Papua New Guinea, Agats & Raja Ampat Expedition

Papua New Guinea, Agats & Raja Ampat Expedition

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Embark on an exciting, 18-day expedition cruise that grants you access to one of the remotest regions left on earth – Oceania’s smaller islands. Discover cerulean seas, remote tribes, and incredible wildlife and marine life when you travel from Papua New Guinea’s New Britain around the tip of PNG, through the Torres Strait and to the westernmost point of West Papua. This sailing proffers the twin promises of luxury and unfettered horizons. Travel aboard a stylish and comfortable ship crewed by a passionate and knowledgeable team. Enjoy unique onshore excursions in special places that our guides know well.

Trip Name
Papua New Guinea, Agats & Raja Ampat Expedition
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship Length: 115 meters Passenger Capacity: 152 Built: 2020-2021 Arriving in November 2021, our 5 star elegant Scandi-design boutique ship offers you an intimate setting from which you will be fully immersed in all the sights and scenery of your voyage. Introducing SH Minerva Our brand new ship has been designed to journey to off the beaten path destinations and remote polar regions in style and comfort. The ship incorporates a PC5 ice-strengthened hull combined with extra-large stabilisers to make your journey as smooth as possible. Sophisticated Elegance We know how important outdoor space is, so our spacious, relaxing public spaces provide wide open, unobstructed views throughout the ship. The destination will always be in view. Your Wellbeing  The safety & happiness of our guests is paramount to our 120-strong crew on board as well as our passionate expedition team who'll be serving up thrilling shore excursions and lasting memories. Cabin Types Our 76 cabins including 6 suites have all the amenities you will need to feel comfortable including dressing gowns, hairdryers, personal safes and minibars. Our stylish cabins all have desks, a dressing area and comfy seating. En suite bathrooms all feature glass-enclosed rain showers.


Day 1 - DAY 1, RABAUL
Your luxury expedition cruise begins in Rabaul, the former capital of Papua New Guinea’s New Britain island. Located inside a flooded caldera, the town’s proximity to a volatile volcano – plus aerial bombardment during World War II – has forced it to rise from the ashes more than once. Most recently the town was rebuilt after widespread destruction caused when Mount Tavurvur erupted in 1994. Thanks to its impressive harbour, buzzing markets and fascinating wartime past, Rabaul is an exciting place to visit. There’s an observatory in the town’s centre, which monitors the country’s two volcanic arcs, and a small museum located in what was a Japanese bunker.
Arrive at a tropical paradise today, as you call on Jacquinot Bay. A large, open inlet on the southeast coast of New Britain, you’ll enjoy the sugary white sand, swaying palm trees which cast perfect patches of shade, cascading cooler-water waterfall, and above all, the tranquillity. Flashback to 1944 and this was not such a peaceful place. The Allies landed here in November of ’44, and the Australian 5th Division went on to establish a base from which to support the advances on the 40,000 Japanese troops concentrated in the Gazelle Peninsula and headquartered in Rabaul. During your time at Jacquinot Bay, take in this island paradise from a relaxed pose on the beach, under the waves as you swim or snorkel, or immerse yourself in wartime stories as you reflect on the past.
The artists of the Tami Islands – a small archipelago of just four lush islands, located south of Finschhafen in the Huon Gulf – are some of the most prolific carvers in Morobe Province. They are famed for their intricately carved hardwood bowls. Highly polished and superbly crafted, these ‘Tami bowls’ are used as ceremonial vessels and valued highly. Examples of these bowls, which feature the face of a spirit clad in an oa balan (three-peaked headdress), can be found in the New York’s Metropolitan Museum and the British Museum. Admire these artworks on your visit, as well as the archipelago’s turquoise waters, tranquil beaches and beautiful underwater world.
Day 4 - DAY 4, TUFI
Begin your time in Papua New Guinea proper when you visit Tufi on the southeastern peninsula of Cape Nelson in Oro Province. Located on a rias, or drowned river valley, this fjord-like inlet was made by volcanic activity and is famed for its diving. Vibrant offshore reefs, stunning inshore sites, sunken ships and downed WWII aircraft await exploration. Tufi is also synonymous with the tapa cloth that is produced here. This bark fabric is used in traditional tribal ceremonies and is made from the inner husk of a paper mulberry or breadfruit tree. Birders and butterfly lovers will enjoy exploring the local forest, which has a highly diverse population of birds of paradise, butterflies and orchids.
One of the most amazing natural wonders that you can encounter, hot springs always have visitors bubbling with excitement. From afar, steam can be seen billowing from the otherworldly milky-blue Dei Dei Hot Springs. Located on mountainous Fergusson Island, one of three in Milne Bay Province, part of the D’Entrecasteaux Islands, these incredibly photogenic geysers erupt periodically – causing ‘oohs and aahs’ from those present. You won’t find yourself wanting for local birdlife either, parrots, sunbirds and birds of paradise all live around the hot springs. Next, it’s off to Dobu Island, an extinct volcano just south of Fergusson, which was made famous by anthropologist Reo Fortune when he published the seminal Sorcerers of Dobu: the Social Anthropology of the Dobu Islanders of the Western Pacific in 1932. Immerse yourself in the island’s customs as you engage with the locals.
Samarai is a seemingly insignificant speck of an island just south of Milne Bay. Belying its size and current sleepiness, in its heyday, Samarai was the region’s most important port. Trading ships would take advantage of the island’s deep-water harbour and stop-over here en route from Tokyo and Shanghai to Brisbane. The Anglican Church is picturesque, as are the views, so be sure to do some hill- climbing so you can enjoy them. Just west of Samarai in the China Straits lies Kwato. You could fill your visit simply staring slack-jawed at the island’s tropical beauty, but Kwato’s appeal lies beyond its looks. Home to a once-thriving boat-building community, the island’s main attraction is the Abel Church, which was built by missionaries. Reverend Charles Abel and his wife, Beatrice, arrived to “save” the local tribes in the 1890s. Topped by a traditional Papuan thatched roof, the church dates from the early 20th century and features materials brought all the way from Scotland.
Long, narrow Bonarua Island lies about 10 kilometres off the southern coast of Papua New Guinea. Local legend has it that an eagle carrying a massive snake across the sea struggled with its weight, and dropped the snake in the ocean, where it became the serpentine-esque isle. Local villagers will welcome you ashore, and you’ll enjoy a visit to a tribal village. Relatively untouched by modernity and little changed across the centuries, you might be privileged to see an astonishing ceremonial dance or simply bask in the friendly company of the villagers. Enjoy nature walks inland to look for endemic birds, or swim in the warm waters from isolated palm-fringed beaches.
Day 8 - DAY 8, AT SEA
Spend the day at sea savouring the ship’s facilities. Perhaps attend an onboard talk or take in the magnificent seascapes. You could indulge in a relaxing treatment at the spa, work out in the well- equipped gym, enjoy some down-time in your cabin, get to know new friends: the options are numerous.
Named after European explorer Luis Vaz de Torres, The Torres Strait separates Papua New Guinea from Australia’s Cape York Peninsula. The strait’s nearly 300 islands – very few of which are inhabited and only a handful permit visitors – can be found dotted across the ocean like stepping stones from the Melanesian islands to mainland Oz. Visiting these remote, pristine islands – Australia’s northernmost outpost – are home to a unique culture, a mixture of two of the oldest on earth. Aboriginal Torres Strait Islanders are of Melanesian descent but have interacted with Aboriginal people from North Queensland for tens of thousands of years. The result is a rich and vibrant culture with traditions of dance, colourful headdresses, carving, mask and printmaking. Other reasons that cruisers love visiting the Torres Strait islands include the fishing, the stunning landscapes, and discovering the region’s role in World War II and its historic pearling industry.
Day 10 - DAY 10, MERAUKE
Alight today in the wide-streeted city of Merauke in the Papua province of Indonesia. It’s a gateway to an area that is utterly flooded with life: the vast Wasur wetlands. Part of an ecosystem that straddles the Indonesia-PNG border, the wetlands is a low-lying national park that is made up of savannahs, swamps, forests and fed and crisscrossed by many slow-moving rivers. Little-visited, this wild kingdom – dubbed the ‘Serengeti of Papua’ – is home to nearly 400 species of birds, innumerable species of fish, as well as mammals, reptiles and lush, exotic plants. You might see a saltwater crocodile, New Guinea crocodile, or even a marsupial such as a wallaby or small kangaroo, thanks to its location in the Australian faunal zone.
Day 11 - DAY 11, AT SEA
As you cruise towards Agats, enjoy a full day indulging in the amenities of your ship. You might find your inner calm practising some yoga. Listen to an informative talk. Lounge on the deck and enjoy a cocktail from the bar. Tonight after a delicious dinner in the restaurant, settle in for some light entertainment and a nightcap before heading to your comfortable cabin.
Day 12 - DAY 12 - DAY 13, AGATS
Take two days to explore the ravishing scenery and pristine coastlines of Asmat Regency in the south of Papua, Indonesia. A place for fascinating cultural encounters, this stretch of the littoral jungle is famed as being the home of a notorious, once-cannibalistic tribe of the same name, which only began to have significant contact with the wider world from the 1950s. The capital of the region is the stilted village of Agats. Founded as a Dutch outpost, it’s a unique and charming place with markets, shops, mosques, churches and an unmissable museum to enjoy. Keep an eye out for highly stylised carvings in the marketplace: the art of the Asmat people are prized by collectors and can be found in premier museums around the world. Beyond Agats, there is a dense, beautiful swamp, which features gorgeous mangroves, tall grasses and palm trees.
Go ashore to visit Semisarom Island. This small island is located in West Papua’s Triton Bay within the Kaimana Marine Protected Area and part of the Bird’s Head Seascape. Known for its marine biodiversity, exploring the vibrant underwater world here is a must. Don a snorkel and mask, or diving gear to see the coral and encounter the reef-dwelling fish. You might even encounter a Bryde’s whale or whale shark – they aren’t uncommon in these parts. Above the waves, enjoy a nature walk on Semisarom: the area is a green-sea-turtle nesting ground, and many bird species can be seen along the shoreline.
Having sailed westward from Triton Bay, arrive at the Watubela Archipelago. Composed of the small, raised coral islands of Kasiui and Teor (or Tio’or), the Watubela Archipelago is best known for its description in Alfred Russel Wallace’s 1869 book The Malay Archipelago in which he referred to them as Matabello. Wallace was a 19th-century explorer and naturalist who traversed this area. A peer of Darwin and the ‘father of biogeography’, he independently conceived a theory of evolution at the same time as Darwin. Explore the landscape today that Wallace described as “beautiful”, and meet its inhabitants.
Day 15 - DAY 16, BANDA NEIRA
In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Dutch, Portuguese and English navies vied for spice-trade dominion over the Banda Islands. At one time, this group of eleven volcanic islands was the only place in the world where mace and nutmeg could be found. Nowadays, the ships that pass through are of the luxury variety, rather than merchants’ galleons, stopping at Banda Neira and its neighbours to see Dutch fortresses, Dutch colonial houses, nutmeg plantations, and to view a volcano. Gunung Api is one of Indonesia’s most picturesque volcanoes. At only 666 metres high, its conical shapes often reminds visitors of a mini Mount Fuji. It can be climbed in less than half a day. Its submerged lava flows provide an excellent opportunity for a unique diving experience.
Day 16 - DAY 17, PULAU RAJA
Sail through the crystalline waters of Raja Ampat today. The region – the easternmost islands of Indonesia – is the most biodiverse marine habitat on the planet. The seas around these jungle-woven islands contain roughly 1,000 known coral species and more than 1,200 types of reef fish. Raja Ampat means ‘four kings’ and refers to the islands of Waigeo, Salawati, Batanta and Misool. Still, there are 1,000 small atolls, isles and islets spread across some 40,000 square kilometres of the ocean here. And they are very different from the rest of Indonesia. Originally, Raja Ampat was joined to the landmass of Australia, the people are Melanesian, and the islands are home to wildlife not seen elsewhere in the country. Small marsupials live in the trees as do 500 species of bird – it’s a twitcher’s paradise. But it’s really the diving, snorkelling and surfing that draw visitors here.
Day 17 - DAY 18, SORONG
Day 18 is the last day of your luxury expedition cruise through this fascinating region. Disembark your ship after breakfast in the largest city of West Papua, the bustling port of Sorong, and transfer to the airport to begin your journey home.
Day 18 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

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    • Drop anchor in cerulean bays to snorkel or relax on sugary-sand beaches.
    • Sail beneath the jungled peaks of Raja Ampat across the pellucid sea, in the remote far east of Papua.
    • Discover the islands that the Dutch, Portuguese and English navies vied for in a quest for dominion over the spice trade in the 17th and 18th centuries.
    • Encounter the fascinating Asmat tribe in Agats.
    • Enjoy an Indonesian safari and see the wildlife living in the ‘Serengeti of Papua’, Wasur National Park.