-air saltwater pool can be heated or chilled. Encased in glass the hot tub ensures all-weather use, perfect for those who like to relax with a view following a day of exploring. Lectures and Presentations – Enjoy informative and entertaining lectures on history, biology, wildlife, and ecology in the comfort of the Presentation Theatre. With state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, our world-renowned expedition team will bring your adventure to life through interactive presentations and discussions.


Day 1 - Day 1: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Arrive in Papua New Guinea’ssprawling capital Port Moresbyand transfer to your hotel whereour group will spend the first nightof the expedition. This eveningmeet with your fellow travellersand the expedition team overdinner at the resort.
Day 2 - Day 2: Madang
Enjoy breakfast at the hotelbefore our flight to Madang, thepicturesque peninsula surroundedby islands and waterways. It is athriving community renownedfor its traditional artists, and therichness of its surrounding forests.Enjoy a Madang and Environs tourupon arrival which includes a visitto the Coastwatchers’ MemorialLight at Kalibobo, Madangmuseum and Bilbil Village beforereturning to Madang to explorethe markets. Boarding your shipyou will have time to settle intoyour cabin and familiarise yourselfwith the ship; we will also takethe opportunity to introduce youto your expedition team and ourvoyage plans. You are invited to join the expedition team in theObservation Lounge and up onthe Observation Deck as we setsail for the Sepik River.
Day 3 - Day 3: Sepik River
Sure to be one of the highlightsof our expedition, we haveallowed plenty of time to fullyappreciate this remarkable river,its birds, animals and the peoplethat call it home. The SepikRiver, the longest in Papua NewGuinea, flows from the highlandsto the Bismarck Sea. It is a richarterial river that has fosteredgreat traditional artists. We planto explore the river by Zodiac,following tributaries and channelsin search of local wildlife. Enjoy a warm welcome at Kopar Villagewhere we will experience villagelife and a traditional DragonDance unique to this region. Bringalong plenty of the local currency(kina) to purchase uniquecarvings directly from the artists.
Day 4 - Day 4: Manus Island
Seldom visited and little known,Manus Island is considered ajewel in the crown of Papua NewGuinea. Biologically isolatedthe Manus Province is home toa high proportion of endemicspecies and our stop here islikely to be a birding highlight.Once the location of a detentioncentre, part of Australia’s ‘PacificSolution’, life on Manus Islandcontinues according to traditionalcustoms. Comprised of 10villages and a population of lessthan 1,000, our visit to DerimbatVillage includes taking part in anelaborate welcoming ceremonybefore exploring their villageand unique way of life with alocal guide.
Day 5 - Day 5: New Hanover Island
Traditionally known as LavongaiIsland, volcanic New Hanover isa wild, rugged and untouchedparadise complete with adense rainforest, waterfalls andexceptional beaches fringed byreefs and smaller satellite islands.Sparsley populated, the villageshere enjoy a subsistant, traditionallifestyle. Exceptional snorkellingis a given here with much toexperience below the surface,while Three Island Harbour, onthe north-west tip of the island,features four Japanese WWIIwrecks which were sunk by Alliedbombers in 1944.
Day 6 - Day 6: Rabaul and Kokopo, New Britain
Six beautiful cone-shapedvolcanoes ring Rabaul’s dramatic,flooded-caldera harbour. Visitthe bubbling hot springs andtake in the magnificent views ofthe harbour and volcanoes fromObservatory Ridge. As we explorethe island, we will see fascinatingreminders of the Japaneseoccupation, our tour taking inthe site of the enormous volcaniceruption that all but destroyedRabaul town, the undergroundbunker that was the hiding placeof Pearl Harbour commander,Yamamoto, and joining the localsshopping at the bustling Kokopomarkets.
Day 7 - Day 7: Nissan Island
A tropical atoll adrift in the azurewaters of the Buka Channel,Nissan Island is bathed in richtropical currents that aboundin marine life. Seldom haveoutsiders had the opportunityto discover this world promisingabundant pelagic fish-life andpristine coral reefs. Ashore thereare still reminders of the brief, butintensive, World War II activitiesduring which the islands wererecaptured by Kiwi, Australianand British forces from theJapanese occupiers. During ourtime ashore we will meet with thefriendly locals from all three of theisland’s Balil Villages and searchthe dense woods for some ofthe elusive birds that occur here.Later the snorkellers will find plentyto discover in the coral reefs thatsurround Nissan.
Day 8 - Day 8: Bougainville Island
We plan to be among the firstexpeditioners to re-discoverthe treasures of Bougainville,long isolated and in a strangeway protected due to theconflict which swirled aroundits shores. Today it is emergingonce again as a newly vibrantand remarkably pristine islandparadise, it is home to some ofthe greatest biodiversity in theregion both above and belowthe water. We plan to explore thearea around Arawa, including thePanguna Copper & Gold Minesite – the setting for the movieMr Pip– with great opportunitiesto access the island’s interior and its reefs. Spend your last Kinaunder the thatched roof of theArawa Markets amongst the humand chatter of hundreds of locals.
Day 9 - Day 9 New Georgia Islands
The volcanic New Georgia Islandsare found in the Western Provinceof the Solomon Islands and arecharacterised by extensive reefsand lagoons, rugged terrain andan abundance of rivers. Natureenthusiasts will relish landing onKolombangara Island, where weplan to visit the Imbu Rano Lodgeand Conservation Area whichprotects the islands central peakand search for the rare RovianaRail along with other endemic bird species. Snorkel the wreck ofa US NAVY FAF Grumman Wildcat(carrier version) WWII plane off atiny island where the surroundingreefs are home to some of thehighest fish counts in the world.Stock up on the local currencyto purchase the wood or stonecarvings that the people of theWestern Province are so famous for.
