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The Mysteries of Melanesia

Discover the Mysteries of Melanesia with a 17-day expedition voyage on board L’Austral.

Named by Jules Dumont d'Urville in 1832 Melanesia, is a region of mystery and intrigue. Volcanic islands rise from azure blue oceans creating a picture postcard landscape of white sand beaches and rainforest clad mountains.

Entwined within the landscape are a myriad of ancient cultures continuing the traditions and rituals of their ancestors.

Join your expert expedition team, selected for their knowledge and experience, along with local guides to explore these unique destinations by foot, zodiac or local transport.

This bespoke experience will showcase the astonishing diversity of cultures, landscapes, flora and fauna from the Indonesian archipelago to the Solomon Islands.

Experience Melanesia on board the luxurious L’Austral and discover one of the world’s great adventures in waiting.

Please Note: Flight Honiara / Brisbane is included.
28 August, 2018 to 13 September, 2018 Make a booking request for The Mysteries of Melanesia, departing on 28 August, 2018

Prices quoted here are often dependent on currency fluctuations. Please check with (01432 507450 or info@small-cruise-ships.com) for the very latest price, which may well be cheaper than the one advertised here.

DeLuxe Stateroom £ 5905 GBP pp (+ Port Charges 1180 AUD pp)
16 Deluxe Staterooms of 200 sq.ft.with private balcony. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi
view cabin photo
Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4 £ 6275 GBP pp (+ Port Charges 1180 AUD pp)
92 Prestige Staterooms with private balcony. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi
view cabin photo
Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5 £ 6463 GBP pp (+ Port Charges 1180 AUD pp)
92 Prestige Staterooms with private balcony. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi
view cabin photo
Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6 £ 6669 GBP pp (+ Port Charges 1180 AUD pp)
92 Prestige Staterooms with private balcony. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi
view cabin photo
Deluxe Suite £ 9068 GBP pp (+ Port Charges 1180 AUD pp)
On Deck 3 you will find 3 Deluxe Suites with private balcony. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi, Sofa, Armchair & Pedestal table
view cabin photo
Prestige Suite - Deck 5 £ 9804 GBP pp (+ Port Charges 1180 AUD pp)
20 Prestige Suites with private balcony will provide you a sea with in total discretion. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, communicating cabins available (Children welcome), Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi, Another Flat screen satellite TV, Sofa, Armchair & Pedestal table
view cabin photo
Prestige Suite - Deck 6 £ 10100 GBP pp (+ Port Charges 1180 AUD pp)
20 Prestige Suites with private balcony will provide you a sea with in total discretion. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, communicating cabins available (Children welcome), Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi, Another Flat screen satellite TV, Sofa, Armchair & Pedestal table
view cabin photo
Owners Suite £ 10619 GBP pp (+ Port Charges 1180 AUD pp)
The Owner's suite is situated on Deck 2. It has been decorated by Franch interior designers and will provide you a breathtakting panoramic sea view. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, communicating cabins available (Children welcome), Bathtub or shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi, Another Flat screen satellite TV, Large bathtub, Sofa, Table with 4 chairs, Armchair & Pedestal table
view cabin photo

The Mysteries of Melanesia itinerary:

