Wildlife Group Tour

Indonesia cruise - Wallacea Cruise with Lawrence Blair

Departing 22nd March - 3rd April 2020

13 days

from $9,775pp
  • Sail around the Wallacea Islands and learn more about the theories and history of Wallace
  • Explore remote islands with author, filmmaker and Indonesian explorer Lawrence Blair
  • Travel on board Mutiara Laut, a high spec, luxurious Indonesian phinisi
  • Enjoy world-class snorkelling, supported by an experienced and welcoming crew

Alfred Russel Wallace was the most celebrated naturalist of his time. He is attributed with the phrase "origin of the species" and jointly published the theory of evolution by natural selection with Charles Darwin. An amateur collector of plants from the age of 18 he went on to explore and collect specimens in first South America and then the Malay Archipelago (now Malaysia and Indonesia). Scores of bugs, butterflies and other fauna have been named after Wallace, bearing the eponym wallacii or wallacei.

Join us on a journey, in his footsteps, through the fascinating eastern Wallacea Islands, the source for many of his theories and an area steeped in history and spices. The Wallacea Islands are a transitional zone, lying to the east of the Wallace Line, the invisible line that defines the zoology of Asia and that of Australasia. A highlight of the trip is the Banda Archipelago - the original Spice Islands. A truly magical place; deeply immersed in living history. The Historic and Marine Landscape of the Banda Islands are listed on UNESCO's 'tentative list' for inclusion as a World Heritage Site. You will spend time exploring the historic buildings of the old towns, the extraordinarily rich marine coral reefs and the exotic land-based scenery.

"The forests of the Moluccas offers to the naturalist a very striking example of the luxuriance and beauty of animal life in the tropics.  The glorious birds and insects render the Moluccas a classic ground in the eyes of the naturalist, and characterise its fauna as one of the most remarkable and beautiful upon the globe” - from The Malay Archipelago.


The only way to truly appreciate this region is by boat. Stops will be made at lesser visited islands where you can spend time with communities hardly visited by tourists. Lawrence Blair, tour expert on this trip will explain and bring to life the route Wallace took and the importance of these spice islands.


No, while the theme is undoubtedly Wallace, purely because his insight and research into the flora and fauna of this region is fascinating. However, if you want to journey through a lesser explored part of this wonderful country then this trip is also relevant and worthwhile.


The waters around these islands are home to some of the richest marine diversity anywhere in the world. During days at sea, you may see whales, dolphins and even the occasional dugong (or Asian manatee). Beneath the surface, the colourful corals hide turtle and hundreds of fish including some big pelagics and various species of ray. The islands themselves are home to a wealth of birdlife such as parrots, lorikeets, megapodes, sea eagles and other exotic birds. There will also be much insect life and many of the creatures encountered will be the same as those that Wallace himself saw here some 160 years ago.


Each day will be different with some time spent on the water, sailing between islands, offering the chance to relax, snorkel or hear about the adventures of tour expert Dr Lawrence Blair. On land, explore some of the breath-taking island landscapes, take in the colonial architecture, learn about the spice history of the region, and visit local villages and markets. Relax on white sandy beaches, laze in a natural hot spring or hike up a dormant volcano.

Over dinner there will be time to chat about the day’s activities and Lawrence will also present to the group on a number of subjects.


Mutiara Laut (meaning "Pearl of the Sea") is a beautiful 47-metre double mast yacht featuring seven ensuite cabins, communal areas and a large deck area for relaxing and outdoor dining.

Onboard equipment includes snorkelling and fishing gear, water-skis and kayaks plus the onboard crew of 13, which includes a cruise director, an Indonesian captain, a chef and a snorkelling guide.


Moderate levels of fitness should be fine as there are no strenuous activities and any walking can be adapted to suit the group. For those that are keen, there are some more challenging walks available.


The daily a la carte menu offers a fusion of Indonesian and western cuisines. Alcohol is not included, however, it can be purchased from the onboard bar.


No, however snorkelling in this region is some of the best in the world so the ability and desire to do some will only enhance your experience. There will also be plenty of time spent out of the water exploring the many islands.

Departing on:
  • 22nd March 2020

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights $Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour ExpertStatus 
22nd Mar 2020 3rd Apr 2020 $ 13,196.25 $ 1,080 $ 3,375 Dr Lawrence Blair Available
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Accommodation in double or twin cabin with en-suite bathroom
  • Accompanied by an expert onboard crew
  • Accompanied by Lawrence Blair whilst onboard
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Daily housekeeping services
  • Fuel surcharges
  • Full board meals onboard
  • Land excursions
  • Non-alcoholic beverages onboard
  • Onboard activities including snorkelling, sea kayaking, waterskiing, wakeboarding and stand up paddle-boarding, all based on availability
  • Port and park fees
  • Return internal flights from Jakarta to Ambon
  • Visits including entrance fees, taxes, local guide & ranger fees.

what is excluded

  • Alcoholic beverages (available to purchase on board)
  • Gratuities for onboard crew
  • Indonesia visa (if applicable)
  • International flights
  • Onboard internet
  • Travel, dive, medical & repatriation insurance
  • Use of satellite phone


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Day at leisure in Jakarta

Jakarta is a growing and dynamic city and the capital of Indonesia.

You will be staying at FM7 Resort Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 2

Fly Jakarta to Ambon

Arrive Ambon
On arrival at Ambon airport the cruise director will meet and transfer you to Mutiara Laut at her mooring in the harbour. After a warm welcome by the crew and a general briefing about Mutiara Laut, lunch will be served. This afternoon you can visit some of the island's historical sites including Hila Lama, which was the historical port of the spice trade and where sailors visited the church (1412) and Fort Amsterdam (1514). En route back to the boat, visit the WWII commonwealth cemetery. Wallace made two visits to Ambon exploring plantations and collecting insects.

This afternoon set sail from the bay of Ambon to the island of Nusa Laut. Sailing time of five hours.

Cloaked in tropical rainforest, Ambon Island is a fertile, mountainous island that lies off the southwest coast of Seram Island on the north side of the Banda Sea. It makes up part of a chain of volcanic islands on the northern side of the renowned Banda Islands. For many years, the Banda Islands were known for their significance in the spice trade. Today, they are known not only for their history but also for their breathtaking landscape, both above and below water. With a mix of history and natural beauty, these islands are the perfect place to enjoy diving, snorkelling, beach barbecues and sightseeing - a remarkable setting for unforgettable moments.

You will be staying at Mutiara Laut, full board

Day 3

Nusa Laut
Nusa Laut island is the smallest inhabited island in east Ambon. This island has retained its colonial-style houses and churches, one of which is the oldest church in Maluku. Later in the day, explore the underwater marine life with stunning coral, rich pelagic and coral fish. There is also a chance you may be lucky enough to spot a rare dugong. On the surface, dolphins and pilot whales can often be observed. Nusa Laut is one of the best snorkelling sites in the region

This evening sail to the Banda Islands - a sailing time of 13 hours.

Home to stunning reefs below the water and dolphins and whales above.

You will be staying at Mutiara Laut, full board

Day 4

Arrive Banda Islands
Today the boat will reach the renowned and remote Banda islands, famous for their natural beauty, cultural heritage and well-preserved remnants of an extraordinary history of imperialist rivalry during spice trade until the mid-19th century. The Bandas were originally the world's only source of nutmeg and mace, valued for their rarity and loved by aristocrats and the ruling elite. Today the Bandas' quiet and charming ambience belies a dramatic and often tragic history, including wars, massacres, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Like Wallace the boat will spend three days at these enchanting islands.

You will be staying at Mutiara Laut, full board

Day 5

Explore Banda Islands
Two days to explore some of the other small islands in the Banda archipelago such as Lonthor, Ai, Run, Pisang and Hatta, each with their own remnants of nutmeg plantations, Dutch cemeteries and fortifications. The tiny outlying island of Run was subject to an extraordinary real estate deal in 1667 under the Treaty of Breda. It was ceded by the English to the Dutch in exchange for New Amsterdam which today is New York. On Lonthor island, walk among tranquil nutmeg groves, where the fruit bearing trees grow in the shelter of giant kanari or almond trees. It is a challenging climb to the summit of Gunung Api, 886 metres above sea level, but the reward is a stunning sunrise view.

During the final day you will sail out of the bay between Neira and Gunung Api, possibly escorted by a kora-kora or coracora, which are traditional canoes from the Maluku (Moluccas) Islands.

Sail overnight to Haruka, a sailing time of 13 hours.

