- 2 Nights Darwin
- 1 Night Ambon
- 1 Night Banda Islands
- 1 Night Sebakor Bay
- 1 Night Raja Ampat Islands
- 1 Night Misool
- 1 Night Dampier Strait
- 1 Night Alfred Russel Wallace Channel
- 1 Night Wofoh
- 2 Nights Wayag Archipelago
Exploration cruise | Natural world | Off the beaten track | Photography
Day by day itinerary
Fly UK to Darwin
Fly to Darwn via Singapore - arriving the following day
Arrive Darwin and take your included private transfer to the Darwin Central hotel for a two night stay on a BB basis
Relax at the hotel or discover Darwin on your own
After collection from your hotel, True North's attentive crew members will escort you onboard a chartered aircraft for the short flight to Ambon – gateway to the world’s last frontier, West Papua! Ambon is also where you will emabrk True North. Enjoy a welcome aboard cocktail as you cruise to the Banda Islands and then watch the sun set in a different land before indulging in an equally stunning dining experience!
Meals: B D
Today we explore the fabled Banda Islands. Steeped in history and the evolutionary birthplace of nutmeg and mace, Banda is at the epicentre of Indonesia’s ‘Spice Islands’ and was a “Holy Grail’ for European, Arab and Chinese spice traders up until the late 1800’s. So valuable in fact were these islands that in 1667, Holland traded New Amsterdam (the quaint island now known as Manhattan) to the British for tiny Run Island – an acquisition that completed their monopoly of Banda nutmeg! Traditional war canoes will lead us into Banda Harbour before we join a guided tour of Banda Neira Island featuring a nutmeg plantation and a fascinating historic museum.
Back on-board our guest biologist will introduce the area’s intriguing natural history before you head-off in the adventure boats for a scenic cruise or perhaps this might be your very first opportunity to snorkel and dive on a sunken lava flow. Then join guest and crew alike for sunset drinks in historic Fort Belgica which overlooks Banda Harbour and the still active volcano Gunung Api.
“We had an amazing first day in the Banda Islands – a fascinating island tour, diving on a coral encrusted lava flow and then sunset drinks in a Dutch fort that was built in the 16th century – but even more memorable – our sunset event was attended by local school children who were tasked to practice English on their unsuspecting guests – they were absolutely charming – a very unique and genuine experience that left us all quite overwhelmed!”
Meals: B L D
Fakfak Coast & Sebakor Bay
It’s time to explore the intriguing Fakfak Coast. Start with a fishing trip to the Bomberai Peninsula or indulge in a scenic cruise in the adventure boats through the hidden lagoons – with one eye in the water and the other to the sky, lookout for hornbills and other Papuan birdlife. And don’t forget your snorkel and your SCUBA tank – the area is also renowned for its aquarium like qualities. Then refresh under the beautiful Mommon Waterfall – where chilling fresh water thunders down lush jungle slopes into the warm waters of the sea.
In the afternoon explore Sebakor Bay and its spectacular system of water-filled caves. More snorkelling and diving is also possible but make sure you’re back in time for the chef’s much-lauded wine and cheese appreciation.
Meals: B L D
Meals: B L D
This morning we continue our adventures at Misool Island. The waters surrounding this island teem with fish life, over-sized sea fans and, feature the underwater caverns of Farondi Island. Take a scenic ride around the spectacular Balbulol island formations or enjoy a second dive at “No Contest” (you’ll soon see why it’s so named!) Over lunch we’ll steam into one of the prettiest anchorages in Raja Ampat – the Mesempta Karst Channels. But you’ll have to wait to really soak in the view as we’re off for a unique snorkel/float through the sacred Tomolol cave system – a truly awesome adventure.
The Misool Island heli-flight is also not to be missed – you’ll be blown away by the aerial beauty of this region. In the late afternoon join your favourite adventure boat for a ‘drinks and nibbles’ cruise through the beautiful Karst Islands – don’t forget your cameras!!
Meals: B L D
Gam Island & Cape Kri
It’s an early start today as the shore parties’ head into Gam Island and trek through the jungle to see the magnificent red bird of paradise. Then it’s back to the ship for breakfast and a short cruise to Cape Kri and its spectacular reef which holds the world record for fish species recorded during a single dive (374 by renowned Australian ichthyologist Dr. Gerry Allen). More diving and snorkelling in the stunning Dampier Strait is on the agenda after lunch or if you prefer, take a seat in the adventure boats as we explore the blue water mangroves and enjoy some afternoon bird watching.
“Another highlight today – up at 0400 for a hike into the jungle to see the red bird of paradise. It was steamy, mysterious and pitch-black in the jungle! The walk was also just a little strenuous but all added to the adventure! We arrived just before dawn at a favoured haunt of this rarely seen endemic species. The local guide asked all to remain quiet and still – again, adding to the adventure. The first sighting was fleeting and the less serious in the group became prone to giggling which resulted in quite a bit of stifled hilarity but then we were treated to the best viewing of these exotic birds that our experienced cruise director had ever seen! Simply breathtaking – what a magnificent creature! Then a leisurely stroll back down to the picturesque fishing village where our trek had begun and, a hearty post-hike treat – a much-deserved serving of the TRUE NORTH’s signature dish – fish congee!”
