A Tropical Pacific Island Cruise from New Zealand to Japan

Set sail on a true adventure as we explore reef-fringed tropical islands, visit historic sites and experience forgotten cultures and incredible wildlife encounters cruising from New Zealand to Japan on the incomparable 29-day Grand Pacific Odyssey.

Crossing both the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer, and the Equator, this Pacific island sojourn has been specially designed with cruise enthusiasts and adventurers in mind. Carefully balancing the excitement of visiting remote islands, snorkelling pristine coral reefs, enjoying thrilling cultural exchanges at isolated villages, observing wildlife and Zodiac cruising tropical isles with languorous sea days spent poolside, in the Observation Lounge or whale watching in the bridge with the captain.

Highlights during the voyage include exploring former Australian penal colony now UNESCO World Heritage Site Norfolk Island, discovering the French-infused charms of New Caledonia and visiting idyllic islands and isolated villages where unique time-honoured traditions and elaborately costumed dancers welcome us with unforgettable cultural encounters.

Experience conservation in action on Tetepare Island, the Solomon Islands’ leading community driven conservation project, Kolombangara Island’s renowned Imbu Rano Lodge and Conservation Area and Japan’s Bonin Islands including the ‘Galapagos of the Orient’ ChichiJima Island. While historians will appreciate World War II history, wrecks and relics at Honiara, Caroline Islands and Kolombangara Island.

Join Heritage Expeditions aboard our luxurious expedition ship Heritage Adventurer as we discover the history, experience the culture and observe the incredible wildlife of these remote and beautiful Pacific islands.

Starts in Auckland, New ZealandEnds in Yokohama, JapanDuration: 29 Days
Accommodation type:ExpeditionHeritage Adventurer Expedition ship



  • Hauraki Gulf
  • Norfolk Island
  • New Caledonia
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tetepare Island
  • Caroline Island
  • Bonin Islands
  • Sperm Whale
  • Dugong
  • False Killer Whale
  • Fraser’s Dolphin
  • Dwarf Sperm Whale
  • Pygmy Sperm Whale
  • Melon-headed Whale
  • New Zealand Storm-petrel
  • Black-winged Kermadec
  • Short-tailed Shearwaters
  • Norfolk Island Parakeet
  • Slender-billed White Eye
  • Norfolk Robin
  • Norfolk Gerygone
  • New Caledonian Storm-petrel
  • South Melanesian Cuckooshrike
  • New Caledonian Grassbird
  • New Caledonian Crow
  • Japanese Bush Warbler


Day 1Auckland, New Zealand
Day 2Great Barrier Island & Hauraki Gulf
Day 3Bay of Islands
Day 4At Sea
Day 5Norfolk Island
Day 6At Sea
Day 7-8New Caledonia
Day 9-10At Sea
Day 11Santa Ana, Solomon Islands
Day 12Anuta Island in the Makira Group
Day 13Honiara
Day 14Tetepare Island
Day 15Kolombangara Island
Day 16-19At Sea
Day 20-21Caroline Islands
Day 22-25At Sea
Day 26Chichi-jima Island
Day 27Torishima Island
Day 28Hachijō-jima Island
Day 29Yokohama, Japan – Departure

Day to Day Itinerary

DAY 1:
Auckland, New Zealand
– Join us this afternoon in the heart of New Zealand’s commercial capital, Auckland. The captain and expedition team will be waiting to greet you on arrival and show you to your cabin. You will have time to settle in and familiarise yourself with the ship; we will also take the opportunity to introduce you to your expedition team and our voyage plans. You are invited to join the expedition team in the Observation Lounge and up on the Observation Deck as we set sail for the Hauraki Gulf.

DAY 2:
Great Barrier Island and the Hauraki Gulf
– We plan to spend this morning exploring the beauty of Great Barrier Island. Defining the eastern extent of the Hauraki Gulf, this beautiful island is largely forest covered and there will be opportunities to explore ashore or join a Zodiac cruise.

This afternoon Heritage Adventurer sails northwards through the Hauraki Gulf, join the naturalists on deck watching for whales and seabirds, enjoy some time by the pool or join a presentation from our expedition guides.

