Authentic New Caledonia - 10 Days / 9 Nights
Tour Code: NCP08
Take your time to discover the Grande Terre at your own pace, right to the ends of the earth. Relax in charming homestays and bungalows, nestled in lovely greenery, where comfort rhymes with local culture. Enjoy the excursions into the countryside while discovering the many facets of New Caledonia’s waterways. Meet the local population in all their diversity. From the Caledonian culture of the Caldoches on the West Coast to the Melanesian culture on the East Coast tribes – the New Caledonian ‘outback’ awaits you with open arms. Arouse your taste buds! Delight in the flavours of local produce while at the dinner table of homestays or at the great places we suggest for you.
Day 1: Noumea - Paita (35 km / 40 min)
Pick up your car hire direclty from your hotel.
Drive to Port Moselle and wander around the local markets (closed on Mondays). Take in the different sights and fragrances of the exotic fruit and vegetables on the stalls that will give you a taste of the diversity and intensity of the Pacific cuisine and the diversity of fish and shellfish that can be found in the surrounding lagoon. On Sundays local bands play at the markets and add to the Pacific atmosphere.
At lunchtime, we suggest that you eat nearby at the “Assiette du Cagou” restaurant and experience the authentic local cuisine.
In the afternoon, admire the picturesque central city square known as the “Place des Cocotiers” – Coconut Square. We suggest you to visit the City Museum (Musée de la Ville) and learn about New Caledonia’s colonial history.
Then head north to Païta.
When you arrive at your homestay (check in from 2pm) your hosts will greet you with a fruit juice to refresh you after your short drive.
The homestay is at the heart of a large private property that spans over 1 hectare at the foot of Mont Mou, amidst a flourishing garden and surrounded by streams and forests. You can relax and recharge your batteries in this slice of paradise while listening to the beautiful birds’ songs and the murmuring of the water in the neighbouring streams. It is an idyllic location for a lovely stay and will give you a hint of New Caledonia’s ‘outback’.
Your hosts will be pleased to share their inside knowledge of New Caledonia with you, so feel free to ask for their advice.
Dinner at the homestay. (Not available on Sunday)
Accommodation at the Lézard Home Homestay in a bungalow room (for 2 persons) or in a “Pomme Cannelle” (Annona squamosal) Bungalow (for 3 or 4 persons).
* The « Nature and Culture » Pass includes entry for one person to 6 essential sites in Noumea: Territorial Museum of New Caledonia, City Museum, Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center, Zoological and Forest Park, Maritime Museum and the Aquarium of the Lagoons.
Day 2: Paita - La Foa (86 km / 1h)
A boat trip through mangroves
La Foa / Bourail (60 km / 50 min)
Breakfast at the homestay.
7:00am - Head north on the West Coast road that will take you past long stretches of Niaouli tree savannahs – very typical for the West Coast of New Caledonia’s Grande Terre. Also typical of this coast are the cattle farms that you will see along the way with their ‘stockmen’ – New Caledonian's use this Australian term to describe their ‘cowboys of the Pacific’.
Stop during your drive at Boulouparis (75km north of Noumea) to visit the Niaouli distillery – Niaouli is a type of eucalyptus tree used frequently in local traditional remedies and whose essence can be found in perfumes, at chemists and even in confectionary!
Jump back in the car and drive up to La Foa which is famous for its Passerelle Marguerite (bridge) that was built over a century ago by followers of Gustave Eiffel). La Foa also has wonderful large Kanak sculptures in front of the public gardens at the heart of the town and is renowned for its annual Cinema Festival that attracts renowned French actors and directors.
Then drive to the table d’hôte « La petite ferme » (the small farm) at La Foa for a lunch (included). With nearly 20 year experience in welcoming tourists, a nice farming couple opens you the doors of their agricultural property, a human-sized cattle farm (54 hectares).
To make you comfortable in this rural environment, let your French and English-speaking host take you on a tour of the property and the agricultural installations.
Here, the poultry skip freely and the animals of the farm (ostriches, horses, rabbits, pigs, deers, hinds, goats) delight the curiosity of the young and old.
For lunch, the table d'hôte is set under the faré. Feast on delicious home-made dishes, cooked from products of the farm and celebrate flavours of the local country.
In the afternoon, we suggest you to drive up to Moindou (20km / 15-minute drive north of La Foa) to visit Fort Teremba. This place is a former penitentiary and military base that has been well restored and is surrounded by Niaouli savannahs (entry fee not included in the package).
Drive to Bourail.
When you see the meandering and gentle La Néra River, bordered by shaded pastures where cattle graze, you will know that you have reached the capital of Caldoche country. Bourail is famous for its annual Foire Agricole (agricultural fair) and rodeos that bring in huge crowds (mid-August). After the bridge, turn left then follow the river towards the Roche Percée.
Arrival at your homestay – check in after 4pm.
The holiday cottage – Poe Cote Lagon – is located on Poe Beach. Two Bungalows facing the magnificent lagoon are well equipped for two people.
Dinner at the homestay Poe Cote Lagon.
Night in a bungalow at Poe Cote Lagon guest house.
Day 3: Bourail / Ouaco (180 km / 2h10)
Breakfast at the homestay Poe Cote Lagon.
Leave in the morning to discover the natural site named the ‘Roche Percée’ (the Pierced Rock) and the Bonhomme de Bourail (the Bourail ‘Man’) rock formation. The coastline offers the visitor a mix of cliffs that drop into the sea and bays of long white-sand beaches that are surrounded by majestic pine trees, all the while facing the lagoon that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This area is also well known for its surfing spots.
