Local men perform a tribal dance with a large headdress & wooden drums, seen on a Frontier Lands of Papua New Guinea cruise.
Aerial view of a small white expedition ship cruising a Papua New Guinea cruise in deep blue water beside green islands.
Local men stand and play drums & guitars while singing among thatch buildings, seen on a Papua New Guinea cruise.
Travelers on New Guinea cruises sit in a small boat & point up into the green trees.
Locals swim in turquoise water beside a white-sand beach with thatch huts & palm trees, seen on New Guinea cruises.
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Asia / Pacific Pacific Islands Cruise

Frontier Lands of New Guinea

Travel from Australia aboard the 120-guest Coral Adventurer to the remote sights and sounds of the rarely visited New Guinea. On these New Guinea cruises, experience some of the world’s most striking and intact cultural regions as they emerge into the 21st century and venture into the most remote corners of Papua New Guinea on a series of distinct departures with trip lengths to suit a range of travel needs.

The main, 13-day New Guinea cruises (no current departures) are an opportunity to immerse into the wild and rugged scenery of Papua New Guinea that is rarely seen and mostly inaccessible by land. Papua New Guinea is home to the largest area of intact rainforest outside of the Amazon. This voyage uncovers little-visited islands, volcanic mountains and pristine rainforest wilderness areas forged by mighty rivers. Sail past spectacular Kadovar Islands, known for its volcanic activity. Venture up the mighty Sepik River to see riverfront village life little changed in hundreds of years. Buy traditional crafts such as masks and carvings at the village market of Bien. Snorkel, swim or dive on vibrant reefs at the Fly Islands and visit the unique Bubbling Springs Reef at Dobu.

An alternative, comprehensive 36-day Papua New Guinea cruise travels from Cairns to Darwin, Australia, exploring nearly the entire coastline of Papua New Guinea as well as the stunningly beautiful Raja Ampat, Indonesia, and the history-rich Spice Islands. Highlights include sailing past an active volcano, opportunities to collect regional hand-carved artifacts, snorkeling and scuba diving (added cost) through coral reefs, zipping through gumdrop karst islands aboard a Zodiac, climbing Mt Pindito, swimming with majestic whale sharks and encountering the Asmat warriors at Agats. Throughout the expedition guests discover the very best that nature has to offer, with the brilliantly colored bird-of-paradise, the world’s most diverse coral reefs and unique and powerful villages that have maintained traditional lifestyles throughout years of colonial exploration.

Read on for details about this Papua New Guinea cruise, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Pacific Island cruises and Pacific Island trips.


New Guinea Circumnavigation Itinerary

The New Guinea Circumnavigation cruise operates from Cairns to Darwin, Australia, with visits to villages along the New Guinea coastline, as well as the Spice Islands and Raja Ampat, Indonesia.

Route map of New Guinea Circumnavigation small ship cruise, operating round-trip from Cairns to Darwin, Australia, with visits along the New Guinea coastline, including Indonesia's Raja Ampat & Spice Islands.
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Day 1
Embark Cairns, Australia

Be welcomed aboard the ship at 7:30am, then depart Cairns at 9:00am. Get to know the ship and fellow travelers while sailing across the Coral Sea.


Coral Adventurer


lunch, dinner

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Day 2
At Sea

Guest lecturers will hold several presentations today, on the itinerary, safety procedures, Indonesian culture and protocols. This evening, mingle with the captain, crew and fellow guests at the captain’s welcome drinks event.


Coral Adventurer


breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 3 - 34
Exploration of Papua New Guinea, Raja Ampat & Spice Islands

Throughout this expedition, the expedition team may make changes to the itinerary in order to maximize the experience. Visiting these remote communities is subject to approval of the local landowners. Below are the key destinations the ship aims to visit.

Sewa Bay & Samarai, Papua New Guinea

Clear into Papua New Guinea at Samarai, then cruise into beautiful Sewa Bay and be welcomed ashore to the local Pwanapwana Primary school. The locals will show their traditional war dances and share a morning tea of pineapple, coconut milk and sugar bananas.

Dobu & Dei Dei Springs (Fergusson Island), Papua New Guinea

Join the expedition staff on a walk to Dei Dei Hot Springs, where the people share their mythical and spiritual tales of these hot water and mud springs. Learn of the history of the Kula Ring at Dobu Island and meet the local primary school children, who will welcome with a traditional dance performance. There will also be an opportunity to snorkel the incredible Bubbling Springs Reef.

Kuiawa, Papua New Guinea

Historically known as the Islands of Love, the Trobriand Islands offer a glimpse of traditional cultures largely unspoiled by outside influence. In the morning, go ashore at the small island of Kuiawa to be greeted by enthusiastic traditional dances performed by colorfully costumed locals. Make some purchases at the market and relax on the pristine island beach in the afternoon.