DAY 3:
Bay of Islands
– Wake this morning in the subtropical paradise of the Bay of Islands, home to more than 140 islands and stunning gold sand beaches. After breakfast there will be an opportunity to venture ashore for a coastal exploration, or join your naturalists exploring the sheltered bays, coves and island on a Zodiac cruise. We then bid our farewells to New Zealand and set our course northwards, passing Cape Reinga, New Zealand’s northern most point this evening.

DAY 4:
At Sea
– Sailing north towards Norfolk Island, there is time to relax, join the naturalists on deck and enjoy presentations as we prepare for our arrival tomorrow.

DAY 5:
Norfolk Island
– Upon arrival complete Australian customs (please note a visa may be required). We have a full day to enjoy Norfolk Island, a former penal colony, which Captain Cook encountered in 1774 and named after the Duchess of Norfolk. This morning we will have the opportunity to explore the beautiful St Barnabas Chapel. This five-year labour-of-love features mother-of-pearl inlays, stained glass windows and a spectacular vaulted timber ceiling. This afternoon discover more of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Kingston, a former brutal outpost for British prisoners and Australia’s second oldest settlement, or visit the Norfolk Island Botanical Gardens with its 40 endemic, or unique, species including 15 plant species considered to be critically endangered. For the more active you may wish to walk in the National Park towards Mt Pitt. The tracks wind through lush palm forests and stands of Norfolk Island Pine leading to remarkable views of the island and ocean.

DAY 6:
At Sea
– Continuing our journey northwards, today we arrive in the tropics, sailing across the Tropic of Capricorn and into the tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean.

DAY 7:
New Caledonia
– This morning we find ourselves sailing along the southern shores of New Caledonia before passing through the extensive barrier reef that surrounds the island and making our way to Noumea. This tropical island has been described as a taste of France in the Pacific, where Melanesian traditions blend with French sophistication. New Caledonia is a fragment of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana, and it is believed that New Caledonia detached and became an island tens of millions of years ago. It is this isolation which explains both the extent of biodiversity and the incredible levels of endemism on this delightful tropical island. This afternoon enjoy an exploration of Noumea with our local guides. Heritage Adventurer will remain in port overnight, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the evening ashore.

DAY 8:
New Caledonia
– Today we have a full day set aside to explore the history, culture and beauty of New Caledonia. Visit local institution Port Moselle Market, Noumea and rub shoulders with the locals over the astounding range of fresh produce, souvenirs and handcrafts from around the island before continuing to the Maritime Museum for a journey through the history of the islands including their discovery by Captain Cook. A highlight of our day will be our visit to the Tjibaou Cultural Center which introduces the traditional Kanak culture via six architectural pavilions. Enjoy a traditional lunch before spending a relaxing afternoon at the beach with an opportunity for snorkelling.

DAY 9-10:
At Sea
– Enjoy time aboard as we sail through the tropical waters of the South Pacific, relive the experiences of the past days and prepare for our arrival to the Solomon Islands.

DAY 11:
Santa Ana, Solomon Islands
– Experience a traditional Solomon Island’s welcome on arrival at Port Mary on Santa Ana Island. Also known as Owaraha or Owa Raha, this stunning coral island, first sighted by Europeans in 1568, is ours to explore today. Delight in the local hospitality and soak in the culture as we peruse local handicrafts, explore the lush forests with our guides and meet the local children at the village school or bask in tropical waters.

DAY 12:
Anuta Island in the Makira Group
-Today we sail towards Makira, the easternmost of the main islands in the Solomons’ archipelago, anchoring in the protected waters of Anuta Harbour. Join our guides for a Zodiac cruise to explore the extensive mangrove forests lining the shores before enjoying a traditional welcome at a local village where island life continues unchanged for millennia.

DAY 13:
– Our passage this morning sees us cruising through Iron Bottom Sound, named after the large number of Japanese and American ships and aircraft sunk here during the intense World War II naval battles. Located on the northern coast of Guadacanal, by the Mataniko River, Honiara was founded by the British as a military base during World War II. Honiara was witness to the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, where the Allied forces eventually overcame the Japanese invasion. Options for today include exploring Honiara’s bustling central market and visiting historic sites including Henderson Airfield, war memorials and the open-air war museum.

