A Passage to the Solomons (Cairns to Honiara)


  • 12 Days
  • Coral Discoverer

Cruise Itinerary

  • Cairns (Australia)
  • Honiara (Solomon Islands)
  • Melanesia


This voyage uncovers the pristine wildlife, fascinating cultures, and remote coral atolls and beaches of the idyllic Melanesia region. The expedition will also commemorate the 75th Anniversary of WWII with time to explore the wrecks and remnants of the war in the Pacific theatre, and expert guides on hand to discuss the various battle sites, historical significance and strategies. Travelling aboard the Coral Discoverer, depart from Cairns, Australia and journey to key stops in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. This 11-night expedition from Cairns to Honiara can be combined with the adjoining 11-night Honiara to Port Vila voyage for a fully immersive 22 night trip.



Located close to the Dining Room, our six spacious Main Deck (Category B) staterooms are 18sqm (195 square feet) in size and feature twin portholes for expansive ocean views, along with a desk, sofa, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.


Located close to the Dining Room, our six spacious Main Deck (Category A) staterooms are 18sqm (195 square feet) in size and feature large, twin porthole windows for expansive ocean views, along with a desk, sofa, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.


Encircled by a full-ship promenade, our twenty spacious Promenade Deck (Category A) staterooms are 18sqm (195 square feet) in size and feature picture windows for expansive ocean views, along with a sofa, desk, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.


Located on the exclusive Bridge Deck close to the Lounge and Bridge, our five spacious Bridge Deck Balcony staterooms are 18sqm (195 square feet) in size and feature private balconies opening out from french windows providing comfortable indoor outdoor living, along with a sofa, desk, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.


Located in the bow of the ship and encircled by a full-ship promenade, our two Promenade Deck (Category B) staterooms are 15sqm (160 square feet) in size and feature picture windows for expansive ocean views, along with a desk, telephone and Junior King bedding.

Cruise Itinerary

Board the Coral Discoverer at 8am for a 9am departure.

Spend the day at leisure as we cross the Coral Sea, and join our Expedition Leader and Guest Lecturers in the lounge for presentations and briefings on Papua New Guinea ahead of our clearance at Alotau.

Alotau is the capital of the Milne Bay Province, and it is best known for the being the site of the Battle of Milne Bay, where Japanese forces suffered their first loss in WWII to Australian and American forces. Here were will explore the local villages and markets, and visit the Turnbull War Memorial Park.

Prepare for an unforgettable experience as we discover remote Egum Atoll and enjoy your first opportunity for snorkelling, scuba diving and glass bottom boat tours over colourful reef systems. Visit a village on one of the atoll’s low islands, where the locals will share their creation legends, and stories of the Kula Ring trading, which creates lasting bonds between the clans throughout the islands.

Laughlan Islanders specialise in canoe building, and in this very remote corner of Papua New Guinea we find seagoing canoes under construction. The friendly villages of Bodaluna welcome us and share their way of life. We may have opportunities for swimming or snorkelling.

This morning we enter the Solomon Islands at the town of Gizo. Wander through the open air markets which showcase a bounty of tropical fruits and fresh fish, as well as crafts by the legendary wood and stone carvers of the region. You may choose to scuba dive over Japanese ship wrecks as an optional extra instead of exploring the town of Gizo. In the afternoon, enjoy water activities at Njari Reef. Njari Reef is a merge point for oceanic currents and is said to have one of the highest fish counts in the world.

Today we visit Tetepare Island. This rugged island is cloaked in rainforest and fringed with coral reefs. Surrounded by mystery, the island was abandoned 150 years ago, possibly due to fear of curses, head-hunting, or sickness. The unique conservation project undertaken by the Tetepare Descendant’s Association has rejected logging and is preserving this pristine wilderness for future generations. This community based conservation organisation also runs a Leatherback Turtle conservation program – the critically endangered Leatherback nests on the black sand beaches in this area. We will learn about the conservation and archeological significance of the island. We may also be privileged to witness the huge variety of wildlife that make their home on the island – it supports nesting turtles, horn-bills, pygmy parrots, dugongs, and bottlenose and spinner dolphins. This stop may alter due to local requirements.

Visit the marine reserve of the Arnavon Islands, home to the largest rookery of endangered Hawksbill Turtles in the South Pacific. The Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area, the first protected area within the Solomons, was established in 1995 and covers over 40,000 acres of land and sea. You may have the opportunity to see turtle hatchlings emerging from their nests at Kerehikapa Island. The coral reef of the Arnavon Islands are some of the healthiest and most diverse in the world. Later we cruise up the picturesque Dart Sound to the remote village of Kia, where we are welcomed with traditional dance and singing.

Marovo Lagoon is one of the wonders of nature. Enclosed by a double barrier reef and bound by the Vangunu and New Georgia Islands, the lagoon covers 700 square kilometres. It’s coral reef systems are world famous for exceptional diving and snorkelling sites. Some of the many islands in the lagoon are inhabited – the Marovo carvings of ebony inlaid with shell are exquisite. We may visit the villages here and snorkel and dive in the lagoon.

