Sally Patten, Sophisticated Traveller Feb 2015

A journey around Papua New Guinea's remote northern islands combines luxury cruising with the chance to experience - and contribute to - traditional village life, writes Sally Patten.

The first person I meet as we embark on our 2100 kilometre journey around the northern islands of Papua New Guinea is a boat builder - of the super variety. Mark Stothard's current project is building an 84-metre trimaran, the largest of its kind in the world, for a Singaporean billionaire. As it turns out, True North, the boat that will take us cruising around this remote group of PNG islands, is one of  Stothard's former creations, built with business partner Craig Howson. It is technically not a super yacht, but the 50-metre monohull fetaures a helipad, complete with 7 seater helicopter, six tenders and accommodation for 36 passengers and 20 crew.

The 11-night Sepik Soiree Cruise is one of extreme contrasts. A sumptuous lunch of crisy-skinned salmon and a beetroot, pistachio and rocket salad - in air conditioned comfort - is followed by a visit to a village with no power, where the contents of the evening meal depend almost exclusively on what has been caught, picked or grown. Snorkelling off a coral reef that falls away like the face of a cliff into a mass of deep royal blue is followed by snorkelling in a shallow fish bowl where orange, black and white clownfish anxiously guard their offspring. For divers among the group, tropical fish are replaced by schools of giant trevally and tuna. For all of us, bright sunshine turns into tropical downpours and, soon enough, back to brilliant sunshine. Late one afternoon, we watch a rainstorm move across the horizon. The sky is not so much 50, but 100 shades of grey. The following morning, the rising sun turns the colour of the water to fairy floss.

Please see the following link for the full article: AFR Life Leisure Sally Patten 6 February

AFR, Life & Leisure, Sally Patten, 6 February

AFR Life Leisure Sally Patten 6 February-3

AFR Life Leisure Sally Patten 6 February-2