Melanesian Discovery (Coral Geographer)

Melanesian Discovery (Coral Geographer)

From AUD $9,480


The culturally complex islands north and east of Australia known collectively as Melanesia comprise nearly 2,000 islands with its peoples speaking approx. 1,300 languages. Your journey is an exploration into the cultural diversity and natural beauty of this mysterious region. As we approach the mouth of Papua New Guinea’s largest river, the mighty Sepik, cruise past the magnificent active Kadovar Volcano for spectacular views from the deck. Discover the unique marine life and birds of the isolated Manus province, and go ashore at eastern Papua New Guinea’s best-kept secret – Lavongai. The raw paradise of this island is seen in the dense rainforest cloaking volcanic mountains, where rivers cascade into tumbling waterfalls. Spend two days in rarely visited Bougainville, including stunning Nissan Island and the islands around Kieta. In the Solomon Islands, discover the hawksbill turtle nesting grounds at the Arnavon islands and cruise magnificent Marovo Lagoon. Wandering the streets of Ghizo, Tulagi, Rabaul and many small villages mingle with locals and hear the stories of the customs and lifestyle.

Trip Name
Melanesian Discovery (Coral Geographer)
Vessel Type: Expedition Passenger Capacity: 120 Built: 2020 Expedition capabilities > Two trademark Xplorer tenders seat all passengers and facilitate comfortable shore excursions > Six zodiacs for more intrepid exploration > Lecture lounge for daily expedition briefings and expert presentations > Small onboard library featuring books on destinations and wildlife > Shallow draft and advanced navigation and propulsion systems allowing access to locations closed to large cruise ships Marine immersion > Navigator lounge in the bridge > Over 1000 square metres of open deck space including a wrap-around promenade deck with panoramic views > Engine room tours and a high level of crew interaction with guests Food and wine features > Single seating dining with communal table serves buffet breakfast and lunch, and multi-course table d’hote dinners > Showcase galley with viewing window creating fresh small-batch cuisine featuring Australian and local produce > Multiple indoor and outdoor bars, including our Explorer bar on the sundeck for sunset drinks > Curated wine cellar featuring boutique wines and exceptional vintage Australian reds Guest comfort > All outside-facing guest cabins with en-suite bathrooms; the majority have a private balcony > Active stabilisers to dampen sea motion > Well-equipped gym > Passenger elevator > Wi-Fi available in all guest areas


Day 1 - Day 1: Depart Madang
Charter Flight: For those who join us on our optional charter flight, arrive in Madang and enjoy a tour of Bil Bil village to admire the local pottery industry. There will also be time to visit the local markets before boarding.All guest board Coral Geographer at 4:00pm for an 5:00pm departure. This evening, join the Captain’s welcome drinks and meet your crew and fellow guests as the sun sets.
Day 2 - Days 2 - 12: Expedition Cruising
These are expedition itineraries covering remote regions. Your Captain and Expedition Team may make changes to the daily schedule when necessary to maximise guest experience. Below are the highlight destinations of your voyage.Sepik RiverWe continue to cruise into Papua New Guinea’s largest river, the mighty Sepik. We head ashore to Bien village, home to some of Papua New Guinea’s most skilled woodcarvers whose works are found in curated collections globally. This evening we cruise past the magnificent active Kadovar Volcano (pictured above) for spectacular views from the deck.Manus ProvinceSeldom visited Manus Province is a jewel of Papua New Guinea. It is a birding highlight, home to many endemic species such as the superb pitta and red-footed booby. The snorkelling and diving here is spectacular – rarely explored waters provide a kaleidoscope of opportunities, from magnificent walls to encounters with sea turtles and tropical fish. We will explore one of the remote islands of this province today.Tingwon IslandTingwon Island, completely surrounded by a coral reef and home to unique birdlife flourishing in virgin rainforest, is a charming and rarely visited stop. Go ashore to meet the small population of this island and enjoy their company as they introduce you to their culture with traditional dances and local delicacies. The island’s surrounding reef provides a chance to snorkel and dive in the afternoon.Lavongai Island (New Hanover Island)Lavongai might well be the best-kept secret of eastern Papua New Guinea. Also known as New Hanover Island, the raw paradise of this island is seen in the dense rainforest cloaking volcanic mountains, where rivers cascade into tumbling waterfalls. The intensely blue waters are crossed by outrigger canoes and the local villages are warm and welcoming. Get to know the local culture and enjoying snorkelling and nature walks.RabaulArrive into Rabaul, the waterside town on the edge of a magnificent harbour, overlooked by six cone-shaped volcanoes. Once a thriving base for military and naval activity, the town was smothered by ash in 1994, causing 80% of the buildings to collapse. Here, learn of the World War II history of the area, visit the Volcano Observatory and the Kokopo Museum.Bougainville – Nissan Island and Pok Pok IslandSpend two days in the rarely visited Autonomous Region of Bougainville. Snorkel and bird watch at remote Nissan Island and experience Bougainville culture at Pok Pok Island.Gizo & Njari ReefThis 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.Arnavon Islands & Dart SoundToday, 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 Kerehikapa Island with the chance to see turtle hatchlings emerging from their nests.Later, cruise up picturesque Dart Sound to the remote village, and be welcomed with traditional dance and singing. Many of the rangers that work in the Arnavons are from this area.Marovo LagoonMarovo 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 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.Mangalonga & TulagiThis 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, we visit the old capital of the Solomon Islands, Tulagi. Tulagi was extensively damaged during WWII and has much war history. We go ashore at Vanita Jetty where we are welcomed with a traditional Solomon Islander warrior welcome followed by music and dance performances. We take a guided walking tour around Tulagi township and visit the cut through the hill, the cricket pitch, former Commissioners Residence and the Tulagi Market. We explore the harbour by Xplorer tender vessels visiting Tanambogho and Ghavutu. There may be an opportunity to dive or snorkel the waters around Tulagi which are well-known for magnificent wreck diving.
Day 3 - Day 13: Arrive Honiara
Disembark Coral Geographer at 8:00 am. Complimentary transfers to central hotels or the airport are included.
Day 4 - 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. The itinerary includes the possibility of interaction with wild animals and this interaction is subject to the presence of this wildlife on the day.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
22-02-2024AUD $0-
08-10-202120-10-2021AUD $9,480Coral Deck
08-10-202120-10-2021AUD $11,880Promenade Deck Stateroom
08-10-202120-10-2021AUD $14,220Coral Deck
08-10-202120-10-2021AUD $14,760Explorer Deck Balcony Stateroom
08-10-202120-10-2021AUD $17,820Promenade Deck Stateroom Solo
08-10-202120-10-2021AUD $18,480Bridge Deck Balcony Suite
08-10-202120-10-2021AUD $22,140Explorer Deck Balcony Stateroom Solo
22-02-2024AUD $0-


    • Cruise the mighty Sepik River to Bien village, home to some of Papua New Guinea’s most skilled woodcarvers
    • Explore little-visited Manus Province, where some of Papua New Guinea’s best snorkelling and diving sites are located
    • Look for Hawksbill turtles at the Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area, the largest turtle rookery in the South Pacific
    • Swim, dive and snorkel the crystal-clear waters of the Solomons Mangalonga Island and Marovo Lagoon, considered the world’s finest double barrier enclosed Lagoon
    • Learn of Rabaul’s turbulent history at the Volcano Observatory
    • Spend two days exploring remote Bougainville, and meet the welcoming local people who share their way of life