Solomon Islands Cruise 2023
Return to the Solomons
The much anticipated return of our Solomon Islands itinerary features an exhilarating mix of culture, vibrant coral reef, history and classic South Pacific vista – all laced together with the TRUE NORTH‘s much respected line-up of snorkelling, diving, fishing and helicopter flights. Includes return flights ex Cairns.
Return charter flights ex Cairns ARE INCLUDED in the tariff. This itinerary is provided as example only – prevailing conditions and local arrangements 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 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 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 Tabar Island Group consists of three large islands which lie approximately 30 kilometres off the east coast of New Ireland. Agriculture, fishing and copra production are the main industries. Karst limestone Islands and raised coral platforms will provide endless sightseeing, snorkelling and diving opportunities!
The islands also have an interesting history - Swedish Sailor Carl Emil Pettersson was shipwrecked on the island on Christmas Day in 1904. He was rescued by local people and eventually became their king after his marriage to the daughter of a local chief. Pettersson is said to have first discovered gold deposit Simberi Island, a secret that he kept for many years. The island group in now known to have one of the largest gold deposits in the world!
Join a sightseeing adventure as we explore the coastline or, join the first opportunity to reel in a big one!
Wake this morning to the impressive scenery of the Feni Islands!
The largest island of the group is dominated by the volcano Ambitle. This impressive natural structure rises 2500m from the floor of surrounding seas to an elevation of 479m above sea level, making it a structure that is nearly 3000m high! The underwater environment along the coast is also a treasure trove of tropical fish making snorkelling and diving equally enticing activities. The visibility is exceptional and there are opportunities to discover wartime wrecks in shallow water. During World War II nearby Green Island lagoon was briefly used by the Japanese Navy as a seaplane base. In addition to the stunning scenery, you will also find the locals to be incredibly friendly and keen to showcase their unique culture.
Today we explore North Bougainville! The bustling town of Buka is located on its own island, separated from the main island by a narrow passage. Encounter a distinctive cultural display and take to the air for a stunning heli-flight as your pilot circumnavigates Buka Island.
The day is also filled with sightseeing, snorkelling and diving around the many surrounding atolls. In the afternoon we’ll visit a fascinating local marketplace on Buka.
Today we arrive in the Solomon Islands!
With its nutrient rich waters, superb coral cover and flourishing marine life, the underwater environment is simply spectacular – our divers & snorkelers are in for a real treat!
We will begin by exploring Gizo, the capital of the Western Province. A remote and relatively quiet place, Gizo is the tourism hub of the Solomon’s but receives less than 5000 visitors a year!
Our morning dive will be on the Toa Maru shipwreck. The ship is 440 feet long and lies on its starboard side in 30m of water. It is the Solomon’s biggest and most impressive wreck! Alternatively, join the guides for a morning of trolling along the ‘drop off’ or snorkel in the crystal clear shallows.
Enjoy a delicious morning tea before we visit the village at Saeraghi.
Then over lunch the TRUE NORTH will journey along stunning coastline before stopping at Kennedy Island. This Island received its namesake from the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy. JFK and the crew of the motor torpedo boat PT-109 swam ashore here after being rammed by a Japanese cruiser during World War II.
Enjoy a late afternoon swim before a refreshing beverage and some tasty hors d’oeuvres as we bring cocktail hour to the beach. Kolombangra, the tallest dormant volcano in the region, will provide the breathtaking views.
This morning we explore Vonavona Lagoon. The lagoon extends for 28km between the tiny islets of the Blackett Straight. Within the lagoon there are numerous atolls fringed by coral-encrusted shallows. Diving, snorkelling and fishing will beckon and in the afternoon join the shore party to visit mysterious Skull Island. The island is the final resting place for the skulls of countless vanquished warriors and chiefs.
Or, spend the entire day on one of the nearby Islands - beachcombing, swimming, canoeing or snorkelling!
New Georgia Island
Wake today off the small town of Munda on the southwest coast of New Georgia Island. There was significant military activity here during WWII and there are numerous ship and aircraft wrecks in the area. There are also tropical waterfalls, caves, tribal ruins and many small traditional villages. Offshore islands such as Kohinggo Island and Rendova make for excellent sightseeing!
In the afternoon enjoy a short cruise to Roviana – an island known for headhunting. Roviana Lagoon and Vonavona Lagoon also offer some of the richest waters in the area. The coral reef is abundant with marine life and the underwater topography includes 600 meter drop-offs and shallow reef platforms. Frequently seen fauna include impressive hammerhead sharks, eagle rays, humpback whales and turtle.
The area round Uepi Island may very well prove to be a highlight and, we will be spending two full days in this area to ensure we explore it all!
The island is located on the north side of the barrier islands between New Georgia Island and Vangunu Island. Together with Avavasa Island, Karikana Island and Matiu Island, Uepi forms a barrier between the ocean and the 140km long Marovo Lagoon – one of the largest lagoons in the world. The barrier islands are characterised by oceanic waters which lap spectacular white beaches fringed with tropical rainforest.
Nearby dive sites include the Japanese wrecks in Wickham Harbour, drift dives through the passages and outer edges of the lagoons, spectacular drop-offs and stunning coral gardens. It is remote diving at its best in warm waters with excellent visibility and a wide diversity of marine life.
Today’s helicopter flights will take in the spectacular views along this complex barrier reef – photograph every shade of blue that you could possibly imagine!
Join the crew as we continue to explore the Uepi/Marovo area.
Don your mask and snorkel and drift over shallow reef. The adventure boats will also venture outside the lagoons on fishing and diving excursions. A visit ashore provides opportunity to experience idyllic Island life – the ‘locals’ will welcome you on the beach, treat with 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 adventure boats are away again.
In the afternoon you can discover stunning coral reef inside Marovo Lagoon or experience the thrill of a high-speed drift dive in the Mongo Passage. Wherever you go, exploring this part of the Solomon Islands is bound to provide lasting memories!
The Russell Islands
The Russell Islands are perhaps the Solomon’s best kept secret. They feature dramatic topography and stellar underwater visibility. A chain of small islands to the north is surrounded by vibrant coral reef and spectacular underwater walls.
The deep Sunlight Channel separates Mbanika Island from the Russell’s largest island, Pavuvu. Just offshore the former coastal trader Ann sits upright at the edge of the channel. The ship was deliberately sunk a number of years ago and makes a superb dive site.
During World War II the Russell Islands were occupied by US forces. They established two airfields, a major supply base and a PT-boat base on Mbanika Island. At White Beach and Lever Point, artificial reefs were created when trucks, jeeps, tractors, bulldozers and large amounts of ammunition were discarded. Other remnants of the US presence, such as large storage sheds, are also still evident. The day will be spent exploring in the adventure boats and, in the air.
Return to Cairns
The chefs will prepare one final breakfast as you look back on your South Pacific adventure.
A voyage filled with culture, underwater splendour and the very nature of the Solomon Islands – a world far from tourism en masse! After breakfast we will provide transfer to Honiara Airport for your flight to Brisbane. And, we will already be looking forward to our next adventure together!
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