Fam Group of Islands
The helicopter is away early this morning revealing the spectacular Fam Group of Islands. The adventure boats will offer scenic cruises around beautiful Penemu Island and the Yeben Islands boast even more opportunity for beachcombing, snorkelling and diving. And after lunch it’s time for a cruise highlight. Alfred Russel Wallace was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist and biologist. He is best known for independently conceiving the theory of evolution through natural selection and, he conducted extensive fieldwork on the Malay Archipelago.
This afternoon you will slip into the coastal channel that bears his name to discover one of the world’s most unique snorkeling experiences. Surrounding currents converge in the Alfred Russel Wallace Channel to create a ½ mile long ‘drift snorkel’. The current will guide you over stunning orange cup corals, seahorses and clownfish – the vibrant water movement is one of the reasons why the area is so rich in coral and fish life – and all the while you will be surrounded by dense jungle! At the end of the channel the ship’s adventure boats will be waiting – but you may just want to do it all over again!
End the day with another thoroughly enjoyable True North “raft up” as the adventure boats cruise through “Hidden Lagoon”.
“And just when you thought that the crew couldn’t raise the bar yet again – how about a drift snorkel surrounded by dense Papuan jungle and a tropical thunderstorm – complete with booming thunder, forks of lightening and a surprisingly cold-curtain of rain – no matter in the warm waters of the Alfred Russel Wallace Channel! Very exclusive and, thoroughly enjoyable!”
Meals: B L D
Wake to the stunning scenery of Wofoh Island – enjoy a breath-taking dive on the black coral forest, snorkel over the lush coral gardens or simply laze on the gorgeous white sand beach (watch out for falling coconuts!). Later in the morning we’ll cruise to the rocky islets of Bougainville Strait and if we’re lucky we can take part in a manta ray convention! Plankton rich currents often attract large numbers of manta rays to Eagle Rock – jump in and have a swim with these gentle giants of the sea! This afternoon we visit the Australian-owned “Atlas South Sea Pearls” pearl farm at Aljui Bay – a chance to learn about the intriguing art of pearl farming and an opportunity to purchase a very authentic reminder of your time in this timeless land! And, we’ll send the fishing parties out in search of the revered mangrove jack – a great fighter and one of the best tasting fish you can catch! For the divers, tonight we’ll offer a night dive on the pearl farm jetty – chock-a-block with all manner of bizarre and beautiful critters ranging from wobbegongs, cockatoo waspfish, hairy ghostpipefish and even Raja Ampat’s endemic walking shark – not to be missed!!
More unique experiences are in store!
You’ll hardly believe your eyes as you emerge from your cabin and gaze upon the mind-blowing “karst beehive” islands of Raja Ampat’s “poster child” – the Wayag Archipelago. Enjoy a snorkel on these gorgeous reefs before we take a cruise on the adventure boats through the lagoon. A helicopter ride over the Wayags is the only way to truly take in the spectacular scenery – you’ll fill your camera’s memory cards within minutes!
In the afternoon we’ll take a short steam to the Equator Islands for a unique opportunity to dive, snorkel or swim across the equator! You’ll want to do it in style because King Neptune is watching – and he’ll be sure to recount your glory (or lack thereof!) at tonight’s infamous Equator Party!
After the festivities wake and look forward to a second day in the Wayags!
Another breathtaking day of snorkelling, diving, helicoptering and sightseeing! Plus we’ve got a new activity in mind today as well – get ready for our already-famous “Wayag Beach Party”. Select your place in the sun (or under a shady palm tree) and let the crew entertain with a sumptuous beach picnic and all manner of aquatic toys! Bizarre island formations, an azure sea and sparkling beaches fringed with palm trees in the foreground of dense Papuan jungle – two days in the stunning Wayag’s is never enough!
Meals: B L D
You’ll enjoy breakfast on-board before a private car transfer to Sorong Airport and your chartered flight back to Darwin. Upon arrival take your private transfer to the Darwin Central hotel for an overnight stay.
Darwin to UK
Check out and take your included private transfer to the airport for your overnight flight to the UK, arriving the next day
Any element of this cruise can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.
16-day stay & cruise on board True North (North Star Cruises) from £15,695 incl. flights
Departure: 30 September 2018
Ocean Class (OC):
River Class (RC): £18,810
Explorer Class (EX): £21,295
Special fly-cruise fares
Pre-and post cruise inclusions
- Complimentary UK lounge access
- Return flights between the UK and Darwin
- Hotel accommodation on a BB basis (2 night pre and 1 night post)
- A mix of private and shared transfers
Includes on board
- All adventure boat excursions & activities
- Superb fine dining
- Non-alcoholic refreshments throughout the day
- All fishing & snorkeling equipment and cylinders & weight belts (on dive trips)
- Café style coffees and tea
Scenic helicopter flights & alcohol are additional.
Meet our experts
Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0615Meet the team