show reverse itinerary
Day 1 - Darwin
Darwin is located in Australia’s Northern Territory which is also known as the “Top End”. It is the capital city and the most populated town of the Northern Territory. Darwin is a beautiful tropical city, a melting pot of people and cultures, over 50 different cultures live and work side by side that prides itself in its unique and friendly laid-back lifestyle. Discover the new Parliamant House opened in 1994, a magnificent example of tropical architecture and Admiralty House declared heritage place, a tropical-style home elevated on stilts that has survived two cyclones and numerous air raids. You will also enjoy the bustling waterfront on the Timor Sea.
Day 2 - At Sea
Day 3 - Banda Neira
From age-old traditional cultures and ancient vestiges, to coral reefs and lush green jungle… The attractions of the remote Banda archipelago seem endless. Better known as the legendary “Spice Islands” of the Ancient World, these small volcanic landmasses were the fabled prize of colonial powers for more than four centuries. Every colonial power of significance fought for control of these ten small islands that today have become largely forgotten. Walking the streets of Banda Neira is a surreal experience as your eyes are drawn to the eclectic mix of Portuguese, Dutch and British architecture, the remnants of a rich and tumultuous history. It is without doubt the most historically significant and interesting of all the “Spice Islands”.
Days 4 & 5 - Raja Ampay
If you are travelling the world in search for the most beautiful diving spots, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the Indonesian Raja Empat islands. Off Sorong, ideally located in the heart of the illustrious “Coral Triangle”, the 1,500 or so islets that make up the archipelago are the ideal place for admiring some outstandingly diverse coral reefs. At the junction of the Pacific and Indian oceans, the Raja Empat islands, covered with lush jungle, are also extraordinary lands for hiking. Between multi-coloured lagoons, immaculate beaches and green landscapes, the Raja Empat islands offer you a breath-taking palette of colours...
Day 6 - At Sea
Day 7 - Pulau Lamsutu
Pulau Lamsutu is a small uninhabited Island in the Sarmi district off the North coast of Papua Province in Indonesia. Known for its beautiful white sand beaches and intact coral reefs the Islands are awaiting discovery. There is a small population (270) of local people living on nearby Pulau Liki who still practice a traditional lifestyle.
Day 8 - Jayapura
Jayapura City is the provincial capital of Papua province, Indonesia. It is a modern industrial city contrasting markedly with the surrounding hinterland where Papuan tribes live a subsistence lifestyle. The vast majority of Jayapurans are transmigrants from western Indonesia who control most of the industry and economics of the region. Guests have the opportunity to visit the Loka Budaya Museum with its vast collection of Papuan artefacts before leaving the city behind, and travelling to the traditional village of Asai on Lake Sentani. Here you can enjoy a cultural performance and witness life in a traditional Papuan village. Asai is famous for its production of Tapa cloth.
Day 9 - Kopar Village
The people of the Sepik region speak more than 250 languages and are knitted together in systems of trade and cultural interaction. Kopar village’s location at the mouth of the Sepik river makes it an important trading point for surrounding villages. Here the crocodile is worshiped as the water spirit. As is custom in all Sepik societies, the men's house is the place where important decisions regarding the village are made, where boys are initiated and become men and ceremonies to please the spirits are performed. Guests will be welcomed ashore with a ceremony and cultural performance, including the famous “dragon dance.” There will be an opportunity to walk around the village of Kopar to experience traditional life in the lower Sepik.
Day 10 - Madang
Madang Township was once known as the "prettiest town in the South Pacific". Its peninsula setting is a show-place of parks, waterways, luxuriant shade trees and sparkling tropical islands. The diverse geographical nature of Madang province is reflected in the 170 different languages that are spoken. This diversity is showcased in the Madang festival with its colourful displays of “sing sings” performed by numerous cultural groups from across the Madang Province. Join your expedition team for a tour to the local village of BilBil, famous for the production of clay pots. You will also be treated to a number of cultural performances showcasing the local customs, costume and dance of the coastal, midland and highland communities.
Day 11 - Tami Islands
The Tami Islands (Kalal, Wanam & Idjan) are a small group of uplifted coral atolls, with two main villages on the two larger islands and many smaller reefs and cays. In the centre is a beautiful, crystal clear blue lagoon with abundant marine life and stunning coral formations. The islands, located in Morobe Province not far from the town of Finschaffen are seldom-visited. Tami Islanders are renowned artisans and are most famous for their intricately decorated bowls.
Day 12 - Kitava Island
The Trobriand Islands remain one of the most culturally intact places in the Pacific. Their unique social system is dominated by hereditary chiefs who wield tremendous power, although inheritances and lines of power are matrilineal. The Trobriands are often referred to as the ‘islands of love’. A reference to the customs and sexual practices of the islanders during the Yam harvesting festival of Milamala. Dance and celebration continue to play an important role in society with the rhythm of the dances retaining their sensuality, despite the best efforts of missionaries.
Day 13 - Samarai
The Samarai islands are located in the China Strait off the south-eastern tip of New Guinea. In its colonial heyday it was said to be one of the most beautiful places in the Pacific. The island was declared a National Historical Heritage Island by the government of Papua New Guinea in 2006. Just 3km west of Samarai, Kwato Island was once an educational centre and home to a thriving boat building industry. Following the old tree-lined road to the top of the island reveals a stonewalled church that was built in 1937 and remains a testimony to the missionaries of a bygone era. Join your expedition team for a guided walk on Samarai and Kwato Islands. You also will enjoy swimming and snorkelling on nearby Deka Deka island.
Day 14 - At Sea
Day 15 - Gizo & Njari Islands
Gizo is situated on Ghizo Island and is the second largest town in the Solomon Islands, after the capital, Honiara. The people of the Western Province are regarded as amongst the most skilled carvers in the world. They produce carvings from various woods including ebony and rosewood. These amazingly intricate carvings can take months to make and accordingly command a high price. There are plenty of opportunities for world class snorkelling, diving and underwater photography throughout the Western province and the Islands around Ghizo are considered among the most popular. Guests will have the opportunity to visit the traditional markets of Gizo. There are plenty of opportunities for world class snorkelling, diving and underwater photography throughout the Solomon Islands with sites in the Western and Central Provinces considered among the most popular. The underwater realm is home to more than 1000 species of reef fish, along with dolphins, rays, sharks, and six of the world's seven species of marine turtles. Almost 500 species of corals have been identified amongst the 5,750km2 of reefs found in the Solomon Islands. Njari Island is an uninhabited picture postcard island located 15nm from the town of Gizo. Enjoy swimming and snorkelling from its idyllic shores.
Day 16 - Florida Islands
Part of the Florida Islands, Roderick bay is surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches and fringing coral reefs. These clear warm tropical waters give rise to a myriad of colourful corals only metres from the shore. To add to this stunning environment, nosed up onto a nearby beach, listing heavily to its starboard side is the wreck of the World Discoverer; an expedition cruise ship beached here in 2001 after striking a charted rock at the Northern entrance to Sandfly Passage. Venture ashore for a welcome ceremony, take a walk through the village or snorkel around the wreck to witness the marine environment attempting to reclaim this invader.
Day 17 - Honiara
Honiara is the capital city of The Solomon Islands, administered as a provincial town on the north western coast of Guadalcanal Island. Honiara comes from the local Ghari Language “naho-ni-ara” meaning 'facing the ara', the place where the southeast winds meet the land. During your stop, discover this city, its beautiful landscape, and the significant role it played in World War II. Particularly The Battle of Henderson Field, the last of the three major land offensives conducted by the Japanese in 1942. Alternatively, you can discover a traditional village, its culture and way of life.
Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

