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Embark on a close-to-home expedition onboard Le Soléal and Le Lapérouse

The Kimberley, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand. Le Soléal has returned to Australian waters to join Le Lapérouse and bring even more options for close to home explorations.

Book early and save up to 25%.

Award-winning, luxury cruise provider Ponant is offering a selection of curated itineraries near Australian and New Zealand shores in 2022. From exciting expeditions in collaboration with National Geographic to relaxed adventures through Melanesia’s most beautiful destinations, this year’s Ponant voyages are guaranteed to induce wanderlust.

Onboard Le Soléal – Ponant’s state-of-the-art, five-star vessel – or Le Lapérouse – the intimate lead Explorers-class ship, it’s possible to discover a whole new world of off-the-beaten-track destinations. And if you think you have to forgo comfort and elegance to experience the exotic, think again. Ponant cruises offer all of the adventure, without compromising on luxury.

NEW! Wild Landscapes of Kimberley & South-East Asia

This newly added cruise takes you through the untouched Kimberleys to pristine islands in East Timor and Indonesia. The 15-day cruise on Le Lapérouse begins in Broome and finishes in Bali.

Beginning in the Kimberley you’ll sail through breeding sites for Green turtles and observe colonies of brown boobies, Roseate terns and Australian pelicans. Then it is onto Montgomery Reef and its expanses of lagoons and coral reefs. On the Hunter River, you will see wild mangrove forests with saltwater crocodiles living alongside many species of birds. At Jar Island, you can visit ancient galleries of unique rock paintings. The highlight of the Kimberley journey is travelling up the King George River to the spectacular dual King George Falls. The last Australian destination is Wyndham before leaving for East Timor.

Your first foray into East Timor soil is on Baucau, a former Portuguese colony. Here, you’ll take in the culture and relax on beautiful sandy beaches. At Kalabahi, in the Alor Islands, you will encounter ethnic groups of the Flores people who have succeeded in preserving their traditional way of life.

In Indonesia sail to World Heritage Listed Komodo National Park for the chance to see a Komodo dragon in its natural habitat. Your 15-day journey concludes in Bali.

​Kimberley outings onboard Zodiac inflatable boats
​Kimberley outings onboard Zodiac inflatable boats © PONANT Nick Rains

Wild Landscapes of Kimberley & South-East Asia

Broome to Bali
14 nights
Departs 5 September 2022
Aboard Le Lapérouse
Book early and save up to 20%*

Experience the Ancient Cultures of Papua New Guinea

Experience the natural beauty and intoxicating culture of Melanesia on Ponant’s 10-night sailing from Cairns to Honiara. Onboard Le Soléal, journey to Alotau in Papua New Guinea’s Milne Bay Province. Firstly, you’ll visit WW2 memorials and Japanese and American battlegrounds. In addition, you’ll discover the stories behind the role these landscapes played in shaping history. Next on the cruise, you’ll travel to the volcanic islands of Dobu and Ferguson. From here, you’ll hike through ancient forests to reach hot springs and soak in the stunning natural surroundings.

If it’s culture you crave, Kitava in the Trobriand Islands is known for its traditional ceremonies and warm island welcome. It also happens to be home to some of the most pristine waters in the world. All of which makes Kitava the ideal place to snorkel and see the local marine life up close.

Continuing on to the Solomon Islands, diving and snorkelling enthusiasts alike will enjoy Ghizo and Njari Islands’ spectacular underwater worlds. Meanwhile, shopping at traditional markets and meeting local craftspeople are just another two highlights of this Ponant cruise destination.

Ancient Cultures Trobriand Islands @ Laure Patricot
Ancient Cultures Trobriand Islands @ Laure Patricot

Beaches aren’t hard to come by in Melanesia. However, ones as spectacular as Roderick Bay – with its blinding white sand and fringing coral reef – shouldn’t be missed. Later, when visiting the Malatai Province, traditional music and dance await guests as they disembark for the day.

The Ancient Cultures of Papua New Guinea finishes in the Solomon Island’s capital – Honiara. After disembarking, spend the morning exploring the once-sleepy port town’s war-time history before catching a flight back to Brisbane.

Ancient Cultures of Papua New Guinea

Cairns to Honiara
10 nights
Departs 11 October & 1 November 2022
Aboard Le Soléal
Includes transfer & flight Honiara/Brisbane*
Book early and save up to 25%*

Pacific Islands Discovery with National Geographic

Looking for a unique adventure in the South Pacific? Let Ponant cruises, in collaboration with National Geographic Expeditions, whisk you off on a journey of discovery to New Caledonian. This voyage to the French, edge-of-the-world territory spans 11 days, sailing from Nouméa to Auckland.

Alongside an onboard National Geographic photographer and expert, guests will explore the diversity of the Pacific Islands. This includes everything from white sandy beaches and deep lagoons to archipelagos and reefs packed with exotic marine life. In addition, guests will also have the chance to experience the history, culture and traditions of the Kanak people.

Set off from Noumea, then the stunning Kouaré Island is the first port of call. After sailing along the second largest coral reef in the world, Ponant explorers can visit UNESCO World Heritage-listed lagoons, teeming with colourful marine life. Snorkel with turtles before lounging on untouched white beaches, listening to the sounds of exotic local birds.

In the north, visit the cradle of Kanak culture – Hienghène. From its coral-bedded lagoon to its black limestone cliffs, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hienghène is an unmissable sight on an expedition to New Caledonia.

Leaving the Pacific Islands behind, Le Soléal continues on to Norfolk Island. Australia’s paradise island is home to the incredible marine life of the Emily Bay Lagoon. While here, don’t miss the chance to snorkel or relax on the perfect white sands. After Norfolk, New Zealand’s Bay of Islands beckons before the expedition comes to a cosmopolitan end in Auckland.

Pacific Islands Discovery – with National Geographic

Nouméa to Auckland
10 nights Departs
22 November 2022
Aboard Le Soléal
Book early and save up to 25%*

New guests save $800* on their first voyage, plus book early and save up to 30%.* To find out more, visit au.ponant.com

Terms & Conditions: ​*30% discount is based on the Ponant Bonus offer. Ponant Bonus is yield managed and may change at any time without notice. Included transfers, flights and accommodation are subject to terms and conditions. More conditions apply, visit au.ponant.com for more information.

This article was created in partnership with Ponant.


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