Bali to Cairns

onboard Heritage Adventurer

October 13 – November 1, 2024

Photo showing detail of Wilson's Bird of Paradise in Raja Ampat

The male Wilson’s Bird-of-Paradise sports brilliant colors and an iridescent, spiral curled tail that it uses to attract females. ©Jonathan Rossouw

Indonesia cruise photo of a Whale Shark

Whale Sharks are the largest fish in the sea—their white-spotted coloration makes these gentle giants easy to distinguish. ©Jonathan Rossouw

Indonesia cruise image showing Missal Island

One of Misool’s most stunning vistas, Yapap is a turquoise-green shallow lagoon adorned with impressive limestone karst formations. ©Kevin Clement

Indonesia cruise image of Komodo Dragon

Komodo Dragons have an excellent sense of smell and use their forked tongue instead of their nose to detect smells. ©Jonathan Rossouw

Reef scene from cruise Bali to Cairns

Immerse yourself amidst schools of brightly-colored reef fish as you snorkel among the world’s richest coral gardens. ©Giovanna Fasanelli

Indonesia cruise photo displaying multiple Ikats

The art of ikat weaving has been passed down through the generations and continues to have an important role in ceremonies and rituals.

Indonesia Cruise

Indonesia is made up of roughly 17,000 islands, and it’s been said that it would take a lifetime to visit each one. From the cacophony of Bali’s Denpasar, to the eerily calm, dragon-strewn beaches of Komodo Island; from the kaleidoscopic array of reef fish in Wakatobi Marine Park, to hulking Whale Sharks in Triton Bay. Navigate Indonesia’s island jewels from the comfort of the agile, 400-foot Heritage Adventurer. See prehistoric cave paintings and Red Birds-of-Paradise in Raja Ampat; be greeted by war chanting Asmat warriors in West Papua. Join Apex on this 20-day Indonesia Cruise that showcases the best this extraordinarily varied nation has to offer.
Globe Graphic showing Bali to Cairns cruise location
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    • Travel by Air
    • Travel by Road
    • Travel by Boat
    • Travel by Bullet Train
    • Travel by Rail
    • Travel by Dog Sled
    • Sunday, October 13: Arrive Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia

      Descend over Bali’s signature rice paddies and clifftop temples, and touch down in its bustling capital city. Transfer to your hotel and enjoy a welcome reception with your fellow travelers and expedition leaders. Dinner and overnight at Hyatt Regency Bali.

    • Monday, October 14: Denpasar

      Explore the cultural and historical delights of Bali through a city tour of Denpasar this morning. This afternoon, transfer to the port and embark the Heritage Adventurer, your home away from home for the next 17 nights. Toast with your captain to the adventure ahead as you set sail for Sumbawa Island.

    • Tuesday, October 15: Sumbawa Island

      Mountainous Sumbawa Island comprises part of Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands, along with Lombok and Bali. Historically divided between east (Bimanese speakers) and west (Sumbawanese speakers), this isolated island juxtaposes luxurious mansions alongside wooden huts, tangled jungles, and surf-perfect sandy beaches. Many of the old traditions are still alive, such as Water Buffalo racing and berempuk, a ritual boxing match. Today, meet some of the artisans that make the island’s famed hand-woven ikat fabric and attend a local tribal dance ceremony.

    • Wednesday, October 16: Komodo National Park

      Feast your eyes on the eponymous dragons of Komodo National Park, on the island of the same name in East Nusatenggara Province. Walk along forested pathways to safe viewing areas for a closer look at some of the park’s famed dragons. These prehistoric reptiles, the world’s largest lizards, can grow up to 10 feet in length and weigh up to 300 pounds. The surrounding forest is also home to Timor Deer, the favorite prey of the dragons, as well as elegant Yellow-crested Cockatoos. This afternoon, head to Komodo’s curious pink-hued beach for snorkeling, an experience often described as “swimming in an aquarium.”

    • Thursday, October 17: Wakatobi National Park

      Across the Flores Sea in Southeast Sulawesi, sits the national marine park of Wakatobi, comprising 5,400 square miles. Jacques Cousteau dived in hundreds of beautiful places but reserved the name “underwater nirvana” for Wakatobi, whose aquatic landscapes range from sea grass flats to breathtaking coral walls. Today, snorkel among an incredible array of tropical reef inhabitants. Highlights include a particularly high diversity of anemonefish species, Bumphead Parrotfish, Crocodilefish, and Dogtooth Tuna dashing in from the deep to hunt clouds of dazzling damsels.

