In partnership with Heritage Expeditions, discover paradise on an authentic expedition cruise through Indonesia’s remote and little-known tropical islands, then onto an exploration of the untouched mountains, hinterland and coastline of Papua New Guinea. From crystalline tropical waters teaming with exotic marine life and coral reefs, through to deserted beaches and dense jungles, on your journey through both sea and land, you will encounter nature at its wildest, as well as some of the rarest flora and fauna on the planet. All this combined with the exploration of the rich culture and tradition of remote villages, makes
for a unique adventure on all fronts.
Pricing for cruise and land:
Main Deck Single: $34,335AUD per person
Deck 4 Superior: $26,488AUD per person
Deck 5 Superior: $27,443AUD per person
Superior Single: $34,960AUD per person
Worseley Suites: $33,748AUD per person
Heritage Suites: $43,498AUD per person
For centuries Bali has captivated the imagination of artists, writers, and travellers with its landscapes of emerald terraced rice fields back-dropped by the sacred volcano of Mt. Agung. Transfer to your hotel where our group will spend the first night of the expedition. This evening meet your fellow voyagers and expedition guides over dinner
at the hotel.
Enjoy breakfast followed by time to explore the cultural and historical delights of Bali’s capital. Board your ship this afternoon and settle into your cabin, join the captain and
your expedition guides in the bridge as we set sail. (B,L,D)
East of its more famous sibling Lombok, mountainous Sambawa Island blends laid back island life with spectacular volcanic ridges, terraced rice fields, tangled jungles and beautiful sandy beaches replete with stunning coral reefs and remote bays awaiting exploration. Historically divided between east (Bimanese speakers) and west (Sumbawanese speakers) this isolated island that time almost forgot juxtaposes luxurious mansions alongside old wooden huts, remote wilderness and traditional Adat law and lore. Today we will experience a number of time-honoured traditions and cultural encounters including meeting the creators of the famed intricate hand-woven ikat fabric, observing martial arts displays and ancient tribal rites for a truly authentic immersion in the local culture. (B,L,D)
A sanctuary for the giant monitor lizard, the Komodo Dragon, walk along a forested pathway to a viewing area for a closer look at these prehistoric reptiles which can grow up to 10 feet in length and weigh up to 300 pounds. The surrounding forest is home to Timor Deer, the favourite prey of the dragons, as well as elegant Yellow-crested Cockatoos. Enjoy the first snorkelling excursion off splendid Pink Beach, with world-class experience often described as “swimming in an aquarium”. (B,L,D)
This morning we are welcomed by the stunning white sand beaches and turquoise waters of coral reef fringed Kodia Island. While excellent snorkelling and beachcombing are a given, hikers, photographers and birders will want to explore the dry forests home to an impressive number of birds and wildlife. Today is an authentic expedition day. (B,L,D)
Famously described by legendary underwater explorer and conservationist Jacques Cousteau as an “underwater nirvana”, Wakatobi is a cetacean highway and home to breathtaking coral walls. Today’s snorkel excursions reveal an incredible array of marine reef inhabitants; underwater photographers will appreciate a bizarre macro world among corals as shallow as 20 feet. Highlights include colourful frogfish, octopus, marbled snake eels, cockatoo wasp fish, flying gurnards, multitudes of crab
species, and dazzling anemones. (B,L,D)
Fascinating and seldom visited, Buru Island is located at the boundary between the biogeographic zones of Australia and Asia. A high proportion of the species of birds and mammals that occur here are found nowhere else with 10 endemic bird species and four endemic mammals as well as a number of near-endemic species. This morning we will explore these remote shores together with our expert naturalists and guides. Enjoy opportunities to explore the forests in search of wildlife and many of the endemic species including the Bluefronted Lorikeet and enjoy the hospitality of local communities during village visits. (B,L,D)
One of Indonesia’s relatively undiscovered gems, Seram Island seamlessly blends stunning tropical island aesthetics with biologically rich and rare flora and fauna of the Wallacea region at the crossroads of Asia and Australasia. In addition to having Indonesia’s deepest cave, Hatu Saka, and the world’s longest underground river, Sapalewa; six of Seram Island’s 28 mammals and 33 of its more than 213 bird species are endemic or near endemic. Our explorations here could include venturing into the jungle to look for Seram Masked Owl, Thrush, Oriole, Honeyeater, Myzomela and Friarbird, Moluccan Cockatoo and Scops Owl, and visiting an interior stilt house village where life continues unchanged. Though headhunting is no longer practised, traditional weapons including bow and arrow are still used for hunting. (B,L,D)