DAY 14:
Tetepare Island
– Uninhabited for 150 years, this rugged island cloaked in rainforest and fringed with coral reefs is home to one of the Solomon Islands’ leading community driven conservation projects and administered by the Tetepare Descendants’ Association. Receiving international recognition for its conservation and archaeological significance, three species of turtle, including the endangered leatherback, nest on its beaches while other species inhabiting the island and surrounding waters include dugong, the world’s largest skink, endemic Tetepare White-eye and many more. Explore the island with local conservationists and experience the work being carried out.

DAY 15:
Kolombangara Island
– The volcanic New Georgia Islands are characterised by extensive reefs and lagoons, rugged terrain and an abundance of rivers. Kolombangara is a dormant or semi-extinct volcano, 1,800 metres high and last active about 10,000 years ago. Nature enthusiasts will relish landing on Kolombangara Island where we plan to visit the Imbu Rano Lodge and Conservation Area which protects the islands central peak and search for the rare Roviana Rail along with other endemic bird species. Snorkel the wreck of a US NAVY F4F Grumman Wildcat (carrier version) WWII plane off a tiny island where the surrounding reefs are home to some of the highest fish counts in the world. Stock up on the local currency to purchase the wood or stone carvings that the people of the Western Province are famous for.

DAY 16-19:
At sea
– Sailing northwards we pass along the coast of Bougainville where time spent on deck rewards with the rich diversity of whales that call the deep waters of the New Britain and Bougainville Trenches home including Sperm Whale, False Killer Whale, Fraser’s Dolphin and both Dwarf and Pygmy Sperm Whales. As we continue sailing north celebrate the important milestone of crossing the Equator with the captain and expedition guides.

DAY 20-21:
Caroline Islands
– We will enter the protected (and historic) waters of the Chuuk (Truk) Lagoon this morning. This spectacular and enormous coral-fringed lagoon shelters 15 towering volcanic islands and features lush rainforests, waterfalls, deserted beaches and tiny villages. In 1944, American bombers sunk 60 Japanese Imperial Navy vessels and aircraft, the wrecks of which have been transformed into world renowned reefs teeming with marine life. Snorkel this underwater paradise, explore idyllic white sand beaches or the island of Dublon.

DAY 22-25:
At sea
– More lazy relaxing days at sea. Just remember, ‘God does not deduct from one’s allotted life span time spent sailing’ so relax and enjoy. This area is good for cetaceans, especially Humpback Whales which are known to occur here in reasonable numbers.

DAY 26:
Chichi-jima Island
– The largest of Japan’s Bonin Islands, Chichi-jima is considered the ‘father island’ among an archipelago rightly described as the ‘Galapagos of the Orient’ and supported by its UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Explore pristine beaches, observe incredible wildlife and visit the village centre, there may also be an opportunity to see Minami-jima’s stone arch and the local Bottlenose and Spinner Dolphin populations.

DAY 27:
Torishima Island
– With its name literally translating to ‘bird island’ Torishima, an uninhabited 453-hectare volcanic islet, is an internationally-protected bird sanctuary and the largest breeding ground for the once thought extinct Short-tailed Albatross. While no landings are possible, we plan to circumnavigate this rocky outpost learning about the incredible conservation story behind this remarkable, endangered bird and the scientific debate surrounding whether it should be considered two species (Torishima-type and Senkaku-type).

DAY 28:
Hachijō-jima Island
– Located in the Izu Islands archipelago, Hachijo-jima is a picturesque subtropical volcanic island resplendent with palms, ferns and hibiscus. The island’s two main mountains are the volcanoes Mt Mihara, in the south-east, and Mt Nishi, in the north-west. While here we plan to visit the impressive tropical specimens at Hachijo Botanical Garden nestled in the natural forests of a lava field, and Nanbara-Senjoiwa Beach with its black plateau, created by the lava from eruptions of Mt. Hachijo-Fuji, stretching along its shoreline. For the more adventurous join a nature trek of Mt. Hachijo-Fuji before discovering the island’s culture and history at the Tama-Ishigaki cobblestone walls thought to have been built by exiled convicts.

DAY 29:
Yokohama, Japan
– After breakfast and arrival formalities have been completed in to Yokohama, we will disembark the vessel. There will be a complimentary transfer from the ship to Yokohama City Air Terminal. We ask you not to book any onward flights (Domestic or International) until mid-afternoon to account for any delays and the time it takes to travel to the airports. Note: During our voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed.

You might also like: