Treasures of the Pacific Expedition
13 days with Ponant Rating:
Day 1 – AUCKLAND
Embarkation from 16H00 to 17H00. at 18H00.
Auckland is New Zealand's largest, most populated and busiest city. Located on an isthmus linking the peninsula of Northland to the expansive North Island, it seems to float between land and sea. It is one of the few cities in the world to have two separate harbours, Manukau Harbour on the Tasman Sea and Waitemata Harbour on the Pacific Ocean. You'll understand why Auckland is known as "the city of sails" when you see the forest of masts in the marina. The 328 metre-high Sky Tower offers splendid views of the city. Surrounded by dormant volcanoes such as Mt Eden, Auckland is noted for its abundant nature and magnificent black-sand beaches. A blend of Maori, European and Asian cultures give the city a vibrant atmosphere.
Day 2 – BAY OF ISLANDS, WAITANGI
On the east coast of the North Island, the Bay of Islands promises an incredible journey into the origins of the "land of the long white cloud." Russell, the first harbour city founded in New Zealand by Europeans, is your entry-point into this corner of paradise. Among whitewashed houses and gorgeous gardens, Russell offers a gentle, romantic atmosphere. A few traces of its past remain, such as Christ Church, the oldest church in the country. Shimmering waters highly prized by local fishermen, beautiful beaches and wild nature make visiting this New Zealand town a picture postcard experience.
Day 3 – AT SEA
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
Day 4 – KOUARÉ ISLAND
Aboard your Zodiac® dinghy, you will sail along the turquoise waters of New Caledonia’s coral reef, the second largest in the world. When you land on Kouare Island, in the heart of the southern lagoon, you will discover an idyllic environment. On this small tract of uninhabited land, in a marine area listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, the animals rule supreme. From the white-sand beaches where marine turtles and sea snakes like to lay their eggs, take off with your mask and snorkel to discover an abundant underwater world that is home to multicoloured fish, beautiful coral, and marine reptiles. Look up to the sky and admire the incessant ballet of terns and black noddies that appear to be jealously guarding their island.
Day 5 – LIFOU
You’ll land around 100km east of Grande-Terre. An ancient coral atoll atop a collapsed volcano, Lifou is today the largest and highest of the Loyalty Islands. This is an outstanding natural site, waiting to be explored: to the north, the coastline ends abruptly in sheer cliffs, while to the south lie expanses of long white sand beaches. Lovers of wild plantlife may well be tempted by a walk further inland, where the rich and authentic Kanak culture is proudly upheld by the local community.
Day 6 – TANNA ISLAND
A visit to Vanuatu cannot be complete without viewing the erupting Mount Yasur Volcano on the Island of Tanna. It is regarded as the world’s most accessible active volcano. Known for its spectacular persistent strombolian activity consisting of regular small to violent explosions, it has been in more-or-less continuous activity since Captain James Cook observed ash eruptions in 1774. Often referred to as “the lighthouse of the Pacific”, the glow of the volcano apparently led Captain Cook to Tanna during the first European journey to the island. Today the volcano is considered a sacred area by members of the John Frum cargo cult, who believe their deity resides in the heart of the volcano.
Day 7 – AT SEA
Day 8 – PARADISE LAGOON, ESPIRITU SANTO ISLAND
At the end of the world, in the north of New Caledonia, lies Vanuatu, a little archipelago that subsists mainly from fishing and farming. It is composed of several islands, Espiritu Santo being the largest and one of the most beautiful. You can meet the people here who are very welcoming and who live in harmony with nature. Plus you’ll see unimaginable landscapes formed of volcanic rocks, as well as sandy beaches and lagoons beckoning you to dive into their of turquoise waters. You’ll be surprised to find, in the middle of dense vegetation, brackish water with an amazing ecosystem called “blue holes”. If paradise exists, it must be here.
Day 9 – UREPARAPARA ISLAND
Ureparapara, also known as Parapara for short, is the third largest island in the Banks group of Northern Vanuatu and formed by an extinct volcano cone that has been breached by the sea on its east coast, forming a spectacular 3km long harbour. During your voyage, your ship will sail into the natural harbour, affording guests spectacular views from the outer decks. You will also have the opportunity to go ashore for a welcome and custom dances. An opportunity to witness life in one of the remotest parts of Vanuatu. Very few vessels visit this part of Vanuatu and the local residents are eager to welcome visitors.
Day 10 – VANIKORO ISLAND
The French explorer Jean-François de La Pérouse was stranded on Vanikoro after both his vessels, struck the reefs of the island in 1788. The complete disappearance of La Pérouse caught the imagination of the European public. Songs, stories and plays were written about the possible fate of the expedition. It is believed that some of the men were killed by the local inhabitants, while the surviving sailors built a smaller vessel and left the island, but were never seen again. Those that remained on the island died before search parties arrived in 1826. Today guests have the opportunity to head ashore to the infamous location of this historical event. Enjoy a welcome and cultural performance whilst pondering the fate of the expeditioners.
Day 11 – AT SEA
Day 12 – HONIARA, GUADALCANAL ISLAND
Disembarkation at 07H00.
Honiara is the capital city of The Solomon Islands, administered as a provincial town on the north western coast of Guadalcanal Island. Honiara comes from the local Ghari Language “naho-ni-ara” meaning 'facing the ara', the place where the southeast winds meet the land. During your stop, discover this city, its beautiful landscape, and the significant role it played in World War II. Particularly The Battle of Henderson Field, the last of the three major land offensives conducted by the Japanese in 1942. Alternatively, you can discover a traditional village, its culture and way of life.
All This Included
During this voyage, PONANT invites you to discover an exceptional itinerary in the heart of Oceania. This 13-day expedition cruise aboard Le Lapérouse will showcase the jewels of New Caledonia, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, three must-see destinations in the Coral Sea.
From Auckland your ship will set sail North to New Caledonia. After a stop on Kouare Island, discover the sublime Lifou with its picture-postcard white-sand beaches and tropical vegetation.
Considered by some as “The happiest country in the world”, Vanuatu with its 83 islands, provides a palette of varied landscapes. In Tanna, home to the John Frum Cargo Cult, you will explore the imposing Mt Yasur, considered to be the most accessible active volcano in the world. You will have the opportunity to visit several traditional villages, including on the island of Ureparapara where the inhabitants will welcome you and share their customs, singing, dances and art.
Your cruise will finish with a visit to the Solomon Islands, with its mountainous and often rugged landscapes covered in lush tropical vegetation and bordered with white-sand beaches. Here you will be able to swim and snorkel in the crystal-clear waters.
Cruising: Standard cabin onboard Le Laperouse
Terms and Conditions
For Ponant terms and conditions, please click here.
* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.