SOUTH PACIFIC HIGHLIGHTS

SOUTH PACIFIC HIGHLIGHTS

Hong Kong to Sydney

Oct 2, 2022 to Jan 2, 2023

92 Days

SeaDream Innovation

G32203

 Brimming with excitement, sail through the South Pacific and culminate in Australia, just in time to welcome the New Year in Sydney. In Asia, discover a kaleidoscope of mesmerizing cultures. Visit a constellation of stunning islands in the South Pacific, while in Australia and New Zealand explore the beautiful sceneries and cosmopolitan cities.   

Date Ports of Call Arrive Depart
Oct 02, 2022 Hong Kong,
China
2 PM - 4 PM
(Embarkation)
Overnight
Oct 03, 2022 Hong Kong,
China
Overnight
Oct 04, 2022 At Sea,
Oct 05, 2022 Ha Long Bay,
Vietnam
Morning Overnight
Oct 06, 2022 Ha Long Bay,
Vietnam
Overnight
Oct 07, 2022 Hue,
Vietnam
Morning Evening
Oct 08, 2022 At Sea,
Oct 09, 2022 Ho Chi Minh City,
Vietnam
Morning Late Evening
Oct 10, 2022 At Sea,
Oct 11, 2022 Sihanoukville,
Cambodia
Early Morning Late Evening
Oct 12, 2022 Ko Kut,
Thailand
Morning Afternoon
Oct 13, 2022 Bangkok,
Thailand
Morning Overnight
Oct 14, 2022 Bangkok,
Thailand
Morning Evening
Oct 15, 2022 Hua Hin,
Thailand
Morning Evening
Oct 16, 2022 Ko Samui,
Thailand
Morning Afternoon
Oct 17, 2022 At Sea,
Oct 18, 2022 Singapore,
Republic of Singapore
Afternoon Overnight
Oct 19, 2022 Singapore,
Republic of Singapore
Overnight
Oct 20, 2022 At Sea,
Oct 21, 2022 Ujung Kulon National Park & Krakatoa,
Indonesia
Morning Evening
Oct 22, 2022 Exploration Day,
Late Evening Late Evening
Oct 23, 2022 Semarang,
Indonesia
Early Morning Evening
Oct 24, 2022 At Sea,
Oct 25, 2022 Celukan Bawang, Bali,
Indonesia
Early Morning Evening
Oct 26, 2022 Bali (Benoa),
Indonesia
Early Morning Overnight
Oct 27, 2022 Bali (Benoa),
Indonesia
Morning Evening
Oct 28, 2022 Sumbawa Besar (Badas Port),
Indonesia
Early Morning Afternoon
Oct 29, 2022 Komodo,
Indonesia
Early Morning Evening
Oct 30, 2022 Larantuka, Flores,
Indonesia
Afternoon Evening
Oct 31, 2022 Lembata,
Indonesia
Early Morning Evening
Nov 01, 2022 Gunungapi,
Indonesia
Afternoon Evening
Nov 02, 2022 Banda Neira,
Indonesia
Early Morning Evening
Nov 03, 2022 At Sea,
Nov 04, 2022 Kokas,
Indonesia
Early Morning Evening
Nov 05, 2022 Fakfak (Mommon Bay),
Indonesia
Early Morning Evening
Nov 06, 2022 Triton Bay,
Indonesia
Early Morning Evening
Nov 07, 2022 At Sea,
Nov 08, 2022 At Sea,
Nov 09, 2022 Thursday Island/Cape York,
Australia
Early Morning Evening
Nov 10, 2022 Great Barrier Reef,
Australia
Early Morning Evening
Nov 11, 2022 Lizard Island,
Australia
Early Morning Evening
Nov 12, 2022 Cairns,
Australia
Morning Evening
Nov 13, 2022 At Sea,
Nov 14, 2022 Alotau,
Papua New Guinea
Early Morning Evening
Nov 15, 2022 Trobriand Islands (Kitava),
Papua New Guinea
Early Morning Evening
Nov 16, 2022 Louisiade Islands,
Papua New Guinea
Early Morning Evening
Nov 17, 2022 Samarai Island,
Papua New Guinea
Early Morning Evening
Nov 18, 2022 At Sea,
Nov 19, 2022 Ghizo & Narji Island,
Solomon Islands
Early Morning Evening
Nov 20, 2022 Marovo Lagoon,
Solomon Islands
Early Morning Evening
Nov 21, 2022 Honiara,
Solomon Islands
Early Morning Evening
Nov 22, 2022 Santa Ana,
Solomon Islands
Early Morning Afternoon
Nov 23, 2022 Utupua,
Solomon Islands
Early Morning Evening
Nov 24, 2022 Tikopia,
Solomon Islands
Early Morning Afternoon
Nov 25, 2022 At Sea,
Nov 26, 2022 Lautoka,
Fiji
Morning Evening
Nov 27, 2022 Mbengga Island,
Fiji
Early Morning Evening
Nov 28, 2022 At Sea,
Nov 29, 2022 Port Vila,
Vanuatu
Early Morning Evening
Nov 30, 2022 Ambrym,
Vanuatu
Early Morning Evening
Dec 01, 2022 Espiritu Santo,
Vanuatu
Early Morning Evening
Dec 02, 2022 At Sea,
Dec 03, 2022 Isle of Pines,
New Caledonia
Early Morning Evening
Dec 04, 2022 At Sea,
Dec 05, 2022 Norfolk Island,
Australia
Early Morning Evening
Dec 06, 2022 At Sea,
Dec 07, 2022 Russell, Bay of Islands,
New Zealand
Early Morning Evening
Dec 08, 2022 Auckland,
New Zealand
Early Morning Evening
Dec 09, 2022 White Island,
New Zealand
Morning Afternoon
Dec 10, 2022 Napier,
New Zealand
Morning Afternoon
Dec 11, 2022 Wellington,
New Zealand
Morning Late Evening
Dec 12, 2022 Picton,
New Zealand
Morning Evening
Dec 13, 2022 Kaikoura,
New Zealand
Morning Evening
Dec 14, 2022 Akaroa,
New Zealand
Morning Evening
Dec 15, 2022 Dunedin,
New Zealand
Morning Evening
Dec 16, 2022 Oban, Stewart Island,
New Zealand
Morning Late Evening
Dec 17, 2022 At Sea,
Dec 18, 2022 Christchurch (Lyttleton),
New Zealand
Morning Evening
Dec 19, 2022 Picton,
New Zealand
Morning Evening
Dec 20, 2022 Nelson,
New Zealand
Morning Evening
Dec 21, 2022 At Sea,
Dec 22, 2022 Dusky Sound,
New Zealand
Morning Evening
Dec 23, 2022 Milford Sound,
New Zealand
Morning Afternoon
Dec 24, 2022 At Sea,
Dec 25, 2022 At Sea,
Dec 26, 2022 Hobart, Tasmania,
Australia
Morning Late Evening
Dec 27, 2022 Wineglass Bay,
Australia
Morning Evening
Dec 28, 2022 Flinders Island,
Australia
Morning Evening
Dec 29, 2022 At Sea,
Dec 30, 2022 Sydney,
Australia
Morning Late Evening
Dec 31, 2022 Sydney,
Australia
Late Evening Late Evening
Jan 01, 2023 Sydney,
Australia
Late Evening Late Evening
Jan 02, 2023 Sydney,
Australia
Late Evening Evening

Ports

  • Hong Kong

    The most striking visual aspect of Hong Kong is its skyscrapers, more than 300 of them. For the best view head to “The Peak,” traveling by tram up the steep slope. The panorama from the top – the busy harbor, forest of high-rises, and green hills beyond – is spectacular. The deep waters of Victoria Harbor that separate Hong Kong Island from Kowloon on the mainland are the reason for Hong Kong’s success. Traces of old Hong Kong can be found beneath the towers in the Central district, seat of government and finance. There are many boutiques carrying designer brands, but also small markets and eateries hidden in the alleyways to discover. Numerous Buddhist and Daoist temples and monasteries, some centuries old, are scattered around the city. Anything and everything is available in Hong Kong’s shops, and its street markets are a cultural phenomenon that’s fun to observe, even if you don’t buy anything. Practice your bargaining skills at the Ladies Market, with over 100 stalls selling bargain clothing and accessories, and Stanley Market, a warren of clothing and handicrafts stands. Food is also a favorite pastime for the locals. A favorite tradition is joining family and friends for dim sum. This small plate dining is fun, delicious, and a cultural experience.

