PNG Adventures Paradise Cruise 2023
This is our most refined Indo-Pacific voyage
An adventure packed with diverse destinations and fascinating experiences. From the Bismarck Sea to the beautiful Louisiade Archipelago, this itinerary travels through a stunning tropical landscape of island and reef. Fly in the helicopter over the active volcano at Rabaul and visit the stirring Isurava memorial on the Kokoda Track. Swim with manta rays, snorkel endless coral walls in the Lusancay group and enjoy sunset drinks on your ‘very own’ sand cay! Oversize mackerel, dog-tooth tuna and coral trout will keep the anglers busy. Our Melanesian friends greet us with a warm hospitality that is normally reserved for returning family and the smiles and laughter of their children will leave lasting and cherished memories.
Return charter flights ex Cairns ARE INCLUDED in the tariff. This itinerary is provided as example only – prevailing conditions, local arrangements and indeed, what we discover on the day, may cause variation. Helicopter flights can be purchased additional to the indicated tariff as a package or individually.
Your “welcome aboard” is in the vibrant city of Cairns – but this time embarkation proceedings will be a little different! One of our crew members will escort you aboard our very own charter aircraft! Now sit back and enjoy the comfortable flight to Kavieng.
As soon as you step off the plane you will begin to reshape your impressions of the “land of the unexpected”. Perhaps the clean and fresh sea breezes will take you by surprise, or will it be the huge smiles of locals so eager to welcome you to their island paradise! After clearing customs, we will transfer you to the onboard luxury Cruise of the TRUE NORTH and, the delights of our renowned galley! Enjoy a welcome aboard lunch as we cruise to nearby Lissenung Island Resort – join the first of our ‘shore parties’ and discover ‘post card’ beaches, palm trees, tranquil villages and a flotilla of canoes. The many islands in this area are a cruise highlight. You will certainly find endless irresistible beaches and amazing coral gardens that are just a ‘fin kick’ away! And, what a place for diving and snorkelling – Papua New Guinea’s reputation as a diving destination could very well be without peer! There will also be lots of hot action in the fishing tenders – do battle with hard fighting table fish such as mackerel, yellow fin tuna and mahi mahi. At day’s end, relax with a drink in the alfresco bar before returning to the dining saloon for more culinary delight!
Kavieng and New Hanover Islands
The many islands around Kavieng and New Hanover are a cruise highlight. A morning sing sing will be a memorable event as every man, woman and child turns out in welcome. Off the beach we find ships, planes and even submarines wrecked in shallow water and beyond the reef it’s time to encounter a marauder of another kind!
Duke of York Islands
This morning we arrive at the Duke of York Islands – 17th century trading ships collected water from here. A Methodist preacher by the name of Reverend George Brown settled here in 1875 and, the beautiful and very enterprising daughter of an American whaling captain started a trading empire here! The grim reminders of a world conflict are here too – the snorkelling expeditions will re- discover Japanese tanks in shallow island waters. The ship’s helicopter will provide stunning island views that have been the privilege of few before. Then visit Rabaul– once described as the most beautiful town in the South Pacific! Perched on the edge of a magnificent natural harbour and, surrounded by active volcanoes! In 1994, the town was smothered under a cloud of ash and now lies largely abandoned – courtesy of nearby Matupit! The volcano still belches smoke throughout the day and helicopter flights over the smoldering crater are very spectacular indeed.
Wake to find the TRUE NORTH off the coast of New Britain and the beautiful Jacqinot Bay area. Dense jungle and mighty rivers will dominate proceedings today as the TRUE NORTH’s ‘shallow draft’ provides unique access! Join our comfortable adventure boats as we explore deeper into the jungle visiting isolated villages that have little contact with the outside world and visit the grotto where fresh water pounds out of a rock face onto a pristine beach. No matter what your desire, the coast of New Britain promises unrivalled adventure! Another star filled night in the silhouette of the jungle, and tonight is party night – things might just get a little ‘South Pacific’!
As you gaze out your cabin window this morning you will notice that our overnight passage has delivered us to a very different place. This morning we are anchored in the middle of the Solomon Sea amongst the corals of Star Reef and, the strikingly beautiful Lusancay Islands. What a place!! So today let’s have some fun at the beach. Take a stroll around your very own deserted island (the Lusancays are uninhabited), snorkel in the shallows or drop off the outer- reef for the dive of a lifetime! The fishing is second to none – battle with tuna, mackerel or even a sailfish. If the fisher- persons have held up their end of the bargain then coral trout could be tonight’s fare but regardless there are bound to be plenty of adventures to re-live in the bar!
