Uncharted World: Authentic Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands & Vanuatu

Uncharted World: Authentic Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands & Vanuatu

From AUD $25,103


Step foot into a world few ever experience as we explore the rich history, cultures and wildlife of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu on this 21-day authentic land and cruise expedition.

We are welcomed on our journey by the vibrant people of Papua New Guinea as we are whole-heartedly embraced into traditional village life albeit for our brief stay. In addition to our cultural exploration, we also uncover untouched forest, remote beaches, sea caves and reefs home to masses of fish and coral gardens of every colour.

Trip Name
Uncharted World: Authentic Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands & Vanuatu
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: Mount Hagen
Welcome to Papua New Guinea!This morning, you will arrive intoMount Hagen, a bustlingcommercial centre where wealthfrom coffee and tea plantationshas brought rapid change totraditional lifestyle. If you want tovisit the last frontier of Papua NewGuinea, this is it.On arrival, you will be met andtransferred to Kumul Lodge, one ofthe best-known landowner ecotourism lodges in Papua NewGuinea. Made out of localmaterials, entirely owned andmanaged by the local communityand employing local guides, youcan be sure that your money ishelping to support the localcommunity. Your presence herehelps to preserve the surroundingforest as a home for some of themost beautiful and unusual birds inthe world. Your travels here areworking to raise localenvironmental awareness and intime, hope that our ongoing effortswill lead to the area being declareda National Park. Enjoy an afternoonguided nature walk along the forestorchid for a birding observation walk. This isthe only bird lodge in New Guineawhere Bird-of-paradise areamongst the regulars at the lodgefeeders, offering fantastic photoopportunities. Other regulars atthe feeders include Brehm's TigerParrot, Smoky Honeyeater,Belford's Melidectes and IslandThrush. Chestnut Forest Rail isoccasionally seen beneath thefeeder while Crested Berrypeckerand White-winged Robin are oftenseen nearby. This evening, watchthe bird feeding activity from thelodge grounds before dinner isserved.Two nights Kumul Lodge – DeluxeRooms or similar.
Day 2 - Day 2: Kumul Lodge
Setting off at 8am this morning,enjoy a guided tour of the villagenearby which provides a fascinatinginsight into a unique way of life stillfollowing very much a traditionallifestyle. Return to the lodge forlunch. This afternoon is at leisure.Take your time to walk along themany forest trails to see thestunning orchids and birdlife.
Day 3 - Day 3: Goroka
Departing at 8am, drive throughMount Hagen city towards MindimaVillage where you will experiencethe Omo Masalai Skeleton dancers.Painting their bodies in black andwhite to look like skeletons, theirdance is a dance of death and oftenhas a wolf involved which theskeleton ‘attack’ during their tribaldance. The way the skeletons lurkand creep as part of theirperformance, will make it seem likethey have literally clawed their wayout of the ground.Following this impressiveperformance, continue ontoGoroka, the capital of the EasternHighlands Province. Mountainsencircle the town. At 1600m,Goroka enjoys a pleasant yearround climate of warm days andcool nights. More relaxed thanother highlands towns, endowedwith essential services, Goroka isone of PNG’s more attractive towns. Goroka’s main cash crop is coffeeand you’ll see it growing under thecanopies of larger trees in the hillsthroughout the district. Theremainder of the day is yours atleisure. Two nights Bird of ParadiseHotel – Premier Rooms or similar
Day 4 - Day 4: Asaro Valley
This morning, you will depart at 8amto Korekoreto village. Drive outthrough the fertile Asaro Valley, pastcoffee plantations and vegetablegardens bursting with sweetpotatoes, bananas, taro cassava andsugar cane.Walk through the village as you startyour path to Mt Gurupoka to seethe ancient caves. Learn about themythology associated with thesecaves whilst taking in incredibleviews of the valley below.Return to the village where you willsee the Mudmen Warriors performtheir eerie wardance and see theMokomoko warriors dance. Spendtime in the village with the localpeople as they prepare and cook ameal in a traditional earth oven,called a ‘mumu.’ You will have theopportunity to taste their cookingand enjoy a snack with the localvillagers. Return to your hotel.
Day 5 - Day 5: Goroka to Madang
On the road again today, departingat 8am as you head north towardsthe coastal town of Madang. Thedrive is approx. 106km and the roadconditions are fairly good. Travelalong the Okuk Highway passingthrough scenic landscapes as youwind your way to Kainantu town.Cross Kassam Pass and descendinto Markham Valley. Pass palmplantations at Ramu Gusap as thescenery changes dramatically as youventure from the hinterland toreach the coastline. Enroute, youwill have plenty of photoopportunities at Yonki Hydro Damand Kassam Pass look out. On arrival in Madang at 4.30pm,check into your hotel. OvernightMadang Resort International Hotel –Deluxe Rooms or similar.