  • At Sea

  • Ha Long Bay

    Ha Long Bay is a wonderland of towering limestone pillars and islets strewn across the jade green waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. For 500 million years these mountains have risen and eroded, sculpted into fantastical shapes by the whims of wind and the encroaching sea. It is possible to visit the islands by sailing junk or paddle yourself by kayak into hidden lagoons and grottos to explore huge stalactite and stalagmite-adorned caverns, some of them superbly illuminated. Of course lazing on a beautiful beach refreshed by a dip in bay is also a popular pastime. Get a feel for the local culture with a visit to a floating village. These previously populated small, self-sufficient communities consisted of boats and houseboats lashed together and included shops, schools, and other public services. Due to tightening of environmental restrictions only four villages remain. And though no one lives there full time, the locals still pursue their traditional trades on the bay, including fishing and pearl processing. In Cát Bà National Park there are hiking trails where the park denizens can be spotted. Deer, civet cats and macaques live here, as do the last 65 remaining golden-headed langurs, the world’s most endangered primates.

  • Hue

    Danang has changed dramatically in the last few decades. Walk along the white sand beaches which are now lined with modern hotels and brought with them a revolution in fine dining. Skyscrapers are changing the view, towering over handsome old pagodas and French colonial buildings. The city’s centerpiece is the state-of-the-art Dragon Bridge, golden and complete with head and tail. The nearby Marble Mountains are named for the five elements in ancient oriental philosophy: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. Explore the interesting caves and tunnels within these sharp limestone pinnacles. On the banks of the Perfume River, the ancient city of Hue was the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802, when the clan established control over the whole of Vietnam, to 1945, when France took over. Scattered throughout the area are palaces, temples, gardens, and tombs, many of them UNESCO World Heritage sites. Highlights include a walkway of 80 carved red and gold lacquer pillars; the mausoleum of Tu Duc, on a lake surrounded by greenery; and the Ghost City, a cemetery of ornate tombs incorporating Buddhist and Christian iconography. Though the area was severely damaged during the wars of the 20th century, restoration is ongoing.

  • Ho Chi Minh City

    This high-energy center of commerce and culture is on the move; you can feel the buzz of Saigon just walking down the street. Trendy designer malls co-exist with traditional marketplaces and looming skyscrapers hover over ancient alleyways and colorful temples, a seamless flow between then and now. One of the most elaborately ornamented temples is Phuoc An Hoi Quan, with immense spiral incense coils hanging from the ceiling. Ben Thanh is the city’s largest and most authentic market, a great place to mix with the locals and munch street-style local food. Bargaining is part of the experience. The fascinating Cu Chi Tunnels were built by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Invisible from above, they were not just an extensive network of underground pathways, but housed living space and everything from hospitals to weapons factories. Sophisticated bars and eateries abound. The most historic spot is Saigon Saigon at the Caravelle Hotel overlooking the main square. Sip a drink on the terrace as Western journalists did during the conflict. And don’t leave the country without slurping Pho, the noodle soup that is Vietnam’s most famous culinary export.

  • Sihanoukville

    Sihanoukville was carved out of the jungle in the 1950’s to create Cambodia’s first and only deep-water port and expand international trade. A city only since 1964, it is busy establishing itself as resort destination with much to recommend it: powdery golden beaches, coral reefs for snorkeling and Scuba, a mangrove reserve for quiet walks and boat tours, as well as marlin and barracuda fishing. It is also a gateway to Siem Reap and the celebrated temples of Angkor, the vast complex of stone structures including Angkor Wat. Designed after Indian temples, its central towers represent the peaks that serve as the home of the gods, and its surrounding walls portray the earth, with moats and pools as the oceans. Intricate carving is everywhere. Angkor Thom was once an immense walled city, with the pyramid temple of Bayon at its heart. Here the towers are topped by 200 huge faces, each with just a hint of a Mona Lisa smile. Some of the most beautiful and mysterious temples are those like Ta Phrom, unrestored and overgrown by jungle creepers and fig trees. Also accessible from Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, with its park lined waterfront, ornate royal palace and Silver Pagoda.

  • Ko Kut

    The term idyllic might have been coined to describe the island of Ko Kut, with a coastline of silken sand beaches lapped by crystal clear waters and an interior of pristine rainforest. There are no towns on the island – only seaside fishing villages and coconut plantations. The population is approximately 2,000. Snorkeling and kayaking are the main pastimes, though pure relaxation is also very popular. Scuba dive amidst sea horses, turtles, stingrays, barracudas and a variety of small fish. Kayak through the mangrove-lined river estuary or fish out of sheltered bays. Head inland to the jungle clad mountains in search of the Makka trees, two massive banyans hundreds of years old. Then refresh in one of the mountain waterfalls, with pools for swimming. If you work up an appetite, you can find fresh seafood in one of the fishing villages.

  • Bangkok

    Thailand’s capital has a split personality. Traditional golden temples and dazzling palaces reside side-by-side with high-rise towers. Modern shopping malls and restaurants compete with open-air markets and street-food stalls. On main roads and sidewalks everyone is in a hurry; for a different vibe, turn off on one of the tiny lanes called sois. The brightly colored Grand Palace, a fantasy in golden spires, encompasses many buildings, including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, spiritual core of Thai Buddhism. The image itself is just over two feet tall and is actually carved from jade. Two other significant temples are Wat Po, site of a massive reclining Buddha, and Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn. The Chao Phraya River is the city’s heart, best investigated by long tail boat along with the adjoining canals where Thais live in stilted wooden homes. Bangkok’s markets are a highlight – some float, with vendors hawking fruits, vegetables and noodles ready to eat from small boats. At the massive covered Weekend Market, thousands of vendors peddle virtually everything – from antiques and handy crafts, flowers and fabrics, to spices and even pets. Also everything eatable you can possibly imagine, including tempting snacks to keep up your energy.

  • Hua Hin

    King Rama VII was the first to recognize Hua Hin’s possibilities as a holiday resort; His Far From Worries Palace remains a royal residence today. Another royal summer palace built in 1924 by Rama VI consists of a series of 18 interlinked teak buildings transported from various locations. A convenient weekend location easily accessible from Bangkok, the town developed gradually as a resort for the Thai aristocracy, as a fishing port and as the site of Asia’s first 18-hole golf course. Today it offers several world-class courses, including one by Jack Nicklaus with 27 holes. Development has been moderate; the central town is almost entirely free of high-rises. Kite boarding is one of the newest of the many water sports available. Outside the city you will find parks and peaks, caves and waterfalls. Experience the beauty of Keang Krachan National Park while rafting on the Phetchaburi River and scout for local wildlife in the tropical forest. Visit the Wildlife Friends Rescue Center, where they care for over 500 animals, including bears, tigers, gibbons, and elephants. For an artistic experience, visit the collective established by local painter Tawee Kasangam in a shady grove just outside of town.

  • Ko Samui

    Ko Samui’s white sand beaches and numerous offshore islands provide all the water-related activities one could wish for. Ang Thong National Marine Park is a protected area of more than four square miles of land and sea, including 42 islands, only one of which is inhabited. Four types of forest can be found among the islands, where steep limestone cliffs rise in amazing shapes. Land and sea are home to a rich variety of exotic wildlife, sea creatures, and birds. Ashore are langurs, otters, iguanas, pythons, and many seabirds. Turtle Island is a top SCUBA destination; hilly and ringed by sandy beach, its crystal clear waters contain vibrant coral reefs also perfect for snorkeling and sea kayaking. Not feel like getting wet? Fishing and mountain biking are popular activities, and hikers can cool off in the natural pools of picturesque waterfalls on the main island. For a cultural experience, investigate the golden Big Buddha Temple situated on a small rock island reached by a causeway. Take home one of the lucky amulets for sale for an unusual souvenir.

  • Singapore

    This tiny island city-state just off the southern tip of Malaysia became a sovereign nation only in 1965 and managed the transition from a developing to a highly developed country in a single generation, while managing to keep the city clean, green and safe. For a bird’s eye view of the scope of this achievement, take a 30-minute spin on the Singapore Flyer, a massive observation wheel, or visit the futuristic Marina Bay Sky Park, for an unusual blend of high tech and Mother Nature with a 360-degree panorama. The population is comfortably multi-cultural, and visitors can explore elaborately decorated Taoist-Buddhist and Hindu temples, mosques and churches, in some cases side-by-side. Chinatown and Little India offer shopping opportunities and the chance to try out authentic ethnic foods. To complete your explorations, stop in at Baba House, a museum of the hybrid Peranakan culture, made up of the offspring of Chinese and Indian men and local Malay and Indonesian women. Orchard Road is Singapore’s modern shopping hub, a seemingly unending array of department stores and malls. For a combination of chic shops and colonial history, try the arcade at Raffles, the iconic hotel dating from 1887, and then relax with a Singapore Sling, supposedly invented here in 1915.