Tufi Fjord, Papua New Guinea

Today enjoy a true highlight. Discover the scenic beauty of the Tufi Fjords. Featuring 25 individual canyons with sheer basalt cliffs, these are the only fjords in Papua New Guinea and offer a wealth of sightseeing opportunities. Aboard the Xplorer tender vessel, travel to the entrance of one of Tufi’s most scenic fjords and be met by local villagers in traditional dress aboard outrigger canoes. Have the opportunity to board one of the outriggers as the locals paddle up the creek under the rainforest canopy. Here, spirits and sorcery remain integral to village life, and one can learn about bush medicines, fire making, mat weaving and traditional tattooing. Deep in the rainforest, have the chance to witness the tribesmen perform a traditional sing song in their ceremonial dress. Later, discover white-sand beaches, or snorkel or dive over spectacular fringing reefs.

Buna & Sanananda, Papua New Guinea

Land at Buna beach, home to some of the toughest fighting in the WWII Pacific campaign. Enjoy a welcome from the local residents and then be guided through the jungle by them to visit the areas where Allied forces clashed with Japanese forces. In Sanananda, see the local monuments and pay tribute to fallen Australian soldiers at the war museum, located at the far end of the Kokoda Track. Also enjoy the opportunity to visit the lush gardens surrounding the village.

Fly Islands & Morobe, Papua New Guinea

Awaken early and travel ashore for a morning of water activities at Fly Island. Biangatu Reef is teeming with fish life and colorful coral. Enjoy snorkeling, diving (added cost) or kayaking. Enter Morobe Harbor and cruise in the Xplorer to view the stunning forest from the Mou River. Receive an Oro Province welcome and enjoy exploring the village with local guides. At high tide, hope to travel into a stunning hidden bay to another village.

Dregerhafen, Papua New Guinea

At the beautiful anchorage of Dregerhafen, enjoy a high-spirited traditional welcome in Gingala village, and explore the market which is famous for Tami bowls and timber paddles before the chance to mingle with the locals and stroll through the village. After lunch enjoy snorkeling, diving, glass-bottom boat tours and kayaking in the blue waters of the lagoon.

Madang, Papua New Guinea

Explore Madang and its surrounds, which sits on a peninsula surrounded by a number of picturesque islands and is famed for its waterfront setting and colonial history. Discover the surrounding area on a Madang tour–which includes a visit to the Madang Haus Museum, the Coastwatchers Lighthouse and Bil Bil Village where pottery is made. Certified divers have the opportunity to check out some great dive sites in the area with experienced local operators (added cost).

Sepik River, Papua New Guinea

At first light, the ship enters the mighty Sepik River. The destination is the remote village of Bien or Kopar, where the locals are known for their arts and crafts. A true Sepik welcome awaits while stepping ashore! Take the opportunity to purchase the unique hand carvings of this region. While departing from the Sepik River, sail past the active volcano at Kadovar Island and enjoy sunset drinks.

Wewak, Papua New Guinea

Early in the morning, arrive into the port town of Wewak. There is much WWII history here. Go on a tour with local guides including Wewak Hill Lookout, ANZAC Memorial, Mission Hill, and also see the local craft markets.

Jayapura, Indonesia

Visit Asei Village at Sentani Lake and be greeted by enthusiastic costumed dancers. View and perhaps purchase art painted on bark for which Lake Sentani is famous. This is the clearance stop as the ship leaves Papua New Guinea and departs for Indonesia.

Nirumoar, Indonesia

Today, enjoy an expedition stop at Nirumoar. At this unusual location, discover a shipwreck on the beach and enjoy snorkeling and beachcombing, before relaxing on the white-sand beach.

Mamberamo River, Indonesia

The Mamberamo River is the largest river in Papua and is regarded as the Amazon of the East.  It is considered one of the largest rivers in Indonesia by volume. Along the huge river valley live many tribes who have little connection to the outside world. There is an amazing biodiversity here in flora and fauna. Today go ashore at Teba Village, at the mouth of the river. This village is built on the muddy riverbank and presents a unique insight into the way of life of this remote region. Stroll through the village with local guides and make new friends with the enthusiastic locals. Later, explore the river on an Xplorer tender vessel cruise. This is an expedition destination.

Kwatisore, Indonesia

This afternoon visit the Papuan village of Kwatisore, where the locals will perform a bird of paradise dance and other traditional performances. Consider participating and dancing with the local people. Market stalls will be set up with interesting items to purchase, such as carved paddles. They are skilled musicians here and will entertain all with their string band.

Cenderwasih Bay & Kwatisore, Indonesia

Today, experience one of the highlights of this cruiseswimming with the whale sharks.  The gentle giants will be swimming around the fishing bagans and everyone will have the chance to enter the water in small groups to swim with these amazing animals. Visit Kwatisore to shop for local arts and crafts, be entertained by the string band and the bird-of-paradise dance.