    • Friday, October 18: Buru Island

      Across the Banda Sea lies forested Buru Island, in the Maluku Province. As it is located at the boundary between the biogeographic zones of Australia and Asia, Buru’s flora and fauna are particularly unique. A high proportion of the species of birds and mammals that occur here are found nowhere else, with ten endemic birds and four endemic mammals, as well as a number of near-endemic species. This morning, explore the forests and shores of Buru with an expert guide. Look for the Moluccan Flying Fox, as well as birds such as the Buru Green Pigeon, Buru Racket-tail, Buru Golden Bulbul, and Black-tipped Monarch. There is also an opportunity to visit nearby villages and get to know the locals.

    • Saturday–Monday, October 19–21: Raja Ampat

      Spend 2 days among the 1,500 jungle-cloaked islands that comprise Raja Ampat, known perhaps more for what goes on under its waters than on land. Part of the Coral Triangle, considered the most biodiverse marine habitat on earth, Raja Ampat is home to 600 species of hard coral and over 1,200 types of reef fish. Cruise in Zodiacs and snorkel to see pristine rainbow reefs packed with life—undulating masses of schooling fish, gliding sharks, Napoleon Wrasses, nudibranchs, and crustaceans galore. Visit islands early in the mornings to witness the courtship dances of Raja Ampat’s two endemic Birds-of-Paradise: the raucous Red, and the brilliant Wilson’s, considered by some to be the world’s most spectacular bird. Other activities include beachcombing, village visits and forest walks.

    • Tuesday, October 22: Misool Island

      Misool is the second largest island of the “Four Kings” of Raja Ampat. Once a Dutch colony, its inhabitants managed to maintain their rich heritage and traditional way of life to an impressive degree. Here, unlike the other islands of Raja Ampat, terrestrial treasures abound. More than 1,000 prehistoric rock paintings have been discovered in an intricate cave system. Walk through the caves with paintings depicting marine fauna and early man. Hike up to viewing platforms to enjoy spectacular vistas of the heart-shaped lagoon of Karawapop. This afternoon, dive into the protected waters to seek Hawksbill Turtles, swirling batfish and barracuda, and iridescent clouds of anthias, or “sea goldies”, among spectacular soft coral gardens and sea-cave cemeteries.

    • Wednesday, October 23: Bomberai Peninsula

      Another crossing of the Seram Sea, this time toward the east, will bring you to the seldom-visited Bomberai Peninsula in West Papua. Lush tropical forest blankets the hills, which rise abruptly to the remote Kumafa Mountains. Signature turquoise waters lap the karst limestone cliffs. Enjoy a hike in the forest before snorkeling offshore among a dizzying plethora of colorful fish.

    • Thursday, October 24: Triton Bay

      Further down the Bomberai Peninsula lies Triton Bay, with its iconic Whale Sharks, some of them topping out at school bus size. This morning, visit the local fishermen’s bagans—handmade floating platforms—where these filter-feeders are known to feed on fish scraps beneath the purse seine nets. Swimming in close proximity to these gentle giants is an experience that will not soon be forgotten. This afternoon, drop anchor off Aiduma, one of Indonesia’s least-touched islands. This will be a snorkeling highlight, as you discover dazzling coral forests teeming with dinner plate-sized Blue-ring and Six-bar Angelfish, lionfish, and more.

    • Friday, October 25: Etna Bay

      Just east of Aiduma Island and jutting into the southeastern-most corner of West Papua is the fjord-like Etna Bay. Climb into Zodiacs to venture deep along the forested shores. Local mythology claims that Indonesia’s legendary Garuda bird lives in the jagged mountains surrounding the atmospheric bay. Watch for enormous Blyth’s Hornbills flapping overhead and scan the cliffs for an array of endemic ground orchids and insectivorous pitcher plants.

    • Saturday & Sunday, October 26 & 27: Asmat Villages

      Ten thousand square miles of mangrove forest, bamboo, and sago palms have long sheltered the southern Papuan Asmat region from outsiders. In fact, the infamous headhunters and cannibals of the Asmat tribes have only been safe to visit for a few decades. At high tide, the ship can enter a shallow channel of the Flamingo River to anchor near the village of Agats. Venture by Zodiac further into the tangled riverine terrain, home to Torresian Imperial Pigeons, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and bright Red-collared Lorikeets. As you head upstream, villagers in elaborate war paint will paddle toward you in intricately carved canoes, whooping and chanting to escort you ashore. A walk along elevated wooden boardwalks will lead to a museum with displays of drums, body masks, shields and skulls, and a cathedral with superb carvings. Asmat woodcarvings are renowned for their expressive motifs and are widely considered by collectors and scholars to be among the world’s finest.

