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Oceania: The Oceania Full Monty

National Geographic Adventure picks the 25 best new outfitted trips.
Text by Bonnie Tsui



Antarctica  |  Fiji  |  New Zealand  |  Oceania

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Go Wild
The macro display of attractions in Micronesia and Melanesia has baffled outfitters and tourists trying to see it all. Until now. Zegrahm & Eco Expeditions' exclusive new itinerary hits the water world's full range of options in the Western South Pacific. Traveling from Papua New Guinea, the Clipper Odysseya 110-passenger ship ideal for small-scale exploration—sails the rugged tropical coastlines of Palau and the Yap Islands, where locals voyage between atolls in outrigger canoes, steering by the sun and stars. "Yap's traditional villages are reached only by the sea and remain nearly untouched by tourism," says Casey Marker, marketing director for Zegrahm & Eco Expeditions. In the equatorial seas, divers cruise 80-degree (27-degree Celsius) waters in the company of blue-banded surgeonfish, butterflyfish, and squaretail mullet. Underwater grottoes filled with grouper await snorkelers in the Marshall Bennetts. Five years ago the outfitter made the first ever visit by an international passenger vessel to the Tsoi Islands; next year islanders welcome guests back with performances by the village choir. While there, seek out the megapode, a distinct—and threatened—Australasian ground bird, which piles earth a foot high to incubate its eggs. The Clipper Odyssey's final ports of call include coral atolls surrounded by bottlenose dolphins, islets inhabited by sea turtles, and Koror, the capital of Palau. From there you can hike through pristine forest to snorkel in Jellyfish Lake, where, happily, the massive jellyfish have evolved through biological isolation to nonstinging status.

Vitals

Outfitter:
Zegrahm & Eco Expeditions (www.zeco.com)

Price: $8,380

Length: 16 days

Departs: May

Antarctica  |  Fiji  |  New Zealand  |  Oceania

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