Start the day with a refreshing snorkel; catch your breakfast or just stroll along a pristine beach fringed with coconut palms! Then fill your day with swimming, island walks and village life as we cruise the beautiful fiords of Tufi. The helicopter will spoil with exhilarating flights to the Isurava Memorial on the Kokoda Track. Tufi is renowned for SCUBA diving and our guides will be looking forward to a spot of mackerel fishing as the setting sun heralds the end of another day in paradise.
Today we visit Ferguson Island. On the morning walk discover jungle that shelters countless varieties of birds including colourful parrots, hornbills, wild fowl and the famed bird of paradise. Many rare species of butterfly are present and Papua New Guinea is also home to over two thirds of the world’s orchid species. You may even be lucky enough to see a reclusive tree kangaroo! An excursion to the Hot Springs will top off an amazing day.
Deboyne Island was a Japanese seaplane base during World War II – but only for 5 days! The Japanese found that their new base was just a little too close to the allied planes based at Port Moresby and the base was quickly abandoned. The Japanese never returned to the island however several ‘Zero’ fighter planes were ditched in the area during the Battle of the Coral Sea. One remains virtually intact in the shallow waters of Deboyne Lagoon and this morning our expedition boats will convey snorkelling teams to examine the wreck. Fishing, diving and sightseeing boats will also explore the lagoon and outer reef. A visit to Panepompom Island provides opportunity to experience idyllic archipelago life. The ‘locals’ will welcome you on the beach, treat with some impromptu singing (and laughing) and then invite all to stroll amongst their huts. Our crew will also take the opportunity to deliver appreciated resources to the local school before the expedition boats are away again.
In the afternoon the ship’s helicopter will deliver a breathtaking orientation to the Calvados Chain especially distinctive Panasia and Duchateau Island. Here the islands are steep sided and ‘Jurassic Like’. Fishing, diving and snorkelling will again be on the agenda or perhaps you would prefer a hike on exotic Panasia!
The Sepik River is the longest river in Papua New Guinea and, one of the great river systems of the world. It has a large catchment area and supports numerous landforms including swamplands, tropical rainforests and mountains. Biologically, the river system is possibly the largest uncontaminated freshwater wetland system in the Asia-Pacific region.
The river’s total length is 1,126 kilometres and it has a drainage basin of over 80,000 square kilometres! There is a 5-10 kilometer wide belt of active meanders along most of the river’s course and a floodplain up to 70 kilometers wide includes extensive backwater swamps. However, unlike many other large river systems, the Sepik has no delta – it flows straight into the sea. The entire Sepik basin remains a largely undisturbed environment – there are no major urban settlements or mining and forestry activities in the river catchment.
Local villagers have lived along the river for many millennia and the river has formed the basis for food, transport and culture. European contact with the river started in just 1885 when German colonists first explored the area. In 1886 and 1887, further expeditions by steam boat were conducted by the Germans and over 600 kilometers of riverine was explored. Between 1912 and 1913 the Germans sent further expeditions to explore the river and surrounding areas. They collected flora and fauna, studied local tribes and produced the first maps. The station town of Angoram was established as a base on the lower Sepik for explorations, but with the beginning of World War I, exploration ceased.
After the war the Australian government took trusteeship of the former German colony, creating the Territory of New Guinea. During this period the Australians established a station on the middle Sepik at Ambunti and conducted further exploration.
In 1935 Sir Walter McNicolls, the new administrator of the Territory of New Guinea travelled up length of the Sepik to “have a look at the river people and the kind of country along the banks”.
The Japanese held the area throughout most of the Second World War. By the end of the war the Japanese had been completely surrounded however, the battle to defeat the remaining forces was hard fought and drawn out due to the terrain.
The Australians eventually pushed the Japanese back to the village of Timbunke on the middle Sepik in July 1945. Eventually the Japanese were defeated and surrendered at Wewak in September 1945.
The Sepik is revered for its art. The tribes living along the river produce magnificent wood carvings and artful clay pottery. Many tribes use garamut drums in rituals; the drums are formed from long, hollowed out tree trunks carved into the shape of various totem animals. As part of an elaborate coming of age ceremony, young men are scarified with the image of a crocodile on the river bank.