  • Ujung Kulon National Park & Krakatoa

    Ujung Kulon National Park is located at the tip of the island of Java, along with its offshore volcanic islands is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an untouched wilderness with healthy coral reefs. It is home to the endangered Java one-horned rhino, as well as wild pigs and cattle, sambar deer, giant monitor lizards and several species of monkeys. Birders can look forward to 270 species, and divers and snorkelers to green turtles and many varieties of fish. The pristine rainforest with its abundance of flora and fauna can be explored by canoe. Far off the tourist track and difficult to get to by land, it has few visitors. The Indonesian archipelago sits astride the Ring of Fire, an arc of seismic activity around the edges of the Pacific Ocean. The most famous of its volcanoes is Krakatoa, whose 1883 eruption was heard across the Indian Ocean and sent ash raining down on ships as far away as 3,700 miles. Today Krakatoa is quiet, but an active vent has given birth to a small island. Its name is Anak Krakatoa – Anak meaning son.

  • Exploration Day

  • Semarang

    Semarang’s old quarter dates from the time of Dutch colonization and is filled with handsome old buildings. Today, the city’s most striking aspect is its evolution into a modern city with a giant shopping mall, multiplex cinema and new hotels catering to business people, making it an authentic experience for those wishing to understand contemporary Indonesia. It also serves as a gateway to the cultural riches of central Java. The city of Yogyakarta is known as the soul of Java, home of traditional Javanese culture and arts and crafts: shadow puppets, masks and batik art, as well as silverwork, both practical and decorative. The still inhabited sultan’s palace and a lively main market are also a draw. Not far off are two spectacular archaeological sites. Borbudur is the world’s largest Buddhist monument, dating from the 8th and 9th centuries. The heavy blocks were assembled without the use of cement or mortar, and are covered with intricate carvings in bas-relief telling the story of the life of the Buddha. Dating from the same time period and similarly engraved, Prambanan is a temple honoring Hindu gods. It sports spires reaching skyward and is surrounded by a lush green park.

  • Celukan Bawang, Bali

    The port of Celukan Bawang is home to wooden, high-prowed, colorful Bugis schooners, the traditional vessels of the Indonesian archipelago that have plied these waters for centuries. It is also the gateway to Lovinia, with its calm, crystal waters and quiet black sand beaches. There are coral reefs for snorkeling, and this is an ideal spot for first timers to get an introduction to diving. The drive winds past little villages and temples, roadside rice paddies and the ever-present warungs, small family restaurants and fruit stalls. In Singaraja (Indonesian for lion king), traces of Dutch colonialism are evident, especially in the Gedond Kirtya Library and Museum Beleleng, composed of three small houses with a collection of old Balinese lontar books, made from palm leaves. In the cool, peaceful upland of Lake Beratan is the 17th century Ulun Danu Temple complex, set against a mountain backdrop and partially surrounded by the reflective surface of the lake. It is dedicated to the worship of the Hindu trinity, Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva, as well as the lake goddess Dewi Danu.

  • Bali (Benoa)

    Immerse yourself in the rich and colorful culture of this bewitching island. Enjoy the scent of blossoms on the soft morning breeze, and notice the exquisite daily offerings of flowers and tropical fruits everywhere. Listen for the strains of the gamelan in the background, and keep your eyes open for the endless processions en route to myriad temple ceremonies. Unlike most Indonesians, the people here are predominantly Hindu. Volcanoes cluster in the center of the island. The tallest is Mount Agung, Bali’s spiritual center and the location of its most important temple, Besakih. But the most dramatic temple is Ula Watu, perched atop sheer cliffs dropping straight down into the surf. The views are spectacular, especially at sunset. Bali is one of the world’s most artistic cultures, with individual villages famous for specific crafts and dance performances, with Ubud as the cultural core. Bali is also a place for relaxation and contemplation. There are scenic views for yoga and meditation and day spas providing Balinese massage. And every evening at dusk up to 20,000 large herons fly into the trees in the village of Petulu, to find their perches and settle in for the night.

  • Sumbawa Besar (Badas Port)

    Sumbawa Besar sits at the foot of the remains of Gunung Tambora, a volcano that exploded with inconceivable force in 1815, creating a “year without summer” across the entire northern hemisphere. It’s a quiet place now, a market town trading in beans, rice and corn cultivated on its outskirts and sold at a lively morning market. In the center of the town is the handsome, late 19th century sultan’s palace constructed in wood and supported by 99 stilts, without the use of a single nail. Outside the city, the welcome is warm in hillside villages, providing an opportunity to connect with locals and their daily lives. Traditional looms turn out distinctly Sumbawan ikat textiles, often embellished by silver and gold threads. The population is Muslim, and an Islamic influence is evident in the fabric, but older elements such as human figures and birds make an appearance too. Saleh Bay and its islands are surrounded by coral reefs and provide opportunities for snorkeling and diving, as well as just lazing in the sun.

  • Komodo

    Komodo National Park includes 29 volcanic islands, encompassing varied terrains including red hillsides, tropical rain forests, grass and woodland savannah, and pristine white sandy beaches. It is home to a diverse array of mammals, birds and reptiles, including the star attraction, the Komodo dragon. The largest lizard on the planet, it can grow up to 8.5 feet long and weigh up to 200 pounds. Not a very attractive creature, it has a flat head, long, thick tail and forked tongue. Despite its heavy body and bowed legs, it can run an impressive 12 miles per hour, swim even faster and has excellent distance vision. To the delight of divers and snorkelers, the surrounding marine environment is one of the world’s richest in flora and fauna. More than 1,000 species of fish, some 260 species of reef-building coral and 70 species of sponges inhabit these waters, as do dugongs, sharks, manta rays, whales, dolphins, and sea turtles. The waters are not deep, making for an easy dive through large schools of colorful fish.

  • Larantuka, Flores

    The island of Flores, along with the rest of East Nusa Tenggara province, is Christian, with 90% of the local population identifying as Catholic or Protestant. Originally settled by the Portuguese in the 15th century, Laurentuka was once a colonial entrepôt and base for missionary activity. A bit of Iberian style is evident in the city’s cathedral, with touches of pink and multiple spires. A derelict but lovely cemetery abuts the church. While nominally Catholic, the local inhabitants also practice their traditional animist religion, evident in the picturesque villages of Luba and Bena, filled with thatched cottages grouped around megalithic stone structures. The highland town of Bajawa also sports rows of high roofed traditional huts, along with totem poles and ceremonial houses adorned with ornate carvings. Many of these local residents are engaged in the weaving of the ikat textiles that Indonesia is famous for. In this method, intricate patterns are created by tie-dying the strands of thread before weaving. Each of the three crater lakes of Mount Kelimutu is a different hue and chameleon-like, changing color all the time – blue, green, red, even black – possibly because of the interaction of minerals with volcanic gas.

  • Lembata

    Lembata is an island of breathtaking scenery and vibrant color: smoldering volcanoes, enticing sandy bays lush with palm trees, and turquoise waters rich in coral and a rainbow of fish. Jungle trekkers who keep their eyes open may be rewarded with sightings of brilliantly hued birds, monkeys swinging in the trees, and some of the many reptiles and amphibians in residence. Nothing here is commercially produced. Rich ikat cloth is made from homegrown cotton, spun and dyed by the weaver. Lamalera, clinging to the slopes of an active volcano, is home to a traditional whaling community, hunting as they have for centuries using only basic equipment – harpoons, ropes and motorless boats all made in the village. All parts of the whale are consumed or traded with other islanders. Because of the historic links and primitive equipment used, this tradition is sanctioned by the United Nations. Lewoleba is the island’s capital, as well as a traditional fishing village. You can be sure the seafood is fresh, making it a good place to sample the local cuisine.

  • Gunungapi

    Towering above the other Bandar Islands, the uninhabited isle of Pulau Gunung Api is an active volcano that erupted as recently as 1988. Although it has a classic conical shape, the volcano’s caldera is actually mostly submerged off the island’s northwest coast. For two centuries, the Bandar Islands were exploited by the Dutch East Indies Company, as they were the world’s only source of nutmeg, but nowadays these verdant specks of land are better known as a diver’s mecca. Snorkel or dive the most recent lava flows to discover vividly hued sea squirts and a healthy coral reef that has expanded prodigiously since the 1988 eruption. East of the island, swim among leatherback turtles and witness the fascinating mating dance of the motley-colored mandarinfish. Birdwatchers and hikers will enjoy wandering the island or climbing the 2,150-foot peak, perhaps sighting red-tailed tropicbirds, great frigatebirds, red-footed boobies and other stately seabirds along the way. From the summit, revel in far-reaching views across the verdant Bandar Islands and the sparkling sea.