Part of the Sultanate of Tidore during the spice trade wars, Misool Island is the second largest island in the aquatic wonderland that is Raja Ampat (aka Four Kings Islands, named after its four main islands) and our introduction to this stunning marine environment. Rich in heritage, it was colonised by the Dutch, however still maintains its cultural essence and traditional ways of life with indigenous constructions, folk dance and respect for nature prevailing. On land, discover caves hidden among verdant forests featuring rock art dating back more than 5,000 years, while under its protected waters Dugong, Bumphead Parrotfish, Clownfish, Manta Rays, Ghost Pipefish, Harlequin Shrimp, Pygmy Seahorse and more can be found among spectacular coral gardens and sea-cave cemeteries. Over the course of the day we aim to explore the labyrinth of caves and passages, and hike up to the viewing platforms to enjoy the spectacular vistas and heart-shaped lagoon of Karawapop. (B,L,D)
Lapped by stunning turquoise waters, Raja Ampat’s collection of 1,500 tiny, jungle-cloaked islands are among Indonesia’s most beautiful. We plan to spend two days exploring the bounty of rainbow corals, shoals of multicoloured fish, intriguing ocean-carved limestone formations and jungles of this tropical paradise of forgotten islands. Believed to contain the most biodiverse marine habitat on the planet, the
waters surrounding Raja Ampat are home to 600 species of hard coral and 1,200 types of reef fish and make for exceptional snorkelling and Zodiac cruising. On land, spotting the brilliant Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise and Red Bird-of paradise will be high on our agenda here, with early morning visits planned ensuring the very best opportunity for all to see these remarkable birds in their natural habitat and, hopefully, witness their rarely-seen mating dance around their ‘lekking’ trees. Other activities could include beachcombing, visiting villages and engaging in cultural exchanges with locals and forest walks. (B,L,D)
Located at the top of the Bird’s Head Peninsula and surrounded by lush rolling hills and impressive spine of the Arfak Mountains, Manokwari is the capital of West Papua. Options here include an early rise travelling high into the Arfak Mountains to the Pegunungan Arfak Nature Reserve exploring the higher elevations and misty tropical montane rainforests with their exceptional suite of endemic plants, animals and birds. During our journey we will be on the lookout for the Western Parotia and Vogelkop Bowerbird, and visit the viewing hides for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to observe the magnificent Bird-of-paradise, among the region’s 320 bird species. Alternatively enjoy a sleep in and explore the fascinating town of Manokwari, home to more than 24 different tribal groups. (B,L,D)
Enjoy the unforgettable experience of swimming with the iconic Whale Sharks of Kwatisore Bay in Cenderawasih Marine Park. One of the best places in the world to snorkel with these gentle giants, we aim to visit the local fishermen’s Bagans (handmade floating platforms) where these mega-fish (known to grow more than 12-metres in length), hopeful of catching some of the smaller fish escaping fishermen’s nets, are known to congregate. This spectacular 15,000-square-kilometre marine park is also home to some of the finest coral reef examples in the world and 18 tropical islands, which we will explore, where 209 species of fish and 4 species of turtle can be seen. We also plan to visit a village where the locals live by a unique mix of traditional, Dutch and modern influences. (B,L,D)
The seldom-visited Biak Island in the Schouten Islands archipelago of Cenderawasih Bay boasts the highest endemic biodiversity in Papua including 17 endemic birds. Among the species we may encounter are the Long-tailed Honey-buzzard, Red-capped Flowerpecker, Yellow-bibbed Fruitdove, Geelvink Imperial-pigeon, Biak Black Flycatcher and Numfor Paradise-kingfisher and Leaf Warbler. In the afternoon we plan to sail to the pristine and isolated Rusbasbedas Island with its white sand beaches, shear drop-offs and enormous corals teeming with brightly coloured fish make it
paradise for snorkellers and beachcombers. (B,L,D)
Enjoy a warm welcome on Liki Island, part of the Koemamba Islands in formerly Dutch New Guinea, where villagers share local customs and traditions along with some of the island’s culinary delights. Explore the forest looking for wildlife on a nature walk, or snorkel along the edge of the abundant coral reef on this charming and rarely visited island. (B,L,D)
The peaceful paradise of Lake Sentani, the glittering freshwater lake reflecting the steep, verdant mountains in the Cyclops Strict Nature Reserve of Papua’s capital Jayapura, is renowned for its famous artifacts, traditional motifs, pottery, woodworking and bark paintings, and is our destination following an early morning arrival. We will journey to the lake’s edge before enlisting traditional longboats, passing stilt houses, as we navigate its many islands. Experience local culture in the form of dance and artists at work making bark paintings and bride money before returning to the ship for lunch and sailing towards Vanimo for our international arrival into Papua New Guinea. (B,L,D)
We have allowed plenty of time to fully appreciate this remarkable river, its birds, wildlife and the people who call it home. The Sepik River, the longest in Papua New Guinea, flows from the highlands to the Bismarck Sea. It is a rich arterial river that has fostered great traditional artists. We plan to explore the river by Zodiac, following tributaries and channels in search of local wildlife. Enjoy a warm welcome at Kopar Village where we will experience village life and their traditional Dragon Dance. The world- renowned artists of the region travel long distances to meet the ship and there is the opportunity to purchase unique carvings and more directly from them. (B,L,D)