The Mysteries of Melanesia reverse itinerary:

show main itinerary
Please Note: *
Itineraries are subject to change.
Day 17 - Honiara *
Honiara is the capital city of The Solomon Islands, administered as a provincial town on the north western coast of Guadalcanal Island. Honiara comes from the local Ghari Language “naho-ni-ara” meaning 'facing the ara', the place where the southeast winds meet the land. During your stop, discover this city, its beautiful landscape, and the significant role it played in World War II. Particularly The Battle of Henderson Field, the last of the three major land offensives conducted by the Japanese in 1942. Alternatively, you can discover a traditional village, its culture and way of life.
Day 16 - Florida Islands *
Part of the Florida Islands, Roderick bay is surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches and fringing coral reefs. These clear warm tropical waters give rise to a myriad of colourful corals only metres from the shore. To add to this stunning environment, nosed up onto a nearby beach, listing heavily to its starboard side is the wreck of the World Discoverer; an expedition cruise ship beached here in 2001 after striking a charted rock at the Northern entrance to Sandfly Passage. Venture ashore for a welcome ceremony, take a walk through the village or snorkel around the wreck to witness the marine environment attempting to reclaim this invader.
Day 15 - Gizo & Njari Islands *
Gizo is situated on Ghizo Island and is the second largest town in the Solomon Islands, after the capital, Honiara. The people of the Western Province are regarded as amongst the most skilled carvers in the world. They produce carvings from various woods including ebony and rosewood. These amazingly intricate carvings can take months to make and accordingly command a high price. There are plenty of opportunities for world class snorkelling, diving and underwater photography throughout the Western province and the Islands around Ghizo are considered among the most popular. Guests will have the opportunity to visit the traditional markets of Gizo. There are plenty of opportunities for world class snorkelling, diving and underwater photography throughout the Solomon Islands with sites in the Western and Central Provinces considered among the most popular. The underwater realm is home to more than 1000 species of reef fish, along with dolphins, rays, sharks, and six of the world's seven species of marine turtles. Almost 500 species of corals have been identified amongst the 5,750km2 of reefs found in the Solomon Islands. Njari Island is an uninhabited picture postcard island located 15nm from the town of Gizo. Enjoy swimming and snorkelling from its idyllic shores.
Day 14 - At Sea *
Day 13 - Samarai *
The Samarai islands are located in the China Strait off the south-eastern tip of New Guinea. In its colonial heyday it was said to be one of the most beautiful places in the Pacific. The island was declared a National Historical Heritage Island by the government of Papua New Guinea in 2006. Just 3km west of Samarai, Kwato Island was once an educational centre and home to a thriving boat building industry. Following the old tree-lined road to the top of the island reveals a stonewalled church that was built in 1937 and remains a testimony to the missionaries of a bygone era. Join your expedition team for a guided walk on Samarai and Kwato Islands. You also will enjoy swimming and snorkelling on nearby Deka Deka island.
Day 12 - Kitava Island *
The Trobriand Islands remain one of the most culturally intact places in the Pacific. Their unique social system is dominated by hereditary chiefs who wield tremendous power, although inheritances and lines of power are matrilineal. The Trobriands are often referred to as the ‘islands of love’. A reference to the customs and sexual practices of the islanders during the Yam harvesting festival of Milamala. Dance and celebration continue to play an important role in society with the rhythm of the dances retaining their sensuality, despite the best efforts of missionaries.
Day 11 - Tami Islands *
The Tami Islands (Kalal, Wanam & Idjan) are a small group of uplifted coral atolls, with two main villages on the two larger islands and many smaller reefs and cays. In the centre is a beautiful, crystal clear blue lagoon with abundant marine life and stunning coral formations. The islands, located in Morobe Province not far from the town of Finschaffen are seldom-visited. Tami Islanders are renowned artisans and are most famous for their intricately decorated bowls.
Day 10 - Madang *
