3 days in the Great South
Book a flight to Noumea and from that capital city you can be in New Caledonia’s South in half an hour. This land of red soils exemplifies all of New Caledonia’s contrasts: wild, unspoilt nature existing side by side with the impact of human presence, from its tropical forests to the unique mining scrubland.
Discover the "Rivière bleue" and the "Forêt noyée"
Meeting with an endemic fauna and flora
After your long flight to Noumea, a walk in the magnificent Parc de la Rivière Bleue (Blue Forest Park) is a must. First you will cross the surrounding area of Monte-Dore to reach the provincial Rivière Bleue park, located some 60 kilometres from the capital city and spread out over more than 20,000 hectares. It is here that you will have the best chance of spotting the kagu, the bird, which has come to be regarded as a Caledonian national symbol.
Hiking excursions in the heartland of a natural environment
The park includes many rivers, two of which flow into the artificial lake Yaté. The first few kilometres along the Rivière Blanche (White River) are accessible to cars, these eventually give way to tracks reserved exclusively for walkers and cyclists. The different routes are signposted according to level of difficulty. The fittest explorers can reach the so-called « Haute Rivière Bleue » », which boasts some of the county’s thickest forests. Don’t forget to bring your swimming costume so you can refresh yourself with a dip in one of the lovely waterfalls, such as the Cascade Les Cornes du Diable (Devil’s Horns).
The Rivière Bleue by your canoe
Along the course of the Rivière Bleue, a dam was contructed in the late 1950’s, upstream from Yaté lake. For an outing on the lake, you can rent a kayak or join a canoe excursion. Amongst other pleasures, you can explore the amazing, mystical Forêt Noyée (Flooded Forest), with its sunken trees sticking out of the water. The company Aventure Pulsion offers nightime kayak excursions to further discover this enchanted world. And a moonlit night will undoubtably provide the perfect setting for getting to know this charming abode of magic and poetry.
To the Heart of the Madeleines Waterfalls
A change of scenery in the Great South
With your flight to New Caledonia, you can enjoy the Parc de la Rivière Bleue, one of the Great South’s natural reserves, a site whose extraordinary character guarantees you a complete break from the known world. The Chutes de la Madeleine (Madeleine Waterfalls) reserve is yet another botanical paradise. Those cyclists who have already whetted their appetite on the Parc de la Riviere Bleue’s VTT tracks will find something similar in the Netcha Runs
Accessible hikes for all
Yet that does not detract in the least from the charm and beauty of this place. A botanical path in the middle of the reserve will allow you to discover some of the many species of plants, which have been noted here. The site is easily accessible; the trail crosses part of the reserve in less than half an hour and allowing you take in considerable information about different botanical species. You might be interested to know that 95% of the plants here in the reserve are endemic; that is to say they grow only in New Caledonia.
To be your Robinson Crusoe on the Prony Bay and the îlot Casy
A hot spot of New Caledonian biodiversity
Named after Admiral Joseph Casy in 1854, this little isle is a compact world of vegetation in its purest state. Some years ago the ruins of a colonial building, a former hotel, stood here. The building has since been knocked down, allowing nature to take back its domain. Surrender to the tempation of a little underwater excursion with a diving mask and swimming costume to appreciate the coral and fish. If you are lucky, you might also catch at a glimpse of some turtles. Back on land, the isle has numerous signposted trails, permitting you to peruse a great variety of plants and flowers, including several species of orchids.
Prony Bay is the departure point for boat excursions to observe humpback whales, which come to mate in the waters of the Lagoon from mid-July to mid-September. If you wish to see these amazing mammals from the shore, take the track to the Cap N’Dua Reserve, which has an observatory equipped for long-distance viewing.