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True North, The Sepik River Tribes, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea – Sepik River Adventure Cruise



12 Days

Prices Start from

£13,600 (ex. flights)

This 11-day expedition cruise around PNG offers the chance to access secluded islands for world-class snorkelling and diving, as well as experiencing ancient tribal cultures and spectacular scenery. All from the comfort of the exceptional True North Boat.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Apangai, Sepik River, Papua New Guinea 1

Explore the Sepik

Experience a sing-sing, visit waterside markets and witness the famous crocodile initiation ceremony.

True North Boat, Admiralty Islands, Papua New Guinea 2

Aerial Views

Soar above volcanic island archipelagos on the ships helicopter.

Underwater shot, bright blue water with diver swimming above wreck. 3

Snorkel and Dive

Snorkel and dive spectacular and largely unexplored reefs, as well as ship, plane and even submarine wrecks.

Children on boats, True North Boat, Admiralty Islands, Papua New Guinea 4

Village Life

Experience village life with welcoming locals, happy to share their unique culture and way of life.

Why we like it

This voyage around PNG offers the trip of a lifetime. Explore remote areas, above and below the water, without leaving any trace of your visit. Adventure-cruising is a low impact means of accessing wilderness without the intrusion of roads and the True North’s shallow draft, six dedicated expedition boats and onboard helicopter allow access to areas, otherwise inaccessible. The crew onboard are exceptional and know the geography, history and wildlife of the area like no one else. Long-standing relationships with tribes allow access to the secretive world of crocodile initiation ceremonies, overwhelming hospitality and an unchanged way of life. We also love True Norths commitment to the local area with initiatives in place to support local communities and promote sustainable employment opportunities in West Papua.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
    Cairns - Kavieng
  • Day 3
    Kavieng and New Hanover
  • Day 4
    Vitu Islands
  • Day 5
    Manus Province
  • Day 6
    Ponam Island
  • Day 7
    The Hermit Islands
  • Day 8
    The Ninigo Islands
  • Day 9 - 10
    The Sepik River
  • Day 11
    Bagabag and Karkar Islands
  • Day 12
    Madang - Cairns


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

True North Boat £££££

True North is a luxury adventure cruise ship, purpose built to access shallow coastal areas that are unreachable by larger vessels. With just 18 spacious and modern cabins, she feels more akin to an exclusive hotel but with the added benefits of ever changing scenery outside your window. An extremely knowledgeable crew are on hand to look after guests along with on board naturalists and marine biologists. A full time on-board helicopter and six expedition boats are available to take guests ashore while on board there is a sundeck, observation lounge, bar, as well as a lower deck dining area with uninterrupted panoramic views.

View Boat

Aerial View, Papua New Guinea
Aerial view of Papua New Guinea

Why Cruise Papua New Guinea?

As well as over 5,000 kilometres of coastline and some 600 tiny islands, the interior of Papua New Guinea is dominated by rainforest covered mountains which hide winding rivers, vast swamps and rugged canyons. All of which are home to hundreds of indigenous tribes. Often referred to as one of the world’s last great frontiers a cruise is by far the most practical way to explore this fascinating country, gaining access to remote tribes and little-visited islands.

True North Boat, Admiralty Islands, Papua New Guinea
True North moored off the Admiralty Islands
Underwater shot, bright blue water with turtle swimming.
Hawksbill turtle
Underwater shot, bright blue water with fish swimming around underwater wreck.
Wreck dive, Papua New Guinea
Underwater shot, bright blue water with large orange brain coral in foreground.
Brain coral

A Magical Underwater World

Diving and snorkelling is a key highlight of this holiday with ample opportunity to explore the reefs and lagoons within the remote Bismarck Archipelago Islands. Much of this underwater world remains largely unexplored, visibility is usually superb and marinelife abundant. Highly fertile fringing reefs with gently sloping coral, turquoise lagoons, steep wall drop-offs, giant clam gardens and wrecks are among some of the fabulous sites. The mosaic of small islands in the area offers a wonderful backdrop and provides a wide range of different habitats.

Expect to see many pelagic species including shark, dog-tooth tuna, barracuda, ray, turtle and dolphin. Vibrant butterflyfish and parrotfish are common among the colourful corals and endless sea fans. Marlin and sailfish are also known to frequent many of the waters.

Read More
True North, Crocodile Tribe, Sepik River, Papua New Guinea
Crocodile tribe, Sepik River
Kumbarumba village, Sepik River, Papua New Guinea
Kumbarumba village, Sepik River

An Ancient Ritual Ceremony

The Sepik River is the longest river in Papua New Guinea and one of the great river systems of the world. It supports a wealth of wildlife and diverse ecosystems including swamplands, tropical rainforests and mountains. Explore the maze of swamps, small waterways and local communities where traditional tribal crafts still thrive. Visit a waterside market and experience a traditional sing-sing. Also gain privileged access the secret world of the crocodile men, witnessing an elaborate coming of age ceremony where young men are scarified in the image of the crocodile.

Bow of cruise boat with passengers looking towards snoking conical volcano island,
Coral Adventurer, Manum Volcano
Stern of boat cruising with views of sillhouetted island peaks on calm blue water.
Coral Adventurer, Mesempta

Alternative Boat Options

For a more affordable but no less comfortable cruise around PNG you could consider the Coral Adventurer. Larger than True North with capacity for 120 passengers this ship has two tenders, six zodiacs and plenty of open deck space. In addition, its shallow draft also allows access to remote locations.

Kangaroo, Australia
Local Tribe, Mt Hagen, Papua New Guinea
Local tribal men at Mt Hagen festival

Pre and Post Cruise Suggestions

  • Head into the Highlands, home to the largest population of tribes, who come together to celebrate in colourful and vibrant festivals on certain dates
  • Spend time in Australia’s tropical Queensland, exploring the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest
  • Sydney, South Australia and Tasmania are all wonderful parts of Australia to visit in November and December


Children at waterefall Long Island, Papua New Guinea
Local children bathing in waterfall

When to Cruise...

Cruises to Papua New Guinea operate during the months of October, November and December each year. A range of routes are and duration’s are possible.

Let’s chat

Speak to our experts

Our team is waiting to help you tailor a trip that will leave you with stories for a lifetime. Call us on

01285 601 784

Send us an enquiry

Complete our enquiry form and start your next journey.


What a brilliant boat and crew. The accommodation was excellent and the ship's crew handled all trips superbly.  An excellent holiday only made better by the knowledge of the experts and the overall organisation of the trip.

Papua New Guinea - True North

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