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Raja Ampat, West Papua

Raja Ampat Explorer on True North

16-day stay & cruise


Short description

An exploratory cruise of jungle treks and world-class diving paired with fine dining and sunset drinks


  • Enjoy some of the world’s best diving and snorkelling
  • Spot unique wildlife on jungle treks
  • Return each day to a fine dining education
  • Relax with white-sand beaches and a pre- and post-cruise stay in Darwin
  • Be treated to naturalist-led excursions throughout

In Brief

  • 2 Nights Darwin
  • 10 Nights West Papua cruise
  • 1 Night Darwin


Recommended for:
Expedition cruise | Natural world | Off the beaten track | Photography

Channel your inner explorer with Indonesia’s West Papua – a paradise archipelago of waterfall-dotted islands shrouded in myth and jungle alike. It’s all brought to life on this exclusive, small-ship cruise, with fine dining and expert-led excursions included throughout, from scuba trips to tender-boat cruises. Sip sunset drinks in a centuries-old fort, spot birds of paradise on a jungle trek and fish your way through hidden waterways before relaxing on a white-sand beach. In between, you’ll dive and snorkel among coral-encrusted lava flows, resplendent with seahorses and manta rays.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
Depart UK

Begin your trip in style with airport lounge access before your overnight flight to Australia.

Days 2-3

Arriving into Darwin, you’ll be met by a private driver who’ll see you to your luxury, pre-cruise accommodation. Found right in Darwin's centre, where cafés spill out onto pavements and galleries show off the region’s Indigenous heritage, its pretty terraces showcase spectacular citywide views. And, while you’ll also have welcoming beaches within easy reach, the hidden waterfalls, dramatic rock formations and old-growth forest of Litchfield and Kakadu national parks are just a daytrip away. At the end of it all, you’ll return to relax with your hotel’s outdoor pool.

Stay: H Hotel Darwin (Deluxe)

Day 4

Today, an included transfer will bring you to your charter flight to a true frontier – Ambon in West Papua. Here, you’ll be greeted aboard the True North by welcome cocktails and a delightfully intimate ambience; an all-Australian crew serves just 36 passengers. This is perhaps most apparent in the dining room where full-board, fine-dining menus are dished up to panoramic views. Expect the likes of oysters paired with champagne and black pig pancetta roasted with organic maple syrup. You’ll even have the opportunity to chat to, learn from and fish with the chef. Lastly, there’s also an internet café, in-cabin entertainment and presentations from the onboard naturalist.

Stay: True North (Deluxe)

Meals: B D

Day 5
The Banda Islands

From Arabia to China, traders have laid claim to Indonesia’s ‘Spice Islands’ for nearly 400 years. So valuable were they that Holland traded modern-day Manhattan for just one. It’s a fascinating heritage that’s brought to life by a guided tour of Banda Neira’s museum and nutmeg plantations, reached by a ride in a traditional war canoe. Back onboard, the guest biologist will then introduce you to the region’s natural heritage before you’ve the choice of a scenic cruise in the tender boats or a chance to snorkel and dive on a sunken lava flow. End the day with sunset drinks on the 17th-century Fort Belgica, its imposing ramparts offering spectacular views over Banda Harbour and a still-active volcano.

Stay: True North (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 6
The Fakfak Coast & Sebakor Bay

All bright-blue waters and old-growth forests, the Fakfak Coast is the scenic setting for a fishing trip to the Bomberai Peninsula or an adventure-boat cruise through its hidden lagoons. Be sure to keep on the lookout for the exotic Papuan birdlife and make use of your snorkel or scuba tank to explore the aquarium-like underwater world. Then, after refreshing yourself under jungle-clad Mommon Waterfall, you’ll continue to Sebakor Bay’s spectacular system of water-filled caves. There’s plenty of opportunity for further snorkelling and diving before returning to the chef’s wine-and-cheese evening.