This morning we wake off Nimoa Island – here the island mission will impress. The five-sided church features murals of island life and all mission buildings are surrounded by well maintained paths and gardens filled with flowering plants. Edged by jungle covered mountains, postcard beaches and crystal clear waters – an island paradise indeed! Then it’s time for another cruise highlight – the aptly named “Fish City” is home to large numbers of parrot fish, batfish, trevally, coral trout, tuna, snapper and mackerel! Nearby Rossel Island is a much larger island – nearly 300 square kilometres! It is also very mountainous with Mt Rossel reaching 800 metres – the helicopter will be handy! From an unassailable vantage scenic flyers will encounter lush jungle and, fringing reefs 12 kilometres to the east and 40 kilometres to the west!
Today we visit the Renard Islands. Kimuta is a very special opportunity to purchase artefacts and here we will also enjoy some of the best snorkelling that Papua New Guinea has to offer! Then we’ve saved the best till last – wait till you see Ebora! The master will reverse the TRUE NORTH stern to beach in an amazing turquoise lagoon built to size. You will be impressed by the steep sided jungle that surrounds. The nearby dive site is big as well – a vertical wall with the best vis yet!
Return to Cairns
This morning we are alongside in Alotau. Transfer to your charter plane and the return flight to Cairns. We are already looking forward to welcoming you back onboard – the next time you Go Wild in Style!
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What’s on True North
Qantas announced the early return of its direct flights between Perth and London yesterday, which will boost international arrivals from Europe and the UK.Read more
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True North Tales
Time to Book Ahead
Hear from someone who truly knows about the value of booking ahead. “Cheggers” has travelled on the TRUE NORTH more than anyone else!
True North Sails into 30 Years
True North Adventure Cruises - has sailed into 30 years of continuous operations. The now revered adventure-cruise operator first cruised Western Australia’s remote Kimberley coast during 1987 when founding director Craig Howson commenced fishing type charters along a coastline that was and still is largely inaccessible from land.
Adding another dimension to the adventure, most cruise options on the TRUE NORTH feature an on-board helicopter! Carrying guests in air conditioned comfort, the ship’s helicopter provides unique opportunity to witness grandeur; unique opportunity to fish billabongs that have never been fished; unique opportunity to discover your very own wilderness!
Myles Pollard's Fishing Adventure
There is nothing better than a day out on the water, especially when the fish are biting! Fishing on-board the TRUE NORTH is a much-favoured activity both with guests who have never picked up a rod before and, with those who have "caught them all!” Our guides encourage everybody on-board to “give it a go” and the TRUE NORTH’s multiple adventure boats never fail to bring back a swag of ‘fishing tales’! Stories about the ladies who out-fish the boys are pretty common, humorous equipment failures also come to note on a regular basis, then there are the ‘birthday fish’, the ‘monster fish’ and of course, the ones that got away! Our guides have seen and heard it all! Watch the video to find out more about actor Myles Pollard's fishing adventure!
TRUE NORTH Impresses Again
The TRUE NORTH has once again impressed on the world stage coming second in the 2020 Traveller Made Brand Storytelling competition. Traveller Made is Europe’s largest travel consortium and its members represent the very best in luxury travel providers and suppliers. The group’s inaugural Brand Storytelling competition was an opportunity for leading travel brand’s to showcase “the story behind their brand” and, the competition attracted entries from some of the world’s most respected travel brands. In such esteemed company, True North’s marketing team was especially pleased to receive this additional acknowledgement.
Adventure En Plein Air
West Australian artist Jacob 'Shakey' Butler joined the TRUE NORTH earlier this season and discovered the Kimberley's raw beauty. As the artist in residence, Jacob set up his canvas on remote beaches, beside freshwater billabongs and on-deck surrounded by pindan-coloured gorges. Watch the video above to hear Jacob describing how the Kimberley inspires the art of adventure.
Catriona Rowntree Talks With Craig Howson
A commonly asked question is “When is the best time to see the Kimberley?” And the answer is “The Kimberley is always at its best!” However certain times of the year can make it easier to satisfy particular interest. For example, if you would like to see plenty of whale action then departures in August and September are definitely for you! From late July humpback and southern right whales reach the Kimberley after swimming-up the west coast to reach breeding grounds in the north and it’s very common for guests to get great views of whales breaching and basking on the surface.
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The True North Experience
We curate activity-based itineraries that are designed to satisfy the world’s most discerning travellers. We specifically exclude sea-days and feature unparalleled access to stunning coastal environments and, unequalled opportunity to truly experience the destination.