You will be staying at Mutiara Laut, full board

Day 6

You will be staying at Mutiara Laut, full board

Day 7

Pulau Haruku was seized by the Portuguese in 1527 and taken over by the Dutch in 1590, when they built Fort Nieuw Zeelandia. The last major renovation was in 1822, when it housed inspectors overseeing the deliveries of nutmeg. Inside its walls, villagers have now settled and built houses. In the woods surrounding the village there are several hot springs.

Sail to Saparua, a sailing time of two to three hours.

You will be staying at Mutiara Laut, full board

Day 8

Saparua and Moana Island
On Saparua, Mutiara Laut will anchor beside the Dutch Fort Duurstede (1691). Visit a local market and clove store or see cloves drying along the side of the road. Before lunch return to the boat to sail to Moana island. Moana is an uninhabited island with beautiful white sand beaches, known for its wonderful coral and snorkelling. Spend a lazy afternoon beach combing, followed by an evening BBQ.

Sail to Manipa, a sailing time of seven hours.

You will be staying at Mutiara Laut, full board

Day 9

Manipa Island Village Walk
Manipa Island is said to have magical powers because the Portuguese, Dutch and Japanese occupied the surrounding islands but never landed. Head ashore to a village called Uwe to see the process of extracting eucalyptus oil. In the local language this is called Kayuh Putih and is famous throughout Indonesia as a medicinal oil. You can also witness the production of the Mallucan staple food sago, from which the flour is used in cakes while the palm provides building timber and thatch roof. Following an afternoon spent snorkelling or relaxing on board, sail to Boano island to the west of Seram taking three to four hours.

You will be staying at Mutiara Laut, full board

Day 10

Boano and Ana Uni Village
West of Seram island lies an island group called the Boano archipelago, consisting of small islands with limestone cliffs. After breakfast visit Ana Uni village, a small village on the west side of Boano where the inhabitants mainly live from fishing and agriculture. The rest of the day will be spent at a secluded white sand beach on Nusalea with snorkelling off the coral reef nearby. After dinner Mutiara Laut will sail toward Pulau Tiga to the west of Ambon taking between five to seven hours.

You will be staying at Mutiara Laut, full board

Day 11

Pulau Tiga
Pulau Tiga is a group of three small islands west of Ambon. Today can be spent relaxing, snorkelling and walking before starting the overnight sail back to Ambon.

You will be staying at Mutiara Laut, full board

Day 12

Arrive back into Ambon
Arrive back into Ambon for your onwward travel back to Jakarta.

Fly Ambon to Jakarta

You will be staying at FM7 Resort Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 13

Day at leisure in Jakarta

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Indonesia

Amy Waters, Travel Expert

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Clare Higginson, Travel Expert

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Deborah Brock-Doyle, Travel Expert

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Tour Expert

Dr Lawrence Blair

Dr Lawrence Blair
Dr Lawrence Blair is an explorer, filmmaker, author and public speaker on the peoples and creatures of Indonesia. A resident of Bali he has assisted and led marine expeditions throughout the archipelago since the Lindblad Explorer – the first genuinely exploratory tourist ship – broached the Spice Islands in l978.

Educated in Britain, France and Mexico, Lawrence Blair earned his doctorate at Lancaster University, England, with a thesis which explored and defined the field of Psycho-Anthropology. This was subsequently published as the highly successful book: Rhythms of Vision – The Changing Patterns of Belief.

He is also the writer, presenter and co-producer (with his late brother Lorne) of the PBS and BBC TV adventure series Ring of Fire, winner of two EMMY awards, aired in over sixty nations, and introduced by Richard Gere. Lawrence also wrote the companion book Ring of Fire, describing the brothers' astounding ten years of filming their Indonesian explorations. The book remained for ten weeks on the UK’s TOP TEN BEST SELLER LIST.

In 2005 and 2006 he wrote, presented and co-produced for SKY TV UK, the 5-part series Myths Magic and Monsters. Lawrence has lectured and appeared widely on international radio and tv, elucidating psycho-anthropology, tribal mysticism and the ‘secrets’ of Indonesia.
Enquire about this Wildlife tour:

Group Size:

Min 8 / Max 12

Tour Expert:

Dr Lawrence Blair

Departure Date (S):

  • 22nd March 2020

  • Moderate Activity - The cruise will involve visits to a variety of sites throughout the duration of the itinerary and be at a moderate pace.

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