Today, we have an expedition stop at an important location during the Pacific Campaign of WWI, the Russell Islands. These islands were occupied by the United States as they advanced to isolate the Japanese base at Rabaul. Pavuvu Island is now a spectacular diving destination, with a underwater dumping ground of ships and wrecked aircraft. The coral reefs are unforgettable, teeming with a variety of marine life. The clear water provides great visibility and there are many spectacular underwater caves and drop offs to explore. This stop may alter due to local requirements.

This morning, we visit Mangalonga Island to snorkel and dive on the reef. Mangalonga Reef has amazing fish life and it is common to see feather stars and colourful anthias. We may also enjoy a birdwatching walk on the island – some of the often sighted birds include claret-breasted fruit doves. This afternoon, explore Savo Island. This was an important location during WWII, and The Battle of Savo Island was the first of five large scale land and sea actions fought to support the ground battles on Guadalcanal. Here we may visit an active volcano, ringed by hot springs, geysers and mudlakes. Enjoy a short walk through the volcanic area. There is also an extensive megapode field, where female birds incubate their eggs in the hot sand.

This morning we disembark in Honiara at 8:00am. As an optional extra, enjoy a tour of the key sites of the Guadalcanal campaign, including Edson’s Bloody Ridge, the US War memorial at Skyline Ridge, and the Japanese Peace Park Memorial at Mount Austin.

This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel.

Coral Discoverer

Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition Length: 63 metres Passenger Capacity: 72 (in 36 rooms) Built: 2005 / Refurbished: 2016 Launched in 2005, Coral Discoverer set a new benchmark standard for small ship cruising in Australia. Refurbished in November 2016, she continues to raise the bar to new levels of sophistication in expedition cruising in the Southern Hemisphere. The 1800-tonne Coral Discoverer is the grand vision of Coral Expeditions, pioneers in expedition and adventure cruises around Australia, Papua New Guinea and South East Asia. Her shallow draught and manoeuvrability allow her to go where larger vessels cannot. Her tender vessel, Xplorer, can seat all 72 passengers for excursions to beaches and rivers. Coral Discoverer is equipped with latest technology active stabilisers to ensure comfortable cruising in open waters and is fitted with modern safety and navigation equipment and wireless internet facilities. Coral Discoverer was built to the exacting international SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) standards and specifications in Cairns, Australia, with one aim in mind; to create the ultimate small ship cruising experience. Australian flagged, and staffed entirely by an Australian and New Zealand crew, your experience aboard Coral Discoverer will be unique. After the refurbishment, the Sun Deck has evolved to become a new social space and the hub of on board community living. This area has been converted into an undercover deck area complete with round ‘Explorer Bar’ with bar stools and sun deck with lounges and an area for outdoor exercise equipment. Guest accommodation has also received a substantial upgrade with the addition of six Bridge Deck Balcony Staterooms providing coveted inside/outside living quarters. Each of our other Stateroom grades has also received a full upgrade with updated bathroom fixtures, soft furnishings and artwork making for an even more comfortable stay on board Coral Discoverer. The Coral Discoverer offers five different grades of staterooms, ranging from Bridge Deck Balcony Staterooms to Main Deck Staterooms. Bridge Deck Balcony Staterooms are on the top deck and have private balconies opening out from french windows. All rooms are furnished with contemporary flair and feature original artwork, a small private en-suite, individually-controlled air-conditioning, an iPod dock, ample storage and Australian toiletries. All staterooms are serviced daily. Each stateroom is spacious, sized between 15sqm (161 square feet) to 20 sqm (215 square feet) and has either a balcony, feature picture windows or porthole windows. Most staterooms can be configured to either junior king or twin bedding. FACILITIES ON BOARD > Sun Deck with undercover area, sun lounges and ample seating > Three fully stocked cocktail bars, including brand new round Explorer Bar on Sun Deck > Spacious, modern dining room, recently refurbished > Forward lounge > Reference library > Gift shop > Open bridge > Workout Area > Wireless internet available for laptops, mobile devices or via onboard guest computer > Limited laundry facilities available > SCUBA diving department (selected itineraries)


• Snorkel and dive over vivid coral gardens at Egum Atoll and Njari Reef • See the rich tradition of canoe-building at Budibudi • Explore the natural wonder of the Marovo Lagoon, and see the famous ebony carvings produced here • Visit historic WW2 wrecks and significant battlefields • Enjoy enriching cultural visits to remote island communities and learn about ‘kastom’ and the Kula Ring • Spot and interact with wildlife, including Hawksbill turtles, pods of dolphins, hornbills and pygmy parrots at important conservation areas including Arnavon and Tetepare • Get up close to an active volcano at Savo Island

No Departures date available. Please contact us at travel@wildiaries.com for more information.