  • Banda Neira

    Banda Neira is one of the Moluccas (now Maluku), the fabled spice islands of yore, shrouded in lofty, aromatic Myristica trees, the source of nutmeg and mace, found exclusively here until the mid 19th century. Access to the spices was much prized and fought over by European explorers. Colonized first by the Portuguese and then the Dutch, the British agreed to withdraw from competition for the territory in exchange for one small island on the other side of the world – New Amsterdam, now known as Manhattan. Nutmeg groves are still there to be explored, and along with clove and cinnamon, the spice is readily available in the town market. These lush islands, an internationally recognized diving spot, are far off the beaten track and surrounded by a sparkling turquoise sea crowded with exquisite corals and alive with abundant ocean life. Relics from the days of the Dutch include a Protestant church, Government House, Fort Belica and the Banda Historical Museum. A stroll around the island allows for visits to small villages. Those looking for a challenge may attempt to climb Gunung Api, the volcano that provides a backdrop to the town.

  • Kokas

    Kokas is located in West Papua, the Indonesia half of the island that is shared with Papua New Guinea. It is a small town with an unusual array of sights to see. Explore the remains of tunnels constructed by the Japanese during WWII; they were expected to survive direct hits fired by U.S. battleships. Go by boat along the coast to view Papuan rock art, hematite petroglyphs of handprints and animal depictions in red ochre. The age of these artifacts is unknown, but they are surely many thousands of years old and remarkably similar to Aboriginal art in northern Australia. Also found scattered along the limestone rock face are stalactite caves and cliffside graves. As you venture deeper into the limestone labyrinth, you may encounter large areas of sea grass farms. Harvested, dried and sold to outlying towns and cities, it provides the local village with a reliable income. The grass is good for stabilizing coastlines, housing fish, serving as a source of food, protein and ingredients used in medicine. Some sea grass meadows naturally store large quantities of blue carbon and could possibly soak up more change-inducing CO2 than rainforests.

  • Fakfak (Mommon Bay)

    Your first and last impression of this land and seascape will be strikingly vivid color. The dense emerald jungle and turquoise seas as you wind your way around clusters of tiny islets are nothing compared with the psychedelic hues underwater. No need to dive deep – whale sharks, jellyfish and thousands of fish hovering over soft coral gardens are easily viewed by snorkelers. Indonesia has the world’s largest population of mangroves; their mudflats are not built up, so the water is crystal clear, allowing for lots of light penetrating to the bottom. The rainforest behind the mangroves is full of birdlife that also comes in brilliant hues – 380 endemic and a sizeable number of migratory species. In this remote and unspoiled destination, there is no sense of time but the sunrise and sunset. No distractions from the natural richness of life all around you, allowing you not only to look but to really see.

  • Triton Bay

    Triton Bay is sometimes referred to as the Kingdom of the Fishes. Massive schools of fish in every shape, size and color prowl these waters, along with sea creatures from the tiniest pygmy seahorses to enormous whale sharks. Dive sites vary: vibrant soft coral gardens, huge black coral bushes, massive boulders and sharp pinnacles. Most are accessible only from the sea, as sheer limestone cliffs line much of the coast, though it is punctuated by the proverbial idyllic white sand, palm-fringed beaches set on a jade green sea. First surveyed in 2006, the entire region is still being explored. This is also second largest rainforest in the world, drenched in luxuriant tropical plant life. There are ancient paintings adorning the walls of caves and welcoming villages to visit. If this isn’t paradise, it comes pretty close.

  • Thursday Island/Cape York

    Scattered off the northernmost point of Australia’s Cape York Peninsula, just under a hundred miles from Papua New Guinea, the beguiling Torres Strait Islands are truly off the beaten path. In the late 19th century, the archipelago was an important pearling destination, at its peak attracting over 200 ships seeking these iridescent treasures. You can view graves from the era at the tranquil Thursday Island Historic Cemetery, where pearl divers from around the world are represented. Stand on the ramparts of Green Hill Fort for far-reaching views of the surrounding islands and then descend into the tunnels and bunkers below, which house a fascinating museum detailing the area’s military history. For insight into the charismatic indigenous culture, visit the Gab Titui Cultural Centre and study traditional jewelry, carvings and ceremonial feathered headdresses as well as exhibits on the pearling industry. On such a small island, everyone knows each other and new faces are welcome, so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation at a pub deck overlooking the glittering sea.

  • Great Barrier Reef

    One of nature’s most extraordinary creations, the Great Barrier Reef is a 1,400-mile-long complex of more than 3,000 reef systems, the only living entity visible from space and a UNESCO World Heritage site for its immeasurable ecological value. With its sandy coral cays, aquamarine lagoons and paradisiacal islands, the view from the surface is glorious in itself, but it’s underwater that the real magic transpires. Hundreds of corals species layer one on top of the other, creating gorgeous natural sculptures in a riot of colors. Flitting among them, equally vivid tropical fish demand attention, including clownfish, angelfish, butterfly fish, damselfish and countless others. Six species of sea turtles also glide through these waters, gentle creatures you might encounter while exploring in diving or snorkeling gear. Visitors seeking a more relaxing experience can sightsee aboard a semi-submergible or on a glass bottom boat, but another terrific way to take in the area’s beauty is from an overhead flight, as the water is so alluringly translucent you can look right into the reefs. No matter how you choose to discover this natural wonder, you’ll come away inspired by the incomparably exquisite and fragile ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef.

  • Lizard Island

    Around the midpoint of the Great Barrier Reef’s vast expanse, Lizard Island manages to stand out in an area revered for its natural beauty. The largest of a cluster of small islands, it is a desirable destination for the established reef that encircles the archipelago’s central lagoon. Jump beneath the waves for an up-close experience with a teeming undersea world, where coral formations in every color, shape and size play host to innumerable marine creatures, including groupers, manta rays and countless schools of fish in myriad shades of neon. On land, climb to Cook’s Look, named after the celebrated 18th-century captain, and enjoy sweeping vistas over the island and lagoon, whose coloration ranges entrancingly from teal to electric blue. With 24 beaches to choose from, it’s easy to find your own secluded piece of heaven and lounge on the cotton-white sand, possibly visited by one of the island’s curious namesake yellow-spotted monitors. When evening comes, savor sophisticated cuisine at Salt Water Restaurant, which is housed in a luxurious resort and offers terrace dining with stunning sunset views.

  • Cairns

    Cairns is celebrated as a jumping off point for the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site whose technicolor treasures lie just a few miles offshore. There’s plenty to do on land as well, since the city is enveloped by pristine rainforest also protected by UNESCO. Ride the 1891 Kuranda Scenic Railway into the thick jungle, passing through dozens of tunnels and over dramatic bridges that span deep ravines. For exceptional views over the rainforest canopy, take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to Kuranda, a quaint mountain village and a perfect spot to pick up a memorable souvenir. Fly even higher in a hot air balloon over the breathtaking landscape of the Atherton Tablelands, pastoral countryside ringed by lush mountains. For a refreshing escape, hike to the Crystal Cascades and swim in natural pools fed by several waterfalls. A mesmerizing array of exotic plant life awaits at the Cairns Botanical Gardens and, at the Tjapukai Cultural Park, the Aboriginal creation mythos is told through traditional performances and high-tech displays. With shops staying open until 11 pm, the Cairns Night Markets are the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat while absorbing the city’s dynamic atmosphere.

  • Alotau

    Tucked into the shores of Milne Bay, the bustling port of Alotau hums with commercial vessels, fishing boats and hand-carved canoes coated in colorful symbols. Tour poignant sites where the 1942 Battle of Milne Bay played out, a crucial event that resulted in Japan’s first defeat at the hands of Australian and Allied forces. At an acclaimed cultural center, witness an exuberant performance that showcases Papuan traditional attire as well as Kundu drums, hourglass-shaped instruments that are typically ornately adorned. The Massim Museum & Cultural Center enlightens with displays of intricate wood carvings, eye-catching canoe art, local photography and many other fascinating artifacts. Head out of town for a true taste of Papuan life, pausing at charming fishing villages where traditional items such as grass skirts and woven baskets are crafted using time-honored methods. The area’s main attraction, however, lies beneath the sea, as Papua New Guinea is part of the Coral Triangle, an area blessed with nearly 600 species of coral and over 2,000 varieties of reef fish, a diver and snorkeler’s dream.

  • Trobriand Islands (Kitava)

    On Kitava, you might discover that modern isn’t necessarily best, as the islanders are renowned for their imperviousness to Western diseases, perhaps because of their healthy traditional diet of fish, yams, fresh fruit and coconuts. Upon arrival, you might be greeted by a rousing folkloric performance featuring villagers in colorfully dyed grass skirts and signature red headbands adorned with pretty feathers and flowers. Browse vividly hued sarongs, wood carvings and other handcrafted goods displayed beachside, testament to the finely tuned artistic sensibilities of the locals. Ringed by a nearly unbroken length of flour-white beaches, idyllic Kitava boasts excellent opportunities for snorkeling, particularly around the nearby uninhabited islet of Uratu. Make your way to the lookout at King Cameron’s Grave, where the only white man ever to reside on the island is interred, an intriguing Tasmanian who settled among the Kitavan people in the early 20th century. As you gaze over an expanse of dense jungle and delft-blue sea, sip on the island’s delicious coconut water, a pure and revitalizing refreshment that will imbue you with Kitava’s sense of wellbeing.

