Place

Upside down in New Caledonia, Grande Terre

July 15, 2017

 

It was April 2015, we were trying to make up our mind about our honeymoon! We were looking for something unusual, far away from mainstream destinations.

Having decided to spend the first 10 days of our honeymoon in Japan, we sat around our world globe and ended up staring at it! We were looking for an unusual destination, far away from commercial tours and honeymoon packages were to unwind a little bit.

We stumbled upon a remote island, at the bottom right of the globe (according to my point of view!), it was New Caledonia: discovered in 1774 by James Cook, 15,000 km2 of lagoon listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the most beautiful marine environment in the world and a level of endemism unique on the earth. A vibrant multicultural heritage: the native Kanak people and the many communities from all around Europe, Asia, Polynesia and from other islands.

After ten days around Japan, we flew to Noumea from Osaka with a 9-hours non-stop flight (Aircalin). We were going to have only 7 days to discover the New Caledonia, with the unavoidable Noumea, the economic centre of new Caledonia where most of the population live, the characteristic red soil of the South, the West coast considered as the Caledonian wild west and to enjoy with a bit of spontaneity the color of the natural swimming pool in Ile of Pines, aka “the island closest to paradise!

We decided to rent a car (next time it will be a 4×4 car!) and we started our trip heading up north, all along the west coast, from the further south were the coast seems to belong to the American far west, region of cowboys and agricultural cultivation, to dry and moon-like beauty of the northern tip. We visited Bourail, La Foa and in between we stumbled upon the traces left by the penitentiary administration at the Fort Teremba at Moindu. We bumped into the local people in Sarraméa.

We found ourselves alone at the Baia des Tortues as well as at Roche Percée. We didn’t book any hotel, sure that we would have easily found a place, but we actually struggled to find any. Suddenly we stumbled upon the brand-new Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Resort & SPA, by that time it was the unique beach resort in the country. We enjoyed the amazing swimming pool, a late-night swim in the ocean one step from our chalet, a culinary journey at The Reed restaurant.

Woken up in Poe Beach, 13km of white, sandy, South Pacific beach, after an early-morning swim, we drove all the way back, heading south. Here we regretted not having a 4WD, the roads are either dirt road or presented huge potholes everywhere, narrow roads most of the way and furthermore road signs are almost non-existent, we got lost quite often!

Despite the unpleasant road conditions, Le Grand Sud  is the part we enjoyed the most, the change of scene is remarkable: an explosion of breath-taking bright colors, blue for lakes and rivers, green for its rainforest vegetation and red for its ground and in five hour drive we met five  cars. The Parc Provincial de la riviere Bleue is worth a visit as well as the Chutes de la Madeleine and the scenery of the Lac Yatè you will drive along heading far south.

We have been told Prony is worth a visit as well, where divers can enjoy the most incredible experience exploring a unique site, but we didn’t stop there because by the time we were back to civilisation, it was night and Le Méridien Noumea was waiting to welcome us for our last night: our trip around La Grande Terre was over, Ile des Pins was calling!


Places | Things i like:

New Caledonia Tourism | www.newcaledonia.travel

Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Resort & Spa | www.sheratonnewcaledoniadeva.com

Le Méridien Noumea | www.lemeridiennoumea.com

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