The self appointed ‘Prettiest Town in the South Pacific’, Madang is bound by lush rainforest, calm blue waters studded with volcanic islands, Tupira’s supreme surf break, flourishing coral gardens and rich history. Disembark from the ship and transfer to Riwo Village where you will witness a bamboo band performance, traditional Sing-sing and see the traditional liquor brewing and tasting of ‘Konyak” kava drink. Continue to the Madang Museum, a small but incredibly fascinating museum, you will learn about the 1660 eruption of Long Island. Look for the ceremonial headdress from Bosmum village on the Lower Ramu River. These are worn during the ‘cleansing of the blood’, the time in which blood is drawn
from a boy’s tongue and penis during initiation to manhood. Next you will visit the Kailibobo Memorial light house and lively Madang Market before transferring to your hotel. (B,L)
Overnight Madang Resort International Hotel – Deluxe Rooms or similar
Depart at 7am heading south towards the highlands town of Goroka. The drive is approx. 106km and the road conditions are fairly good. Travel along the Okuk Highway passing through scenic landscapes as you wind your way to Kainantu town. Cross Kassam Pass and descent into Markham Valley. Pass palm plantations at Ramu Gusap as the scenery changes dramatically as you venture from the coastline into the hinterland. Enroute, you will have plenty of photo opportunities at Yonki Hydro Dam and Kassam Pass look out. On arrival in Goroka at 4.30pm, check into your hotel. (B,L,D)
2 nights Bird of Paradise Hotel – Premier Rooms or similar
This morning, you will depart at 8am to Korekoreto village. Drive out through the fertile Asaro Valley, past coffee plantations and vegetable gardens bursting with sweet potatoes, bananas, taro cassava and sugar cane.
Walk through the village as you start your path to Mt Gurupoka to see the ancient caves. Learn about the mythology associated with these caves whilst taking in incredible views of the valley below.
Return to the village where you will see the Mudmen Warriors perform their eerie war dance and see the Mokomoko warriors dance. Spend time in the village with the local people as they prepare and cook a meal in a traditional earth oven, called a ‘mumu.’ You will have the opportunity to taste their cooking and enjoy a snack with the local villagers.
Continue on towards Goroka. Goroka is the capital of the Eastern Highlands Province. Mountains encircle the town. At 1600m, Goroka enjoys a pleasant year-round climate of warm days and cool nights. More relaxed than other highlands towns, endowed with essential services, Goroka is one of PNG’s more attractive towns.
Goroka’s main cash crop is coffee and you’ll see it growing under the canopies of larger trees in the hills throughout the district. (B,L,D)
Departing at 8am, drive through Goroka towards Mindima Village where you will experience the Omo Masalai Skeleton dancers. Painting their bodies in black and white to look like skeletons, their dance is a dance of death and often has a wolf involved which the skeleton ‘attack’ during their tribal dance. The way the skeletons lurk and creep as part of their performance, will make it seem like they have literally clawed their way out of the ground.
Following this impressive performance, continue onto Mount Hagen and then onto Kumul Lodge.
Kumul Lodge is one of the best-known landowner eco-tourism lodges in Papua New Guinea. Made out of local materials, entirely owned and managed by the local community and employing local guides, you can be sure that your money is helping to support the local community. Your presence here helps to preserve the surrounding forest as a home for some of the most beautiful and unusual birds in the world. Your travels here are working to raise local environmental awareness and in time, hope that our ongoing efforts will lead to the area being declared a National Park.
This evening, watch the bird feeding activity from the lodge grounds before dinner is served. (B,L,D)
2 nights Kumul Lodge – Deluxe Rooms or similar
Setting off at 8am this morning, enjoy a guided tour of the village nearby which provides a fascinating insight into a unique way of life still following very much a traditional lifestyle. Return to the lodge for lunch. This afternoon is at leisure. Take your time to walk along the many forest trails to see the stunning orchids and birdlife.
Enjoy an afternoon guided nature walk along the forest orchid for a birding observation walk. This is the only bird lodge in New Guinea where Birds of Paradise are amongst the regulars at the lodge feeders, offering fantastic photo opportunities. Other regulars at the feeders include Brehm’s Tiger Parrot, Smoky Honeyeater, Belford’s Melidectes and Island Thrush. Chestnut Forest Rail is occasionally seen beneath the feeder while Crested Berrypecker and White-winged Robin are often seen nearby. (B,L,D)
Following breakfast, it is time to transfer to Mount Hagen airport for your onwards flight. (B)
Download this tour’s PDF brochure and start your planning offline!
**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.
* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.
* A minimum of 4 adults is required to guarantee this departure.
A non-refundable deposit of 25% per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.