Roon Island, Indonesia

Just below the surface resides a Japanese plane wreck with big black corals, gorgonians, big lionfish, glassfish, shrimps and many more. Snorkelers on the surface can still clearly see the wreck when the weather cooperates and the water is still, or they may dive down for a closer look. Afterwards, hope to explore a nearby village to meet the locals.

Pulau Ayau & Pulau Kanobe, Indonesia

Today, discover the beautiful and incredibly remote Ayau Atoll. Go ashore at Pulau Ayau to visit Miosbekwan Village with the possibility of a swim with friendly dolphins in the clear turquoise waters of the lagoon. This pristine location offers an extraordinary experience of culture and nature in one of the most isolated parts of the world.

Wayag Islands, Indonesia

The jewel in the crown of Raja Ampat, picturesque gumdrop karsts are the backdrop for this paradise on earth. Here, the underwater world is rightly famous– spend time discovering it with snorkeling, SCUBA diving (added cost) and kayaking opportunities. For the fit, a walk up to Mt Pindito is available. This steep uphill walk rewards with remarkable views over the islands.

Aljui Bay, Indonesia

Kofiau Islands are covered by lush trees and wild plants, they offer a fantastic wealth of nature and beautiful scenery. The tropical rainforest is home to the endemic rare kofiau paradise kingfisher, kofiau monarch and kofiau green-tree python. Here, enjoy white and soft sandy beaches, and crystal-clear water with stunning corals. Be welcomed to the local villages and meet the people in their daily lives. Witness traditional foods being prepared and attend the celebration of Buka Sasi. In the afternoon, enjoy snorkeling, diving or birdwatching.

Misool, Indonesia

At Misool, explore the stone gardens with its misty beauty. As a hidden and deserted paradise, Misool is unspoiled with waters of aquamarine lined by towering karst cliffs of various shapes and forms. Misool waters have approximately 200 saltwater lagoons stretching like a green carpet and bustling with unique and beautiful corals. Here, swim, snorkel and explore around the islands by kayak.

Arguni, Indonesia

Arguni is a small island off the west coast of West Papua province of Indonesia. The island covers less than two square miles. The local language Arguni is spoken by about 150 people. On the south side of the island are pearl farm buoys and cages floating in the warm clear water. Mangrove swamps, many interesting limestone islets and formations, Papuan rock art (notably hand and foot stencils), burial caves and villages (some on stilts) line the shore. While Arguni is in the Fakfak Regency, it still has a traditional king (a functionless title), Raja Hanaf Pauspaus of Arguni, one of many kings of Indonesia.

Upon arrival, be greeted by villagers displaying many cultural attractions, including traditional dances, local music and traditional handcrafts. Enjoy fresh coconut and browse around the village to observe daily life and interact with the local people. Following this, journey by Zodiac to visit the famous ancient blood paintings at Roefroefoea. The paintings feature many hands of humans and also animal depictions, with the red color of the paintings resembling the color of blood.

Banda Islands, Indonesia

As the ship arrives at the entrance to Banda Neira, the Zonegat Channel, traditional long canoes known as Kora Kora emerge, rowed thunderously by men in traditional costume. These traditional war canoes provide an impressive escort into the caldera for the first look at Banda Neira. This island visit features Rumah Budaya, Old Dutch Church Hatta House, Perigi Rante, a Nutmeg plantation and the highlight visit of the beautiful Fort Belgica for traditional dancing and sampling local treats during sunset drinks.

History has coined these islands as the fabled Spice Islands and is not without sound reason. Today these islands may be almost unheard of, but they’ve played an important role in the European history from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Combining raw natural beauty, a warm local heart, and a palpable and fascinating history, this remote cluster of ten islands were home to some of the most prized and fought-over commodities in the past–nutmeg, cloves and mace. Underwater, impressive undersea drop-offs are vibrantly plastered with multicolored coral gardens. The central islands–Pulau Neira and Pulau Banda Besar–curl in picturesque crescents around the pocket-sized volcano Gunung Api.

Today, snorkel over the coral reef that has emerged on the lava flow from Gunung Api’s historic eruption. Others may go ashore in Banda for a tea party in the charming local surrounds.

Sebakor Bay, Indonesia

Discover the beautiful remote coast of Sebakor Bay. The aquarium-like waters are home to exceptional marine life and coral reefs, and snorkelers and divers will have the opportunity to explore. There will be time to kayak, or simply relax and look for Papuan birdlife along the shoreline. Later, enjoy the chance to swim under the Mommon Waterfall, where cool freshwater flows out of the lush jungle and falls into the ocean.

