Rarely explored, Melanesia comprises the islands to the north and north east of Australia. This area was the scene of many battles during the Second World War and is home to shipwrecks, remote islands and beautiful and unspoilt coral atolls.
Due to this region's isolation it is yet to be homogenized by tourism and boasts some of the most spectacular snorkelling and diving in the world, in crystal waters teeming with marine life. The ocean is integral in the day to day life of the local peoples. The culture of the area is unique and remains resistant to outside influence. It may sound contrived but the women still wear grass skirts and the men loin cloths, and this is in no way for the benefit of the western traveller.
The cultural traditions of the Yap and Manus with traditional dance and custom are intriguing.
These virtually untouched islands also have virgin forest and unique birdlife…it really is back to basics in this off the beaten track destination. The island make-up of this region lends itself to exploration by sea…therefore a cruise offers a constantly changing vista and comfortable means of island hopping.
Orion Expedition cruises visit this region with respect for marine life and local culture, giving a rich and fulfilling experience.
Day 1 - Port Vila, Vanuatu. Embark Orion
Day 2 - Malakula, Vanuatu. Learn of the traditions and customs of Malakula’s “Small Nambas” people, our hosts today, though our unique cultural program. Swimming and snorkelling will be available from local “Ten Stick Island” and a Zodiac cruise in Tsiri Lagoon is planned.
Day 3 - Paradise Lagoon, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. Visit Paradise Lagoon, an exclusive location on the island's east coast developed by Orion Expeditions
Day 4 - At sea
Day 5 - Utupua Island, Solomons. Today will be a true “expedition day” on this remote, seldom visited island as we never know what surprises the locals will have in store
Day 6 - Santa Ana Island, Solomons. Expect a lively cultural performance from the local villagers who will also have their woodwork and artefacts on display
Day 7 - Ngella (Florida Islands). Swim, snorkel and see local villages on these unspoilt atolls
Day 8 - Marovo Lagoon, Solomons. Snorkel the extensive coral reefs of Marovo Laagoo.
Day 9 - At sea
Day 10 - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. Cruise past active volcano, Mt Tavurvur
Day 11 - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. Disembark.
The best time to visit is spring and autumn when the humidity is more manageable and temperatures are around 30°C. The majority of the rain falls between December and March due to the northwest monsoon.
Tropical, lightweights and cottons are recommended. In the highlands, warmer clothing is needed. Rainwear is also advised.