Day 10 - Day 10: Tetepare Island
Uninhabited for 150 years,this rugged island cloakedin rainforest and fringed withcoral reefs is home to one ofthe Solomon Islands’ leadingcommunity driven conservationprojects Tetepare Descendants’Association. Receivinginternational recognition for itsconservation and archaeologicalsignificance. Three species ofturtle, including the endangeredleatherback, nest on its beacheswhile other species inhabiting theisland and surrounding watersinclude dugong, the world’slargest skink, endemic TetepareWhite-eye and many more.
Day 11 - Day 11: Malaita
Mountainous Malaita is home toone-third of the Solomon’s totalpopulation and features pristinerivers and unexploited tropicalforests to explore. This morningwe plan to visit the beautifuluninhabited Leli Island, an idealsnorkel site with its calm clearwaters and abundant array offish and corals. In the afternoonwe plan to be among the first tovisit a remote and hard to reach village where we will experiencea rapturous warrior welcomefrom the Kwaio mountain people.One of the most traditionalcommunities in the SolomonIslands, enjoy an authentic slice ofvillage life as we learn about theirconservation efforts.
Day 12 - Day 12: Makira
Makira is the most easterly of themain islands in the Solomon’sarchipelago. This morning weanchor in the calm waters ofStar Harbour. Join the naturalistsfor a Zodiac exploration of theabundant mangrove forests thatline the shores, and take a shortwalk to Makira’s south coastwhere the villagers live much asthey have for millennia. We spendtime with the locals, who sharewith us their traditional song anddance. If we are lucky, the localboys might be surfing on theirhand-carved palm wood boards.
Day 13 - Day 13: Nendö, Temotu Province
Nendö is the largest of the SantaCruz Islands, which lie to thesouth-east of the Solomon Islands.The Spanish navigator Álvaro deMendaña de Neira unsuccessfullyattempted to establish a colonyin 1595. Biologically these islandsshare more in common with Vanuatu. It is also the home of redfeather money, sourced from theScarlet Honeyeater. Watch themanufacture of red feather money,and join the locals in dances whichreverberate through the ages.
Day 14 - Day 14: Vanikoro
Today we explore the archipelagoof Vanikoro, with its five islandsencapsulated by a dramatic barrierreef which offers superb snorkelling.French explorer Jean-François deGalaup, comte de La Pérousefamously disappeared here afterboth his vessels,La BoussoleandAstrolabe, struck the reef in 1788.On the shore we visit a monumentto Le Pérouse, erected by fellowexplorer Dumont Durville in 1827.Join the naturalists on a forest walkin search of the endemic VanikoroWhite-eye and Monarch, or marvelat the delicate Vanikoro Orchid. Wealso have a good chance to seethe recently rediscovered VanikoroFlying Fox, considered extinct until arecent visit by Heritage Expeditions.
Day 15 - Day 15: Espiritu Santo
Today we explore Vanuatu’slargest Island, Santo; locationof James Michener’s Tales ofthe South Pacific. Indulge in aswim in the crystalline watersof Champagne Beach with its famed powdery white sand. Thisafternoon we will enjoy Zodiaccruises to the iconic blue holes ofSanto. For those with an interestin the history of the island, thereis a visit to Lugainville and MillionDollar Point.
Day 16 - Day 16: Ambrym
Today we will visit Ambrym,renowned as the island ofvolcanoes and magic throughoutVanuatu. We plan to head ashoreat Ranon on the northern coastwhere the traditional Rom dance isstill practised and custom carvingis alive and well. A walk throughthe forest brings us to the ‘arena’where masked dancers emergefrom the forest. The forests ofAmbrym offer some excellent walksto go in search of the local birdsand plants, accompanied by ournaturalists. This afternoon enjoy afinal snorkel excursion.
Day 17 - Day 17: Port Vila, Vanuatu
Arrive into Port Vila earlymorning and disembark. Upondisembarking a transfer to yourcentral city hotel or the airportwill conclude your voyage. Toallow time for disembarkationprocedures we do notrecommend booking flights fromPort Vila before midday.
Day 18 - Please Note:
During our voyage,circumstances may make itnecessary or desirable to deviatefrom the proposed itinerary.This can include poor weatherand opportunities for makingunplanned excursions. YourExpedition Leader will keepyou fully informed. This touroffers a variety of activities andexcursions. Your personal interestswill determine which of theseyou wish to join. Please note thatsome activities and excursionswill run at similar times and it willnot be possible to participate inboth. Accordingly, refunds forexcursions and missed landingsare not available.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
23-10-202308-11-2023USD $10,695MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
23-10-202308-11-2023USD $11,495SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS
23-10-202308-11-2023USD $12,695SUPERIOR CABIN DECK 4
23-10-202308-11-2023USD $13,475SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5
23-10-202308-11-2023USD $17,045MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
23-10-202308-11-2023USD $17,475WORSLEY SUITES
23-10-202308-11-2023USD $17,495SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
23-10-202308-11-2023USD $23,995HERITAGE SUITES


    • Enjoy Madang
    • Discover Sepik River & New Hanover Island
    • Travel to Bougainville Island & Nissan Island
    • Explore New Georgia Islands & Tetepare Island