  • Louisiade Islands

    You may have never heard of the remote Louisiade Islands, but after your visit you’ll always recall their spectacular beauty. A lengthy archipelago of almost 100 tropical islands, many are but specks on the map picturesquely blanketed in copious vegetation and fringed with teeming reefs. As you weave among pristine islets and coral atolls nearly unbothered by the march of progress, friendly locals paddle out in dugout canoes to greet you. Occasional evidence of WWII reveals itself, such as the exceptionally preserved wreck of a Japanese Zero fighter that lingers beneath the waves. Once underwater, you’ll discover a vibrant wonderland of coral formations in every conceivable shape and color. Countless varieties of tropical fish dart about, contributing to the entrancing kaleidoscopic effect, and larger pelagic species such as elegant manta rays may swim past. During your sailing among the spellbinding Louisiades, you’ll come across beaches endowed with soft, sun-bleached sand, transparent water and no one else besides your traveling companions, a genuine retreat from the world beyond.

  • Samarai Island

    You’ll be intrigued to learn that pretty but minuscule Samarai Island was once a strategic port due to its advantageous location along the trade route between Australia and East Asia, but it was completely razed by the British in WWII to discourage Japanese occupation. Today, the cozy harbor sees more limited activity with rubber, coffee, cocoa and copra, a valuable dried coconut product, still shipped from here to other Papuan destinations. You’ll admire the locally harvested pearls, which come in a dazzling variety of shapes from perfectly round to enchantingly baroque as well as in varying hues, including a coveted golden tint. A short walk across the island brings you to a blissful beach dotted with fishing boats, a terrific place to relax or take a refreshing dip in the water. Don your diving or snorkeling gear and look beneath the surface, where a thriving reef is home to brightly colored fish swimming among gorgeous corals. It’s easy to explore the compact island, and no matter where you wander you’ll be greeted by smiling locals eager to share their unique way of life in this frangipani-scented patch of land.

  • Ghizo & Narji Island

    The resplendent island of Ghizo is almost entirely blanketed in a carpet of emerald tropical forest interrupted only by the occasional homestead and the small but buoyant capital of Gizo, spelled differently but pronounced the same. You’ll find the friendly locals are eager to display their meticulously crafted souvenirs, which include woven mats, baskets and bags made from natural materials. The extraordinary snorkeling and diving sites just off the coast, however, are what attract discerning travelers from around the world. Off the western shore of Ghizo, the minuscule islet of Njari sits at the edge of a lagoon bursting with breathtaking marine life. Jump into the sea and immediately encounter a dazzling underwater realm of multi-hued coral formations and the tropical fish that rely on them for shelter. Anemone fish, trevally, lionfish, batfish, eagle rays, barracuda, moray eels and sea turtles are just some of the fascinating denizens you may encounter. With a record 270 species spotted in a single dive, you’ll likely lose count of the arresting creatures gliding through these sapphire waters.

  • Marovo Lagoon

    The stunning Marovo Lagoon is the largest double-barrier enclosed lagoon environment in the world, formed by two parallel chains of barrier islands to the north and east and the three volcanic islands of Nggatokae, Vangunu and New Georgia to the south and west. Because of this geographic stroke of luck, the waters are exceptionally calm and crystalline, thus providing some of the world’s best diving and snorkeling conditions. An extremely high degree of coral diversity can be found here as well as an astonishing variety of tropical fish, whose species number in the hundreds. Dozens of uninhabited spits of land swathed in lush vegetation offer great jumping off points for undersea exploration, where tropical fish in a rainbow of colors flit among striking cuttlefish, sea turtles, manta rays and many other pelagic species. One of the area’s major draws are its sharks, which are notoriously docile and offer the adventurous soul the swim of a lifetime. If relaxation is your cup of tea, simply weave in and out of the alluring mangroves aboard a kayak or seek tranquility amid a grove of swaying coconut palms.

  • Honiara

    Delve into absorbing WWII history at Honiara, lively capital of Guadalcanal Island and setting of brutal but decisive battles between Japan and the United States. In a series of clashes that raged on land and sea from August 7, 1942 to February 9, 1943 the tide of war inexorably turned in the Allies’ favor as Japan lost one of its most strategic airfields. Visit important battle sites including Henderson Field and Edson’s Ridge, where sobering memorials honor the many lives lost. In the Vilu War Museum, study a remarkable collection of military artifacts salvaged from the jungle, including ghostly remains of American and Japanese aircraft. Beyond war history, Honiara is awash in natural delights, including a 60-foot waterfall nestled in the gorgeous rainforest. During your lovely hike through the verdant jungle, keep your eyes peeled for the island’s over 200 species of birds. Divers and snorkelers flock to the island’s coasts, lured by see-through waters overflowing with colorful marine life as well as the incredible wrecks of fighter planes, bombers and even battleships. No matter if you’re seeking historic or natural treasures, you’ll find plenty to appreciate in enthralling Honiara.

  • Santa Ana

    Rising off the southeastern coast of much larger San Cristobal Island, petite Santa Ana offers an authentic glimpse of Melanesian life. As you approach its pristine shores, you may be startled by the sudden appearance of fierce-looking warriors waving machetes and spears, who rush from the tree line in full battle regalia. As it turns out, this showy display is pure pageantry, and the warriors quickly lay down arms ready to welcome your friendly party. During an energetic folkloric performance, you’ll enjoy the sight of dancers colorfully attired in local vegetation and accompanied by drums and pan flutes. An invigorating stroll across the island brings you to a smaller village where the revered remains of elders are kept in a so-called Spirit House. In the simple thatched building, you’ll see burial vessels carved into the shapes of canoes and fish surrounded by offering bowls, a truly stirring tableau. Take a dip in a landlocked, fresh-water lake surrounded by a lush forests or put on your snorkeling gear for exploration of the island’s outer reef, an untouched realm brimming with enchanting sea creatures.

  • Utupua

    Surrounded by a nearly unbroken ring of reefs, rarely visited Utupua has been favorably compared with better-known Bora Bora for its marvelous turquoise lagoon. The small but mountainous island is nearly sliced in half by two east-west channels, in which a tangled mangrove rich in biodiversity offers beguiling opportunities for discovery, including a possible sighting of saltwater crocodiles. In Nembao village, delight in the tidily planted flower gardens that surround raised thatched roof huts and observe locals carving canoes entirely by hand. You’ll find the villagers are welcoming to outsiders and have attired themselves for the special occasion in traditional garb, which is mostly fashioned from plant material found on the island, including fanciful headdresses crafted from vines, flowers and knotted grasses. The underwater residents of the lagoon are just as fascinating, swimming in invitingly clear waters that provide exceptional snorkeling and diving. On Utupua, so far from the bustle of civilization, life’s simple pleasures fill the days of this gorgeous and unhurried land.

  • Tikopia

    Despite being firmly located within the Melanesian region, Tikopia was colonized by Polynesians several centuries ago, giving the isolated island its own distinct character among the Solomons. Locals are proud of their heritage and maintain many of their ancestors’ customs, which you may witness during a lively welcome performance in traditional garb. A mere three miles long, Tikopia was formed by an extinct volcano, whose crater is now filled by a stunning freshwater lagoon surrounded by verdantly canopied mountains. An invigorating hike to the lagoon will take you through densely planted papaya and cassava groves, along with fish an important part of the island’s self-subsistence diet. Despite having a small population of only around 1,200, Tikopia boasts many skilled artisans whose handmade wares you can browse along the beach. The wood carvings are particularly impressive, including models of seagoing canoes and ornately designed decorative daggers. You’ll marvel at the thatched homes, built very low to the ground as defense against cyclonic weather, causing those entering and exiting to do so on hands and knees. As you stroll about this unspoiled utopia, kindly villagers all around, you’ll be made to feel an honored guest by children and adults alike.

  • Lautoka

    The dynamic city of Lautoka is the main hub for Fiji’s sugarcane industry, which in the early 20th century attracted a significant number of Indian immigrants and endowed the region with a distinct ethnic character. A terrific example is the highly ornate 1926 Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest Hindu temple and a highly photogenic cacophony of vivid colors. You’ll be enchanted by the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, where actor Raymond Burr of Perry Mason fame gathered over 2,000 varieties of orchids. Inhale the fragrant air as you stroll on a canopied boardwalk past bubbling fountains and lily ponds where exotic frogs sun themselves. The Koroyanitu National Heritage Park provides excellent hiking, with paths guiding you through a luxuriantly green rainforest on the way to a splashing waterfall. At the Sabeto Hot Springs, which locals believe have therapeutic properties, sink into a mud bath packed with revitalizing minerals or into warm waters rich in sulfur. The Sabeto Village Cultural Exhibition will immerse you into the fascinating local customs, including a welcome kava ceremony. Sip from this earthy beverage, the national drink of Fiji, while watching a rousing performance of traditional song and dance.