Madang Township was once known as the "prettiest town in the South Pacific". Its peninsula setting is a show-place of parks, waterways, luxuriant shade trees and sparkling tropical islands. The diverse geographical nature of Madang province is reflected in the 170 different languages that are spoken. This diversity is showcased in the Madang festival with its colourful displays of “sing sings” performed by numerous cultural groups from across the Madang Province. Join your expedition team for a tour to the local village of BilBil, famous for the production of clay pots. You will also be treated to a number of cultural performances showcasing the local customs, costume and dance of the coastal, midland and highland communities.
Day 9 - Kopar Village *
The people of the Sepik region speak more than 250 languages and are knitted together in systems of trade and cultural interaction. Kopar village’s location at the mouth of the Sepik river makes it an important trading point for surrounding villages. Here the crocodile is worshiped as the water spirit. As is custom in all Sepik societies, the men's house is the place where important decisions regarding the village are made, where boys are initiated and become men and ceremonies to please the spirits are performed. Guests will be welcomed ashore with a ceremony and cultural performance, including the famous “dragon dance.” There will be an opportunity to walk around the village of Kopar to experience traditional life in the lower Sepik.
Day 8 - Jayapura *
Jayapura City is the provincial capital of Papua province, Indonesia. It is a modern industrial city contrasting markedly with the surrounding hinterland where Papuan tribes live a subsistence lifestyle. The vast majority of Jayapurans are transmigrants from western Indonesia who control most of the industry and economics of the region. Guests have the opportunity to visit the Loka Budaya Museum with its vast collection of Papuan artefacts before leaving the city behind, and travelling to the traditional village of Asai on Lake Sentani. Here you can enjoy a cultural performance and witness life in a traditional Papuan village. Asai is famous for its production of Tapa cloth.
Day 7 - Pulau Lamsutu *
Pulau Lamsutu is a small uninhabited Island in the Sarmi district off the North coast of Papua Province in Indonesia. Known for its beautiful white sand beaches and intact coral reefs the Islands are awaiting discovery. There is a small population (270) of local people living on nearby Pulau Liki who still practice a traditional lifestyle.
Day 6 - At Sea *
Days 4 & 5 - Raja Ampay *
If you are travelling the world in search for the most beautiful diving spots, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the Indonesian Raja Empat islands. Off Sorong, ideally located in the heart of the illustrious “Coral Triangle”, the 1,500 or so islets that make up the archipelago are the ideal place for admiring some outstandingly diverse coral reefs. At the junction of the Pacific and Indian oceans, the Raja Empat islands, covered with lush jungle, are also extraordinary lands for hiking. Between multi-coloured lagoons, immaculate beaches and green landscapes, the Raja Empat islands offer you a breath-taking palette of colours...
Day 3 - Banda Neira *
From age-old traditional cultures and ancient vestiges, to coral reefs and lush green jungle… The attractions of the remote Banda archipelago seem endless. Better known as the legendary “Spice Islands” of the Ancient World, these small volcanic landmasses were the fabled prize of colonial powers for more than four centuries. Every colonial power of significance fought for control of these ten small islands that today have become largely forgotten. Walking the streets of Banda Neira is a surreal experience as your eyes are drawn to the eclectic mix of Portuguese, Dutch and British architecture, the remnants of a rich and tumultuous history. It is without doubt the most historically significant and interesting of all the “Spice Islands”.
Day 2 - At Sea *
Day 1 - Darwin *
Darwin is located in Australia’s Northern Territory which is also known as the “Top End”. It is the capital city and the most populated town of the Northern Territory. Darwin is a beautiful tropical city, a melting pot of people and cultures, over 50 different cultures live and work side by side that prides itself in its unique and friendly laid-back lifestyle. Discover the new Parliamant House opened in 1994, a magnificent example of tropical architecture and Admiralty House declared heritage place, a tropical-style home elevated on stilts that has survived two cyclones and numerous air raids. You will also enjoy the bustling waterfront on the Timor Sea.
* = Indicative
Map for The Mysteries of Melanesia
L'Austral, the ship servicing The Mysteries of Melanesia