Stay: True North (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 7
Raja Ampat

You’ll be treated today to a trip highlight, Raja Ampat – the mythological ‘Four Kings’. It’s a real extravagance of marine biodiversity, with spectacular reefs resplendent in rainbows of fish and soft corals. Marvel at the innumerable sea fans in the Wayilbatan Channel, the giant schools of fish off Nudi Rock and the spectacular Boo Windows – a series of underwater arches that you can swim through. It’s all part of the protected Se Misool Marine Park. Before ending the day with sunset beach drinks, you’ll also visit the Misool Eco Resort. This tropical island is fringed in white sands and pristine coral reefs – a true shore-dive paradise. 

Stay: True North (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 8
Misool Island

The waters that ring Misool Island teem with marine life, with the oversized sea fans and the underwater caverns of Farondi Island particular highlights. You’ll then have the choice of further diving or a scenic ride round the spectacular Balbulol island formations before anchoring in the Mesempta Karst Channels. It’s the impossibly scenic gateway to a snorkel or float trip through Tomolol – a sacred cave system. For the best views, consider booking onto a helicopter flight. Then, in the late afternoon, a drinks and nibbles cruise aboard the adventure boats will showcase the beauty of the Karst Islands – great rocky crags that rise as green-dappled monoliths from azure waters.

Stay: True North (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 9
Gam Island & Cape Kri

You’ll rise early today for a trek through the jungles of Gam Island to spot the magnificent red birds of paradise. Then, back on board, it’s on to Cape Kri. Host to a spectacular reef, it holds the world record for fish species recorded during a single dive – nearly 400. You’ll then enjoy further diving and snorkelling in the Dampier Strait, its glittering waters lined by forested islets. Alternatively, a tender-boat cruise will see you explore the blue-water mangroves and enjoy some afternoon bird watching.

Stay: True North (Deluxe)

Day 10
The Fam Islands

While the optional helicopter flight over the Fam Islands is especially good, your adventure boat excursion will see you take in the Penemu and Yeben islands for further snorkelling and diving off beachcomber’s white sands. It’s then on to the Malay Archipelago – the inspiration for Alfred Russel Wallace’s theory of natural selection. Here, you’ll slip into the coastal channel that bears his name for a unique snorkelling experience. A half-mile-long drift guides you over everything from orange cup coral to seahorses and clownfish, all surrounded by dense jungle. End the day exploring secret lagoons aboard the adventure boats.

Stay: True North (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 11
Wofoh Island

Begin today with Wofoh Island where you’ll dive over black coral forests, snorkel among lush coral gardens or simply relax on pristine white sands. The only thing you have to worry about is falling coconuts. You’ll then cruise on to the rocky islets of the Bouganiville Strait to swim with, luck permitting, a stunning collection of manta rays, attracted by plankton-rich currents. This afternoon, you’ll visit a pearl farm at Aljui Bay before the fishing party is sent out in search of the mangrove jack – a true culinary highlight. The divers won’t be left out either, with a night expedition among such weird and wonderful critters as wobbegongs, ghost pipefish and even walking sharks.

Stay: True North (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Days 12-13
The Wayag Archipelago

Over the next two days you’ll be treated to some of the region’s most spectacular scenery with the ‘karst beehive’ islands of the Wayag Archipelago. Towering as sheer monoliths from the sea floor, they’re the dramatic backdrop to reef snorkel trips and tender-boat lagoon cruises. Then, continuing on, you’ll have the chance to snorkel, swim or dive from the Southern to the Northern Hemisphere – something celebrated with tonight’s equator party. In turn, your last day is given over to some well-earned relaxation with a gourmet beach picnic fronted by azure sea and backdropped by palm trees and dense Papuan jungle. There’s also plenty of opportunity to explore wit the usual aquatic toys. 

Stay: True North (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 14

After a last breakfast onboard, a private transfer will see you to Sorong Airport for your charter flight back to Darwin. Here, you’ll be met again by a private driver, this time for the trip back to your central accommodation. With a final night in this tropical city, perhaps relax on the waterfront where chic bars and restaurants look out over green parks and blue seas alike.

Stay: H Hotel Darwin (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Days 15-16
Depart for UK

Your last private transfer will see you to the airport for your overnight flight home.

Meals: B


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