  • Mbengga Island

    Just to the south of the much larger Fijian island of Viti Levu, easygoing Mbengga is nearly completely surrounded by a thriving coral reef that draws divers and snorkelers from every corner of the globe. The translucent waters of its blue-green lagoon are home to a glorious variety of hard and soft corals inhabited by tropical fish in every imaginable hue. Swim past serene sea turtles and, further out in the reef, eagle rays, manta rays and even migrating humpback whales, all humbling in their grandeur. At the Cathedral dive site, check another one off the bucket list as you descend into the depths for an exhilarating but safe encounter with sharks. You might see nine awe-inspiring species, including tiger sharks up to 18 feet long. After drying off on land, visit a village of the Sawau tribe, where you can absorb the enthralling local way of life and witness the incredible display of Fijian fire walking, believed to have originated here on Mbengga. You’ll be spellbound by the sight of warriors in full regalia stepping onto burning embers, miraculously impervious to the scalding heat.

  • Port Vila

    In charismatic Port Vila, capital of Vanuatu, you’ll find the welcoming locals always have a ready smile for visitors. Browse an enticing selection of wares at the Port Vila Market, where vibrant agricultural products are sold beside handcrafted mementos. Just outside of town, Ekasup Cultural Village provides insight into the island’s time-honored Melanesian traditions, showcasing fascinating native attire and ancient skills such as medicine making, basket weaving and food preparation. Under the waves at Hideaway Island, discover the world’s only submerged post office, from where you can actually mail a waterproof postcard. Marvel at the Mele Cascades, a stunning sequence of terraced falls that culminate in a 115-foot-tall rush of water beneath which lies a tranquil and refreshing natural pool. Even more aquatic fun awaits at the Blue Lagoon, a striking emerald lake with diving platforms and ropes that allow for delightful leaps into the water. For the ultimate sightseeing experience, hop into a helicopter for a flight over the barren, lava-filled calderas of neighboring Ambrym Island, a dramatic contrast to leafy and serene Port Vila.

  • Ambrym

    Experience our planet at its most primordial on Ambrym, site of three active volcanic craters filled with boiling lakes of lava. If you crave adventure, trek through the lush jungle to either the Benbow or Marun vents, peering over the crater’s edge for a glimpse at nature’s awesome power, and those comfortable with rope climbing can descend even closer to the fiery maws. For visitors seeking a more relaxing pastime, the volcanic activity has fringed the island with entrancing black sand beaches into which hot springs flow, allowing for swimming and snorkeling in comfortably warm waters. The island’s history of frequent eruptions likely informed the local customs, which are highly enigmatic and rooted in black magic. In the village of Fanla, discover remarkable carved totems and watch a traditional Rom dance, performed by islanders completely cloaked in the dried leaves of banana trees and crowned by a colorful mask adorned with feathers, an utterly mesmerizing visual spectacle. In the village of Endu, observe master wood carvers crafting idols and masks, and if the timing is right accept a privileged invitation to partake in a ceremonial pig roast.

  • Espiritu Santo

    Thanks to its use by American forces as a WWII military staging point, the gorgeous island of Espiritu Santo inspired James A. Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific and its beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein musical version, South Pacific. Once you witness the island’s sublime, dazzlingly white beaches lapped by crystal-clear water, you’ll also be singing its praises. Divers and snorkelers rejoice, as the U.S. cast numerous tanks, jeeps, artillery guns and curios like vintage Coca-Cola bottles into the sea. The decades have covered the discarded equipment in coral, forming one of the world’s most alluring spots for underwater exploration. Experienced divers can go deeper and roam the intriguing carcass of the SS Coolidge, a transport ship felled by mines. Inland, kayak to pristine fresh-water ponds known as blue holes, with azure water so impossibly clear it almost feels as if you’re looking through glass. If you’re up for it, an invigorating trek through the verdant jungle takes you over moss-covered boulders and past roaring waterfalls to the magnificent Millennium Cave, a narrow grotto with soaring rock walls. Share stimulating kava with an islander at the Leweton Custom & Cultural Village, where traditional performances keep the island’s captivating heritage alive.

  • Isle of Pines

    When Captain Cook sailed past in 1774, he didn’t land on this island but did name it after the tall, lanky pines that rise above the jungle canopy, a unique species called araucaria columnaris. The towering trees can be seen everywhere on the gorgeous isle, wrapped around beaches with dove-white sand and transparent water. The snorkeling is superb, as New Caledonia boasts the largest reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef, and swimming at the Oro Natural Pool is a special treat, with aquamarine water that is completely still and clear. Hike to the summit of Pic N’Ga, an 860-foot-tall mountain that offers sweeping views of the entire island and the shimmering lagoons surrounding it, or follow a trail to Queen Hortense’s Cave, a natural wonder draped in enormous stalactites and lush ferns. Legend tells of a princess that was hidden here for a few months because some tribes wouldn’t accept she was to be their queen, and once you visit the idyllic setting you might agree it is fit for royalty. From its stately trees to its underground marvels, the Isle of Pines rightfully earns its nickname as “the closest island to Paradise.”

  • Norfolk Island

    At one time an overseas prison of the British Crown, Norfolk Island still holds the captivating 18th and 19th-century remains of its infamous penal colony, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The small landmass, almost entirely surrounded by picturesque cliff faces, would have been nearly impossible to escape, not to mention that its closest Pacific neighbors are hundreds of miles away. Its isolation contributed to the appearance of flora and fauna not found anywhere else, particularly the elegant Norfolk Island Pine, a popular export for its symmetrical conical shape reminiscent of a Christmas tree. Strolling through Norfolk Island National Park, you’ll find other intriguing native species such as the smooth tree fern and the Norfolk Island palm. While looking for fabulous birds including the Norfolk red-crowned parakeet, the Norfolk scarlet robin and the slender-billed white-eye, pause at cliffside lookouts that offer marvelous panoramas of the rugged coast and pounding surf. A couple of scenic beaches dot the shoreline, with a healthy reef providing superlative snorkeling. Visit The Hili Goat cheese factory and shop for a delectable array of dairy products and always remember that on Norfolk Island the cows have the right of way.

  • Russell, Bay of Islands

    Far up in the northern reaches of New Zealand, a stunning archipelago captures the heart of every visitor that reaches its splendid shores. Strewn about like emeralds on the glistening sea, 144 sparkling islands provide unlimited opportunities for exploration both on land and water. On marvelous Urupukapuka Island, meander over grassy knolls and through thick forests in search of the region’s native birds, and on idyllic Moturua Island relax on your choice of several unspoiled crescent beaches. While cruising about, keep your eyes peeled for sightings of whales and dolphins. Divers will want to explore the arches, tunnels and grottos of the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, recommended by Jacques Cousteau himself, while kayakers can glide along the Waitangi River to the base of the shimmering Haruru Falls. The Waitangi Treaty Grounds bring history to life, as a momentous pact between the Maori and the British Crown was signed at this spot in 1840. In placid Russell, New Zealand’s first European settlement and a quaint town once known as “the hellhole of the Pacific” for its abundance of unruly sailors on shore leave, walk along inviting, tree-lined streets and have a look at the tempting offerings in the town’s charming shops and cafes.

  • Auckland

    Enveloped around a glittering protected bay, New Zealand’s largest city is blessed with a natural setting as spectacular as its skyline. Superb cultural institutions are sprinkled throughout, including the illuminating New Zealand Maritime Museum Hui Te Ananui A Tangaroa, which traces the maritime history of Auckland from its first Polynesian settlers to recent yacht racing victories. Visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum, housed in an imposing neoclassical structure, and study invaluable national treasures including an extensive collection of Maori artifacts. From the summit of Mount Eden, Maungawhau in Maori, absorb panoramas of the city and bay while standing on the rim of an extinct crater. Nearby islands also warrant exploration, including the dormant volcanic cone of Rangitoto Island, now covered in a lush forest, and Tiritiri Matangi Island, a wildlife sanctuary where threatened species of birds and reptiles thrive. On the country’s west coast, just a few miles away, alluring black-sand Piha Beach fascinates with striking volcanic formations such as commanding Lion Rock. Rise above it all at Auckland’s soaring Sky Tower, where you can take in 360-degree views of the city and watch thrill-seekers leap off on bungee cords.