Triton Bay, Indonesia

Triton Bay lies on the south coast of the West Papua province of Indonesia, surrounded by tropical rainforests and rising on one side to a roughly 3,475-foot peak. The waters of the bay nurture abundant marine life woth 471 types of coral and 959 types of coral fish. In these waters, Bryde’s whales and whale sharks also find their home. Nearby this region is where Alfred Russel Wallace, contemporary and equal of Charles Darwin, wrote of his explorations in The Malay Archipelago around 1858. With visitors rare to this region, it is indescribably special.

Triton Bay is known for displaying an impressive level of soft coral coverage similar to places like Misool Island. Epaulette sharks can be seen walking over the reefs as giant groupers lurk in sheltered spots, while schools of jacks and fusiliers dart en masse. Squadrons of bump head parrotfish charge around chomping the coral into fine sand, watched by ever-present turtles. Triton Bay’s black coral forests are awesome in scale and never fail to impress. In one area, the high limestone cliffs display extensive pre-historic drawings and carvings–colored orange, white and black–which are truly breathtaking. Explore the underwater world and look for whale sharks, which gather here.

Aru Islands, Indonesia

The Aru Islands consist of some 95 low-lying islands covered with forest and with swampy coastal surrounds located in the Maluku province of eastern Indonesia in the Arafura Sea. Flora of the area ranges from dense green forests of tree ferns to grassy plains while the fauna has Australian affinities with marsupials being the dominant animals in the area. Here, cruise along the mangroves to catch sight of the illusive and beautiful birds of paradise that call nearby Lorang Village home.

Agats, Indonesia

Experience a memorable welcome by an armada of about 40 or more war canoes, rowed powerfully towards the ship by the Asmat warriors in traditional costume. Disembarking by Xplorer tender vessel, be accompanied by the Asmat tribe’s warrior war canoes to Syuru village for a welcome dance set and performance by the Asmat women. After the ceremony, be invited deep into the “Men’s House” to experience wonderful items of traditional wooden arts and sculpture, which are offered for sale. This afternoon, visit Agats Township and the Museums there, with time to purchase artifacts and souvenirs.


Coral Adventurer


breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 35
At Sea

Relax and spend time reflecting on this epic voyage around New Guinea, complete with encounters with many remote tribes and a wide array of cultural and natural wonders. While preparing to return to the modern world, enjoy the hospitality on board with captain’s farewell drinks.


Coral Adventurer


breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 36
Disembark Darwin, Australia

The ship will arrive into Darwin at 8:00am to clear customs and disembark at 10:00am.





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Inclusions, Terms & Notes


All excursions and sightseeing (excluding optional extras); snorkeling & equipment (Scuba diving at additional cost); use of Xplorer, Zodiacs and kayaks; daily lectures and briefings; all meals, chef-prepared on board; selected wines, beers, spirits, juices and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner service; coffee and selection of teas; all entrance fees to national parks and ports; choice of local operator excursions at some locations; standard WiFi on board; tips and gratuities.


Airfare, transfers and hotels, scuba diving, entry visas, travel permits, insurance of any kind, items of a personal nature including but not limited to phone communications, WiFi upgrades and bar charges (outside of the included drinks package as highlighted), laundry charges and souvenir purchases.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 20% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. A name change/transfer of the booking to another person is considered a cancellation and cancellation penalties will apply. An AUD200.00 per person fee may be charged for any amendments not requiring a date change after booking is confirmed. There is an AUD500.00 per person fee if a date change is made more than 90 days before departure. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 90 days – 100% of deposit
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The New Guinea Circumnavigation cruise begins in Cairns, Queensland Australia (CNS), and ends in Darwin, Australia (DRW). Plan flights to arrive to Cairns the night before Day 1 of the itinerary. Plan flights to depart Darwin anytime after the 10:00am disembarkation on the final day of the itinerary. We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights  resource page.


Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving (contact AdventureSmith for pricing & details), small boat excursions, kayaking, wildlife observation and cultural tours.

Room Configuration

Limited double occupancy cabins for solo use may be available at a sole use rate in the Coral, Promenade and Explorer Deck categories. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Kids 12 years and older are welcomed aboard all departure dates; exceptions for children 11 years and under may be allowed with special pre-approval.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

As a condition of travel, guests must provide evidence of travel insurance with medical evacuation coverage OR complete a credit card authorization form for expenses incurred during a medical evacuation. Proof of travel insurance with medical evacuation coverage OR a completed authorization form must be provided prior to boarding.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Listed prices for this trip are based on foreign currency exchange rates and may vary. USD pricing will be calculated at the time of final payment based on the market conversion rate plus a 1% banking conversion fee of total invoiced amount. Please contact AdventureSmith for current pricing.

Departures available regularly December & January. Contact us for current dates, rates and availability.


Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
Coral Adventurer

The 120-guest Coral Adventurer Australian expedition ship offers a wine cellar, open galley, private balconies and efficient ship-to-shore operations.

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