L'Austral

Luxury Expedition / Cruise Ship

This superb mega-yacht with 132 cabins is the result of the expertise of the Italian Fincantieri shipyard and French sophistication, as interpreted by designer Jean-Philippe Nuel. L'Austral has a unique atmosphere, a subtle blend of luxury, intimacy and well-being.

A sleek silhouette softened by elegantly smooth contours and large, arched windows opening up to the sea and the light: so many features come together to give L’Austral her distinctive shape. Precious materials, discreet elegance and a perfect balance between chic and casual, combine to make you feel as if you are on your own private yacht. A design blending tradition and innovation, where a nautical mood has been subtly recreated. Precious materials in smoothing neutral tones are brought to life with splashes of cheerful reds. So many personal touches create the spirit of a “private yacht”.

Suites and staterooms

You can expect magnificent ocean views as 124 staterooms and suites have balconies. 

 Individually-controlled airconditioning • Cabin layout: kingsize bed, or twin beds, communicating cabins available (children welcome) • Minibar • Flat screen satellite TV • IPod™ players • Desk with stationery • Electronic safe • French bath products • Dressing table and hairdryer • Bath robes • Satellite direct line telephone • 110/220 volts • 24hr room service • WiFi • Balcony

Cuisine

Loyal to the great French tradition, the haute cuisine on board is worthy of the finest restaurants, where discreet, attentive service is the hallmark.

Choose from two restaurants for breakfasts, lunch and dinner. The Gastronomic Restaurant is situated on Le Liberté Deck and serves you French and international cuisine accompagnied by fine wine. On the Grill Restaurant, you have the opportuniny to eat outside and enjoy buffet lunch and themed dinner.

Life On Board

Whether you want to join other guests in the theatre or games area (Wii™ consoles, etc), or relax on your own in a quiet corner of the library, L'Austral has been designed to meet the needs of every guest.

Everything has been done to preserve the independence of each guest to suit their personal tastes: lounges for lectures and shows, a spa in partnership with Sothys™, but also more intimate spaces such as the library and internet corner. Comfortable cabins, nearly all with private balcony, are available for families either as triples or as communicating cabins. There is also a games area with Wii™ consoles, children’s menus, and a baby-sitting service. Just as if you were on a private yacht, your time is your own to do as you please.

Fitted with the latest equipment (Kinesis Wall, running machine) and in partnership with the famous Sothys™ brand, the Beauty Centre on L'Austral welcomes you for some unforgettable moments of relaxation and pampering (beauty treatments, hairdresser).

Wheelchairs
3 specially adapted wheelchair cabins (Deck 3 = Superior cabin no. 307, no balcony, Deck 4 = Prestige Cabin no. 407 - with balcony and Deck 5 = Prestige Cabin no 509, with balcony) and lifts to all decks/areas.

Details

Length:  142 metres. Passenger Capacity: 264 (200 in Antarctica). Built:  2011

Cabin layout for L'Austral
• Walk along streets that were the most valuable real estate in the world for more than 400 years

• Discover the Maluku Islands, an idyllic paradise, the original Spice Islands.

• Swim and snorkel in rajah Ampat, the heart of the coral triangle.

• Witness traditional Sepik river culture and artefacts.

• Experience the energetic traditional performances of the Trobriand Islanders.

• Discover Papua New Guinea’s Role during World War II.

• View the remarkable skill of the Solomon Island carvers

• Snorkel around the wreck of the “World Discoverer”

• Gain an insight into the History, culture, and incredible diversity of life from your expert expedition team.
Enquire now about The Mysteries of Melanesia

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