  • White Island

    Known as Te Puia o Whakaari by the Maori, which translates as “The Dramatic Volcano,” the crater of White Island has been continuously active at least since it was first documented by Captain Cook on October 1, 1769. Its name may refer to the plumes of smoke emanating from multiple vents, or perhaps to the guano that once covered large swaths of the island, but in reality the dominant hues of this restive giant are earthy. When you get closer, however, you’ll quickly notice the acidic mustards, oranges and ochres of the sulfur that seeps out from beneath the surface. Donning hard hats and gas masks, step into the wide crater and walk across a landscape ripped from the latest sci-fi film. Gaze in awe at boiling mud pits, scalding streams and geothermal steam vents that endlessly cough up smoke, and wonder at a murky chartreuse lake with water as corrosive as battery acid. Discover the ghostly remains of a sulfur mining operation, abandoned since 1914 and a transfixing reminder that mankind doesn’t always have dominion over nature.

  • Napier

    Almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1931, Napier was rebuilt during the art deco movement and today boasts one of the world’s best-preserved districts in this iconic style. Take a guided tour or simply stroll on your own past enchanting buildings that evoke the great ocean liners of the early 20th century. The city wraps around a dramatic rocky bluff that juts out to sea, with lookouts offering far-reaching views over the town and its radiant bay. In the National Aquarium of New Zealand, feel as if you’re walking along the bottom of the sea at the Oceanarium, a nearly 400,000-gallon tank that features a see-through tunnel. Experience an ancient Maori settlement at the Otatara Pa Historic Reserve, where remains of traditional dwellings, archaeological finds and age-old fortifications impart fascinating insight into New Zealand’s early inhabitants. Just a few miles outside of town, a staggering 71 vineyards are accessible by road and also by bike trails, allowing for a day of exploration in the bucolic countryside punctuated with stops at celebrated wineries that specialize in the region’s luscious syrahs and chardonnays.

  • Wellington

    Wellington may just be one of the world’s most accessible capital cities, with many of its enthralling attractions easily reachable on foot. The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa will enrich your understanding of this beautiful country and its intriguing Maori heritage. At the city’s exceptional Botanic Garden, roam through nearly 65 acres of native landscapes, formal gardens and a fabulous collection of 3,000 roses. Experience an even deeper connection with nature at Zealandia, a protected ecosystem that aims to turn back the clock to a time before humans colonized the area, providing sanctuary to endangered and rare species such as the little spotted kiwi and the tuatara lizard. Enjoy sweeping views of the city from the lookout atop Mount Victoria or from the hillside district of Kelburn, reachable via the historic Wellington Cable Car, a memorable ride in itself. A bit further north, the charming town of Martinborough is known for its excellent wineries, which specialize in fruity yet balanced pinot noirs. Mix with the locals on the pedestrian-friendly Wellington Waterfront or on bohemian Cuba Street, an eclectic assortment of coffee shops, galleries, restaurants and quirky art installations, a lively gathering place for locals and visitors both day and night.

  • Picton

    Sail into the breathtaking Marlborough Sounds, irregular mountainous valleys that were overtaken by the sea around 10,000 years ago, and alight in the wonderful port of Picton. Nestled in a snug bay hugged by tree-covered peaks, this breezy town is set in one of the most picturesque locations in New Zealand. Kayak along the stunning coastline, weaving in and out of cozy bays lined with dense vegetation, perhaps catching sight of playful dolphins and orcas skimming past. The underwater wreck of the Russian cruise ship MS Mikhail Lermontov, which sank in 1986, provides the unique opportunity to dive into the remains of a modern vessel. Bike or trek a portion of the outstanding Queen Charlotte Track, a 44-mile path that winds through temperate rainforests and rewards hikers with spectacular views of the surrounding waterways. Aircraft enthusiasts will appreciate the Omaka Aviation Heritage Center, an incredible collection of WWI and WWII aircraft owned by acclaimed director Peter Jackson, best known for his Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Of course, no visit to the Marlborough region is complete without experiencing its world-class sauvignon blanc, which you can sample during an enjoyable tour of a celebrated winery.

  • Kaikoura

    Where New Zealand’s snow-capped Southern Alps come to meet the Pacific Ocean, nature has conspired to bring about something truly magical. Colossal sperm whales ply these waters year-round, and humpback, blue, pilot and southern right wales pass by seasonally, a glorious spectacle almost on perpetual display. Spirited dolphins are also permanent residents, happy to interact with you during a snorkeling excursion. Take a scenic walk along the spectacular Kaikoura Peninsula and meet a thriving colony of fur seals, whose pups enchant with their large, inquisitive eyes. On a verdant meadow beside the windswept shoreline, the 19th-century Fyffe House is a remarkable reminder of austere times, when scarcity of materials led the builders to creatively use whalebones for the foundations. At the Lavendyl Lavender Farm, wander through softly-hued fields and discover how this delicate plant is distilled into essential oils, skin creams, hair products, honey and other fragrant creations, which you can browse in a quaint cottage. When you’ve built up your appetite, seek out some local crayfish, as spiny lobster is called here, a local delicacy that is expertly prepared in Kaikoura. No matter where your explorations take you, the majestic mountains will be your faithful companion, an inspiring panorama to cherish forever.

  • Akaroa

    As you float into sparkling Akaroa Harbour, the gentle mountains of the Banks Peninsula rising from every shore, keep your eyes trained on the water for Hector’s dolphins, which are distinguished by their unusual rounded dorsal fin. The enchanting village of Akaroa is hidden in a quiet bay, which belies the fact that a mighty volcano stood here millions of years ago. As New Zealand’s only historic French settlement, Akaroa has a unique atmosphere and a captivating heritage best experienced with a knowledgeable guide dressed in period attire. Explore the hills and valleys of the Misty Peak Reserve, where you’ll be regaled with a picturesque waterfall and sublime views that stretch for miles. Opportunities to view wildlife abound, including visits to a fur seal colony as well as encounters with endearing white-flippered penguins and little blue penguins. After an invigorating kayak adventure skirting the unspoiled coastline, you can indulge in the sophisticated pinots and chardonnays of the French Peak Wines vineyard and the creamy, handcrafted delicacies of Barrys Bay Cheese.

  • Dunedin

    Arriving to Dunedin by sea is a delight, as your ship courses through a beautiful, 15-mile-long narrow bay known as Otago Harbour. Encircling the bay’s western end, historic Dunedin is flecked with a multitude of gracious buildings that harken back to its glory days in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Tour the 1907 Olveston House, an elegant Jacobean-style manor with 35 period-furnished rooms, or the magnificent 1874 Larnach Castle, a crenellated estate surrounded by superlative gardens. The elaborate Dunedin Railway Station, a feast for the eyes, is referred to as the Gingerbread House for its delightful Renaissance Revival flourishes. Get up close to the region’s enthralling wildlife at the Royal Albatross Centre and at Penguin Place, where the endangered yellow-eyed penguin is sheltered on conservation lands. Aboard the Taieri Gorge Railway, relax in a vintage train car as you wind through a breathtaking backdrop of rushing rivers, plunging valleys, mountain tunnels and countless bridges, including the 1887 Wingatui Viaduct, one of the world’s largest wrought iron structures. Back in town, book a street art tour and marvel at the creativity of artists that turn undistinguished walls into fantastic murals several stories high.

  • Oban, Stewart Island

    Oban is the main settlement on sparsely inhabited Stewart Island, which despite being New Zealand’s third largest island is only about 45 miles long. The town’s setting couldn’t be more picturesque, a bay ringed by several sandy inlets separated by tree-covered headlands. You can spend a marvelous day wandering from beach to beach along the Rakiura Track, one of New Zealand’s extraordinary Great Walks, perhaps delving into the lush national park that occupies four fifths of the island. Many visitors come to Stewart Island with the explicit goal of encountering the country’s national bird, the elusive kiwi. Best seen early in the morning or at twilight, you’ll increase your chances of a sighting on Ulva Island, a wildlife sanctuary where you can also observe other gorgeous avian specimens including South Island saddlebacks, mohuas, kakarikis, albatross and even penguins. For a unique experience, book a coveted spot for a workshop with the master jeweler at Rakiura Jade and relish an opportunity to carve your very own pendant out of greenstone, considered an invaluable treasure by the Maori.

  • Christchurch (Lyttleton)

    Struck by an earthquake in 2011, the vibrant city of Christchurch has bounced back more energized than ever. You’ll drop anchor in the adjacent port of Lyttelton, a bohemian town with a lively arts scene and charming hillside homes. Ascend the gondola to Mount Cavendish for a terrific panorama of both Christchurch and Lyttelton as well as a stunning coastal landscape of precipitous cliffs and pebbly bays. While in the Port Hills, take advantage of numerous trails leading to overlooks including Godley Head, site of a WWII battery. In the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, a beloved city landmark since 1863, walk through exquisite grounds showcasing colorful flowers, native trees and glass conservatories. Glide over the Avon River on a boat guided by a punter in Edwardian attire, a wonderful conveyance in which to absorb the bucolic scenery. At the Riccarton House, immerse yourself further in the graceful Edwardian and Victorian eras while touring a sumptuous estate and its grounds. Back in Lyttelton, visit the Timeball Station, a castle-like building designed to keep Greenwich Mean Time that was destroyed by the earthquake and recently rebuilt, a testament to the inspiring tenacity of the Kiwis.