    • Monday, October 28: At Sea

      Voyage southward today across the Arafura Sea to Far North Queensland, Australia. Join your naturalists on deck to search for dolphins, flying fish, marine turtles, and seabirds. Attend lectures to learn about the natural and cultural history of the upcoming Torres Strait Islands.

    • Tuesday, October 29: Thursday Island, Australia

      Thursday Island is the administrative center of the Torres Strait Islands, Australia’s most northerly frontier, comprised of over 274 islands scattered between Queensland and Papua New Guinea. Settled in the late 19th century, it was known early on for its good pearling, mainly by Japanese divers. During WWII, Australian and American troops were stationed at the base here. Today, explore the sleepy town. Visit Gab Titui Cultural Center to see historical artifacts alongside contemporary Indigenous artworks. Peruse jewelry and art studios as you make your way up to Green Hill Fort. Built in 1893 to guard against the threat of a Russian invasion, the fort then became military headquarters during WWII. Today, its network of underground tunnels houses the Torres Strait Historical Museum, which you can tour before taking in the sweeping views over the harbor and beyond from the fort’s grounds.

    • Wednesday, October 30: At Sea

      Enjoy another day at sea as you make your way to Port Moresby. Attend lectures and a final recap. Out on deck, scan for seabirds and marine life.

    • Thursday, October 31: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea / Cairns, Australia

      Arrive this morning in Port Moresby, the bustling capital of Papua New Guinea. Disembark and head to the National Museum and Arts Center, the best overview you can get of Papua New Guinea’s rich Indigenous culture. The museum houses one of the finest collections of primitive art in the world, including musical instruments, body adornments, ceremonial kundu and garamut drums, seafaring equipment, and more. Enjoy lunch in town before heading to the airport for your flight to Cairns. This evening, reconvene at your hotel in Cairns to share memories and photos of the remarkable adventure at a farewell dinner. Dinner and overnight at Shangri-La The Marina, Cairns.

    • Friday, November 1: Cairns / Home

      After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your independent flights home.


    • October 13 – November 1, 2024
    • Leaders Jonathan Rossouw, Matt Boyle, Dan Olsen & Liam Rainier
    • Rates starting from $17,740 per person Rate details
    • 20 days Trip Length
    • 140 guests (onboard Heritage Adventurer
    • Bali Start
    • Cairns End
    The Apex Expeditions rate includes, as noted in the itinerary, a welcome reception in Bali, with local beer and wine included; full drinks package onboard the vessel, which includes select wines, standard beer, standard cocktails, soft drinks, and sparkling water; all gratuities; all landing fees; one overnight in Cairns; a farewell dinner in Cairns, with local beer and wine included; and all transfers. In addition, the voyage rate includes an overnight in Bali; a welcome dinner in Bali; accommodations and meals onboard Heritage Adventurer, the post-voyage flight from Port Moresby to Cairns; all activites and excursions as described in the itinerary; services of four Apex expedition leaders, as well as the full Heritage Expeditions lecture and expedition team.

    Call us to reserve your spot on this exciting expedition!

    Have a question? Call us at 206.669.9272 / 800.861.6425. Prefer online?

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    slide of expedition leader Jonathan Rossouw

    Jonathan Rossouw

    Seek an amazing abundance of bird species as you explore lush tropical forest with Jonathan.

    Matt Boyle

    Matt will share his expertise for the coral gardens and array of tropical reef fish you’ll discover.

    Dan Olsen

    Join Dan on deck to search for dolphins, flying fish, sea turtles, seabirds, and other marine life.
    Apex Expeditions image of field leader Liam Rainier

    Liam Rainier

    Observe Komodo Dragons and Moluccan Flying Foxes with Liam and learn about their forest habitats.
    binocular icon show facts about Bali to Cairns

    Stealth, Power, and a Venomous Bite

    Said to be the closest living relative to dinosaurs, Komodo Dragons are the biggest, heaviest lizards in the world today—and one of the few with a venomous bite. Full-grown adults can reach 10 feet long and weigh about 150 pounds. These stealthy, powerful hunters rely on their sense of smell to detect a potential meal, using their long, forked tongues to sample the air. Komodo Dragons have 60 razor-sharp teeth that are its deadliest weapon. If the dragon is able to bite its prey, bacteria and venom in its saliva will kill the prey within a few days. The Komodo Dragon’s stomach expands easily, enabling an adult to consume up to 80 percent of its own body weight in a single meal.