Day 6 - Day 6: Madang
Following breakfast at your hotel,enjoy a Madang and Environs tour,which includes a visit to theCoastwatchers’ Memorial Light atKalibobo, Madang museum andBilbil Village before returning toMadang to explore the markets.The area itself is a picturesquepeninsula surrounded by islands and waterways. It is a thrivingcommunity renowned for itstraditional artists, and the richnessof its surrounding forests.In the afternoon, board your ship,Heritage Adventurer, where you willhave time to settle into your cabinand familiarise yourself with theship; we will also take theopportunity to introduce you toyour expedition team and ourvoyage plans. You are invited tojoin the expedition team in theObservation Lounge and up on theObservation Deck as we set sail forthe Sepik River.
Day 7 - Day 7: Sepik River
Sure to be one of the highlightsof our expedition, we have allowedplenty of time to fully appreciatethis remarkable river, its birds,animals and the people that call ithome. The Sepik River, the longestin Papua New Guinea, flows fromthe highlands to the Bismarck Sea.It is a rich arterial river that hasfostered great traditional artists.We plan to explore the river byZodiac, following tributaries andchannels in search of local wildlife.Enjoy a warm welcome at KopaVillage where we will experiencevillage life and a traditional DragonDance unique to this region. Bringalong plenty of the local currency(kina) to purchase unique carvingsdirectly from the artists.
Day 8 - Day 8: Manus Island
Seldom visited and little known,Manus Island is considered ajewel in the crown of Papua NewGuinea. Biologically isolated,the Manus Province is home toa high proportion of endemicspecies and our stop here islikely to be a birding highlight. Oncethe location of a detention centre,part of Australia’s ‘Pacific Solution’ life on Manus Island continuesaccording to traditional customs.Comprised of 10 villages and apopulation of less than 1,000, ourvisit to Derimbat Village includestaking part in an elaboratewelcoming ceremony beforeexploring the village and itsunique way of life with a localguide.
Day 9 - Day 9: 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, whileThree Island Harbour, onthe north-west tip of the island,features four Japanese WWII wreckswhich were sunk by Allied bombersin 1944.
Day 10 - Day 10: Rabaul and Kokopo, New Britain
Six beautiful cone-shaped volcanoesring Rabaul’s dramatic, floodedcaldera harbour. Visit the bubblinghot springs and take in themagnificent views of the harbourand volcanoes from ObservatoryRidge. As we explore the island, wewill see fascinating reminders of theJapanese occupation such as theunderground bunker that was thehiding place of Pearl Harbourcommander, Yamamoto. Our touralso takes in the site of theenormous volcanic eruption that allbut destroyed Rabaul town, as wejoin the locals shopping at thebustling Kokopo markets.
Day 11 - Day 11: Nissan Island
A tropical atoll adrift in the azurewaters of the Buka Channel, NissanIsland is bathed in rich tropicalcurrents that abound in marine life.Seldom have outsiders had theopportunity to discover this world,which promises abundant pelagicfish-life and pristine coral reefs.Ashore there are still reminders ofthe brief, but intensive, World War IIactivities during which the islandswere recaptured by Kiwi, Australianand British forces from theJapanese occupiers. During our timeashore we will meet with thefriendly locals from all three of theisland’s Balil Villages and search thedense woods for some of theelusive birds that occur here. Later,the snorkellers will find plenty todiscover in the coral reefs thatsurround Nissan.
Day 12 - Day 12: Bougainville Island
We plan to be among the firstexpeditioners to re-discover thetreasures of Bougainville, longisolated and in a strange wayprotected due to the conflict whichswirled around its shores.Today it is emerging once again as anewly vibrant and remarkablypristine island paradise and is hometo some of the greatest biodiversityin the region both above and belowthe water. We plan to explore thearea around Arawa, including thePanguna Copper & Gold Mine site –the setting for the movie Mr Pip –with great opportunities to accessthe island’s interior and its reefs.Spend your last Kina under thethatched roof of the Arawa Marketsamongst the hum and chatter ofhundreds of locals.
Day 13 - Day 13: New Georgia Islands
The volcanic New Georgia Islandsare found in the Western Provinceof the Solomon Islands and arecharacterised by extensive reefsand lagoons, rugged terrain and anabundance of rivers. Natureenthusiasts will relish landing onKolombangara Island, where weplan to visit the Imbu Rano Lodgeand Conservation Area whichprotects the island's central peakand search for the rare Roviana Railalong with other endemic birdspecies.Snorkel the wreck of a US NAVY FAFGrumman Wildcat (carrier version)WWII plane off a tiny island wherethe surrounding reefs are home tosome of the highest fish counts inthe world.Stock up on the local currency topurchase the wood or stone carvings that the people of theWestern Province are so famousfor.