  • Nelson

    Settled in 1841 by the British New Zealand Company, early colonists named the burgeoning city after revered war hero Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson. Over time, Nelson has acquired an offbeat artistic vibe, which culminates in the yearly Wearable Art Festival. See the best of these extravagant costumes at the World of Wearable Art & Classic Cars Museum, which also displays superb examples of vintage automobiles. The city is peppered with serene green spaces, from the enchanting footbridges and sculptures of the Queen’s Gardens to the charming bonsai and shrines of the Miyazu Japanese Gardens. Tahunanui Beach is a wide stretch of soft sand ideal for swimming, strolling and enjoying lovely views of the expansive bay. Grab a paddle and kayak to Nelson Haven, a tranquil bay protected by a narrow spit of rocky land punctuated with a picturesque lighthouse. A bit to the north, the Abel Tasman National Park Coast Track leads hikers through the rainforest and past crescent coves at the foot of richly wooded hills. If you choose to stay in town, a plethora of appealing shops, boutiques and cafes fill the storefronts, including cheerful pubs serving the region’s much touted craft beers.

  • Dusky Sound

    Split into multiple channels by dozens of lushly forested islands, Dusky Sound offers a sublime array of vistas around every turn in the waterway. Part of New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the sound’s wide mouth narrows as you navigate further inland, with majestic, snow-tipped mountains closing in on either side. Careening off sheer cliffs, roaring waterfalls, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, spill countless gallons into the inky fjord. Approach the shoreline in a kayak, perhaps discovering a bounty of delicious mussels or a waddling colony of fur seals. Dusky Sound is a remote, rarely visited section of the national park, making it a superb environment for the region’s wildlife to flourish in pristine conditions. Among the striking native birds, you might see South Island saddlebacks, mohuas and the delightful Fiordland crested penguin, with twin yellow stripes atop its head. Astounding creatures such as humpback and southern right wales swim through these waters, often accompanied by bottlenose dolphins. As you explore this ravishing realm, you’ll soon find yourself becoming one with nature.

  • Milford Sound

    When Rudyard Kipling navigated this breathtaking fjord in 1891, he declared it “the eighth wonder of the world.” Such a well-travelled man would surely know, and you’ll likely find yourself heartily agreeing. In Maori, this UNESCO World Heritage-listed region is known as Te Wahipounamu, which translates to the place of greenstone, although the vivid greens are mostly provided by the lush forests blanketing the granite peaks. These majestic mountains, which closely hug the sound, rise dramatically at steep angles and are frequently capped with virgin snow. Plunging waterfalls add to the spectacular panorama, with Lady Bowen Falls cascading 532 feet into the indigo waters below. Look to the sound’s surface for the appearance of fur seals, bottlenose dolphins, southern right whales and humpback whales, awe-inspiring creatures that thrive in this nutrient-rich environment. In the incredible Milford Sound Underwater Observatory, stay dry while viewing a teeming subaquatic world 33 feet beneath the surface. Hop into a kayak for an up-close exploration of the rocky shoreline and come across nesting grounds of the Fiordland crested penguin, whose vibrant blond crests are another fabulous highlight of stunningly beautiful Milford Sound.

  • Hobart, Tasmania

    Like many of Australia’s oldest cities, Hobart originated as a penal colony, but today is the country’s gateway to Antarctica because of its advantageous position in southern Tasmania. The city’s rich heritage is on full display at the elegant 1830s sandstone buildings of Salamanca Place, a bustling gathering place brimming with cafes, boutiques and galleries. Immerse yourself further in history at Port Arthur, a UNESCO World Heritage site for its remarkably preserved 19th-century convict facilities, including a penitentiary, hospital and church. Ascend 4,200-foot-tall Mount Wellington on foot, bike or horseback for incredible views over the surrounding landscape and see Tasmania’s unique creatures in the wild, or interact with koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and Tasmanian devils at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. At the thought-provoking Museum of Old and New Art, engage your artistic sensibilities as you study acclaimed, cutting edge exhibits, and see a more genteel side of Hobart among the historic homes of the Battery Point district. Round out your perfect day with a taste of Tasmanian beer at the Cascade Brewery Company, which is housed in a stunning 1824 building and has the distinction of being Australia’s oldest operating brewery.

  • Wineglass Bay

    The curiously shaped Freycinet Peninsula, which zigs and zags its way south, is a geographic treasure trove of picture-perfect settings. Even in this preternaturally beautiful place, Wineglass Bay stands out with its perfect sandy crescent and waters that gently transition from surfside teal to deep sapphire. Rising on each side, boulder-strewn pink granite mountains provide a glorious backdrop and outstanding opportunities for exploration. Just to the north, the five peaks known as The Hazards can be hiked along a loop that takes you past postcard-ready lookouts over the bay. During your wanderings, you might catch sight of the peninsula’s abundant wildlife, with includes wallabies, wombats, quolls and Tasmanian devils. It might be difficult to pull yourself away from the beach itself, however, as it is consistently rated among the top ten in the world. Dig your toes into the sugar-white sand, float in the crystalline water or just take in the miraculous panorama. If you crave civilization, a scenic walk brings you to the Freycinet Lodge, where you can sit on a terrace with views over Coles Bay and sip on – need we say it? – a glass of wine.

  • Flinders Island

    Hovering just off the north coast of Tasmania, Flinders Island is the largest landmass in the Furneaux Archipelago, a sparsely inhabited place once primarily occupied by fur seals. The picturesque granite peaks of the Darling Range slice the sky, offering terrific hiking opportunities through aromatic eucalyptus forests. Mount Strzelecki presents the biggest challenge but the greatest reward, with sweeping views of the entire island and even a glimpse of Tasmania on the clearest days. In the Patriarchs Wildlife Sanctuary, catch sight of quintessentially Australian creatures such as wallabies and wombats, and perhaps help to feed their young. Uncover the island’s turbulent history at the Furneaux Museum, where highlights include artifacts recovered from shipwrecks, and at the Wybalenna Chapel, final resting site of the island’s Aborigines. Gather faux diamonds, in fact translucent topaz, during a stroll on marvelous Killiecrankie Bay, and dip your toes into the water at any of dozens of beaches, where the only footsteps in the sand are likely to be your own. Walk to the edge of Trousers Point and admire the massive boulders, many of which are highlighted by bright-orange lichen. On spellbinding Flinders Island, feeling like the last person on Earth has never seemed so wonderful.

  • Sydney

    Glide into Sydney past the iconic silhouette of the Opera House, a bravura architectural statement recognizable the world over. If you can’t catch a performance in this UNESCO World Heritage site, take a tour of the equally astonishing interior. Soak up the sun on see-and-be-seen Bondi Beach and stroll along the Coogee Coastal Walk past several cozy beaches and rugged coastal scenery. At the venerable Royal Botanic Gardens, founded in 1816, delight in a dazzling variety of vegetation with the glittering harbor as a backdrop. Stroll along cobblestone lanes at The Rocks, Sydney’s first neighborhood and a wonderful assortment of historic buildings transformed into galleries, shops and bistros. Shed light on Australia’s origins as a penal colony at two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the enlightening Hyde Parks Barracks Museum and Cockatoo Island, which is reachable via vista-filled ferry ride. For a remarkable window into life in the 1830s, wander the house and gardens of the Elizabeth Farm, the country’s oldest homestead. Soar like a bird over the city on a seaplane tour or perch like one atop the Tower Eye, the highest observation platform in Sydney. At Circular Quay, sate your appetite at one of the world-class restaurants housed in this culinary hub while enjoying magnificent harbor views.


Suites & Staterooms

Heyerdahl Suite

From: $ 174,999*

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Eriksson Suite

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Amundsen Suite

From: $ 132,999*

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Sverdrup Suite

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Archer Suite

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Nansen Suite

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Adventurer Suite Deck 7

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Journey Suite Deck 7

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Journey Suite Deck 6

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Journey Suite Deck 5

From: $ 77,999*

Discovery Suite Oceanview

From: $ 64,999*

*Government, Port, Document Issuance, Handling & Service fees: $3680 per guest



Please Note: Fares are capacity controlled and may change without notice. The fares are per person based on double occupancy. Single and third person rates are also available. SeaDream Yacht Club strongly recommends that all guests purchase travel insurance.


Yachting Land Adventures & Activities

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Testimonials

This was our 3rd voyage with SeaDream – and we think the best one. We'll be back. Mr & Mrs Halvor StenstadvoldOslo, Norway
Cuisine always delicious & freshly prepared – nothing too much trouble. Mrs Fiona LincolnCardiff, Great Britain