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 – 2 – Fly London to Auckland
Day 3 – Auckland. Relax in the hotel day room. Join an introduction lecture of the city before embarking the NG Orion ship.
Day 4 – Bay of Islands. Take zodiacs and explore the Old World town of Russell, home of the Treaty of Waitangi. Visit Waitangi and see one of the world’s largest Maori ceremonial war canoes with cultural performance.
Day 5 – 6 – At Sea. Cruise & explore Norfolk Island. Visit Kingston, a World Heritage Site, and tour the ruins, beaches and national park.
Day 7 – At Sea. Enjoy Tales of the South Pacific while crossing the Tropic of Capricorn.
Day 8 – Tanna Island, Vanuatu. Visit Tanna Island on zodiacs and meet islanders. Tour the rim of an active volcano Mt.Yasur.
Day 9 – Port Vila and Lelepa. Wander the capital of Vanuautu, Port Vila, its marketplaces and historic sites. Tour the Natapao village on Lelepa and explore Fels Cave with its thousand years old petroglyphs.
Day 10 – Malakula. Explore the most culturally and linguistically diverse island, once known as the Cannibal Islands. Visit an ancient ceremonial ground and villages. Snorkel and swim in the afternoon.
Day 11 – Paradise Lagoon, Espiritu Santo. Enjoy a day of swimming, snorkelling and kayaking in the crystal clear water.
Day 12 – Torres Islands. Explore the northernmost group of islands and its crystal waters in Vanuatu. Meet the warriors in traditional dresses and enjoy the cultural performance.
Day 13 – Santa Ana, Solomon Islands. Explore the most friendly South Pacific Islands. Meet islanders and enjoy their ancient traditions and performances.
Day 14 – Honiara, Guadalcanal. Visit Bloody Ridge and tour one of the most important battles of the Pacific during WWII. Sail across Iron Bottom Sound and visit the island of Tulagi, the original capital of the country.
Day 15 – Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands. Visit exceptional lagoon for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and diving in the heart of the New Georgia Islands. Meet the best wood cravers of Marovo.
Day 16 – Kennedy Island. Explore the island’s colourful birdlife, undersea corals and high diversity of the South Pacific.
Day 17 – Papua New Guinea. Tour the many small islands in the area. Visit remore villages. Snorkel and dive in a bay.
Day 18 – Kitava, Trobrian Islands. Experience an incredible and festive cultural exchange. Relax on an idyllic beach and snorkel the pristine reef.
Day 19 – Samari Island. Discover the island’s fascinating history of colonialism, missionaries and head hunters. Visit near by islands for swimming, diving and snorkelling.
Day 20 – The Coral Sea. Learn about the Great Barrier Reef.
Day 21 – Thursday Island. Visit Green Hill Front Museum and learn about the island’s history and culture. Tour the Cape York in the Queensland.
Day 22 – The Great Barrier Reef. Explore the world’s largest coral reef. Swim, snorkel and dive in the turquoise waters with multicoloured tropical fish, reef sharks and turtles.
Day 23 – Lizard Island. Trace the steps of Captain James Cook and explore the island’s pristine beaches and coral gardens.
Day 24 – 25 – Fly Cairns to London
Departures: 19th March 2014
This is not all we can offer. If you would like to discuss more ways to visit this destination give us a call. Contact us for more options.
Day 1 – Cairns
Day 2 – At Sea
Day 3 – 5 – Papua New Guinea
Day 6 - 8 – Solomon Islands
Day 9 – At Sea
Day 10 – 11 – Vanuatu
Day 12 – At Sea
Day 13 – Beqa, Fiji
Day 14 – Lautoka
Departures: 3rd November 2014
Day 1 – Honiara, Solomon Islands
Day 2 – Auki, Solomon Islands
Day 2 – Langa Langa Lagoon, Solomon Islands
Day 3 – Port Mary, Santa Ana Island, Soloma
Day 4 – Utupua Island, Solomon Islands
Day 5 – Luganville, Vanuatu
Day 6 – Ambrym Island, Vanuatu
Day 7 – Lifou, New Caledonia
Day 8 – Ile Des Pins, New Caledonia
Day 9 – Day At Sea
Day 10 – Norfolk Islands, Australia
Day 11 – Day At Sea
Day 12 – Bay Of Islands, New Zealand
Day 13 – Auckland, New Zealand
Departures: 7th December 2015
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.