Day 14 - Day 14: Tetepare Island
Uninhabited for 150 years, thisrugged island cloaked inrainforest and fringed with coralreefs is home to one of theSolomon 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 the island and surrounding watersinclude dugong, the world’s largestskink, endemic Tetepare White-eyeand many more.
Day 15 - Day 15: Malaita
Mountainous Malaita is home toone-third of the Solomons' totalpopulation and features pristinerivers and unexploited tropicalforests. This morning we plan tovisit the beautiful uninhabited LeliIsland, an ideal snorkel site with itscalm clear waters and abundantarray of fish and corals. In theafternoon we plan to be among thefirst to visit a remote and hard-toreach village where we willexperience a rapturous warriorwelcome from the Kwaio mountainpeople, one of the most traditionalcommunities in the Solomons.Enjoy an authentic slice of villagelife as we learn about theirconservation efforts.
Day 16 - Day 16: Makira
Makira is the most easterly of themain islands in the Solomons'archipelago. This morning weanchor in the calm waters of Star Harbour. Join the naturalists for aZodiac 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 17 - Day 17: Nendö, Temotu Province
Nendö is the largest of the SantaCruz Islands, which lie to the southeast of the Solomon Islands. TheSpanish navigator Álvaro deMendaña de Neira unsuccessfullyattempted to establish a colonyhere in 1595. Biologically, theseislands share more in common withVanuatu. 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 18 - Day 18: Vanikoro
Today we explore the archipelagoof Vanikoro, with its five islandsencapsulated by a dramaticbarrier reef which offers superbsnorkelling. French explorer JeanFrançois de Galaup, comte deLapérouse famously disappearedhere after both his vessels, LaBoussole and Astrolabe, struckthe reef in 1788. On the shore wevisit a monument to Lapérouse,erected by fellow explorerDumont Durville in 1827. Join thenaturalists on a forest walk insearch of the endemic VanikoroWhite-eye and Monarch, ormarvel at the delicate VanikoroOrchid.We also have a good chance to seethe recently rediscovered VanikoroFlying Fox, considered extinct until arecent visit by Heritage Adventurer.
Day 19 - Day 19: Espiritu Santo
Today we explore Vanuatu’s largestIsland, Santo; location of JamesMichener’s Tales of the South Pacific.Indulge in a swim in the crystallinewaters of Champagne Beach with itsfamed powdery white sand. Thisafternoon we will enjoy Zodiaccruises to the iconic blue holes ofSanto. For those with an interest inthe history of the island, there is avisit to Lugainville and Million DollarPoint.
Day 20 - Day 20: Ambrym
Today we will visit Ambrym,renowned as the island ofvolcanoes and magic throughoutVanuatu. We plan to head ashore atRanon on the northern coast wherethe traditional Rom dance is stillpractised 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 localbirds andplants, accompanied by ournaturalists. This afternoon enjoy afinal snorkel excursion.
Day 21 - Day 21: Port Vila, Vanuatu
Arrive into Port Vila earlymorning and disembark. Upondisembarking a transfer to yourcentral city hotel or the airport willconclude your voyage. To allowtime for disembarkationprocedures we do not recommendbooking flights from Port Vilabefore midday.
Day 22 - Please note:
During our voyage,circumstances may make it necessaryor desirable to deviate from theproposed itinerary. This can includepoor weather and opportunities formaking unplanned excursions. YourExpedition Leader will keep you fullyinformed. This tour offers a variety ofactivities and excursions. Yourpersonal interests will determinewhich of these you wish to join.Please note that some activities andexcursions will run at similar timesand it will not be possible toparticipate in both. Accordingly,refunds for excursions and missedlandings are not available.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
19-10-202308-11-2023AUD $25,103SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 4
19-10-202308-11-2023AUD $26,253SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5
19-10-202308-11-2023AUD $32,103WORSLEY SUITES
19-10-202308-11-2023AUD $32,560MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
19-10-202308-11-2023AUD $33,315SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
19-10-202308-11-2023AUD $41,353HERITAGE SUITES


    • Observe endemic species including Bird-of-paradise
    • Visit highland communities in Goroka
    • Explore ancient caves at Mt Gurupoka
    • Witness Omo Masalai Skeleton dancers in Mindima
    • Share a traditional meal cooked in an earth over with local villagers in Korekoreto
    • Sail the turquoise waters of the Solomon Islands
    • Experience a kaleidoscope of cultures in Vanuatu
    • Enjoy some of the best marine diversity and snorkeling in the world
    • Optional kayaking with expert guides
    • Uncover World War II history