We suggest that you take a walk along the Three Bays Path (Sentier des trois baies) – a 3.5km /1 ½ hour walk) – to better appreciate the Bonhomme - a monolith shaped by the wind and the sea that represents the guardian of the ‘gates of the dead’ for the local Kanaks, the Baie des Tortues (Turtle Bay) – where turtles come to lay their eggs each year, and the secret Baie des Amoureux (Lover’s Bay).
Another suggestion is to walk the Botanical Path through the Cyca Forest (2km / 40 minutes – the path is signposted). You should climb up to the Roche Percée belvedere with its view of the Bourail Pass, Turtle Bay and île Verte that will take your breath away. From this viewpoint you can see the Notre-Dame-des-Flots statue in the distance that is believed to protects ships.
Lunch at leisure.
As you head up to Ouaco after lunch, we recommend you to stop at Voh (150km north of Bourail) to visit the Coffee Ecomuseum (there is no entry fee but you do need to pay for tastings - closed on Monday).
Your route will take you through the long dry zones of northern New Caledonia. The mountain ranges on your right are scarred by the nickel mining industry, which is the main income source for New Caledonia. This ‘green gold’ as it is known, was first discovered by the French geologist Jules Garnier in 1870.
Arrival at your homestay (check in from 4pm).
A friendly welcome awaits you on this homestead that spans over 100 hectares where the animals live in total freedom. The large homestay is built in a mountain refuge style and will give you an authentic experience of New Caledonian outback life.
Dinner at the homestay.
Accommodaton at the Deer Refuge (Réfuge du Cerf) in a bungalow.
Day 4: Ouaco - Poingam (115 km / 1h15)
Continental breakfast at the homestay.
Take a walk around the homestead’s sprawling lands to discover the flora that is specific to the area, as well as the endemic trees and dry forest. You will have the opportunity to see deer and their fawns, peacocks and perhaps even Caledonian crows that are reputed to be the most intelligent of their species.
Alternatively you can just relax in the 18m pool that overlooks the lagoon!
Then drive north to Poingam. You will see the large and wild plains of the far north as the road meanders between bald hills.
Discover the beaches of the end of the earth such as Néhoué Bay, and we suggest that you stop off to visit the village of Poum that languishes along the waterfront.
Over the last kilometres, the tar sealed road is replaced by a dirt track that traverses original landscapes of wild nature.
Arrival at the Relais de Poingam (check in from 3pm).
A feeling of tranquility will come over you when you arrive at this little piece of paradise in the extreme North of New Caledonia’s Grande Terre.
The Relais de Poingam is located near the spot named Boat Pass (the most northern part of the Grande Terre) and the magnificent Nennon Beach. It is an original place to stay located next to turquoise waters.
Your hosts built this haven of peace in an intimate setting and the 8 bungalows are perfectly integrated into the surrounding nature. The food is delicious and renowned for using local produce in a convivial atmosphere.
Dinner at the homestay.
Accommodation at the Relais de Poingam in a Bungalow.
Day 5: Poingam
Breakfast at the Relais de Poingam.
Enjoy a fulll day to explore the site and its surrounds.
There are a number of sign posted educational walkways that you can take around the area that will allow you to discover the natural essence plants, the salt flats at Kô that have been recently restored, observe the many bird species or take in the magnificent scenery from the viewpoints. You might even catch a glimpse of the wild horses that live peacefully in the rugged surrounds.
You can relax beside the seawater pool, on the beach or go as far as Boat Pass.
Dinner at the Relais de Poingam.
We recommend that you order a picnic lunch for the next day’s excursion (not included).
Accommodation at the Relais de Poingam in a bungalow.
Day 6: Poingam - Hienghene (195 km / 2h45)
A boat trip around the Hienghène Bay
Breakfast at the Relais de Poingam.
In the morning, drive towards the East Coast which is spectacular and luxuriant with plenty of places to stop and admire the view. This drive will take you over the Col de Crève-Coeur (Heartbreak Peak), and the Col d’Amos (Amos Peak) with its panoramic views. As you travel towards Hienghène, you will follow the ‘New Caledonian cornice’ between the sea and the mountains, through the historic site of Balade and past the Colnett and Tao waterfalls.
You will cross the Ouaième River on a picturesque barge that takes a couple of minutes. This barge is a vestige of the past and is the last one still operating in New Caledonia.
Then continue your drive until you reach Hienghène.
Free lunch (picnic on the way or at Hienghène – not included).
2pm - Boat trip around the Hienghène Bay (2 hours)
Meeting at the diving centre.
This trip begins by the sea where you can admire majestic cliffs of Lindéralique before to pass at the foot of the famous "brooden Hen" and discover the bay and the village of Hienghène.
Then, you will join the river, where the mangrove swamp decorates the river banks of its tied vegetation. You can perceive the various sorts of mangroves (trees with roots stilts). Traditional outriggers, houses at the water's edge and traditional fishermen, bear witness to the lifestyle in tribe.
French comments and anecdotes will be given to you throughout the trip. (Tour not available in English)
Arrival at the Lodge (closed on Sunday).
With bungalows perched on the village heights, facing the marina and the Hienghène River, the Ka Waboana Eco-Lodge offers an exceptional panoramic view. A stay at Ka Waboana Gite is all about indulging in a true local New Caledonia experience in the heart of nature.
Dinner at the lodge’s restaurant (3 course menu).
Accommodation in a superior bungalow at the Ka Waboana Lodge (for 2 persons) or in a family bungalow (for 3 or 4 persons).
Day 7: Hienghene - Poindimie (72 km / 1h)
Visit of the Kanak Tribe
Breakfast at Ka Waboana Lodge.
Drive south to Poindimié.
9am - Meet your French-speaking guide at his welcome hut in Poindimié before driving to a tribe (the tribe will depend on availability) for a visit of the traditional Melanesian hut (called a "case") and participate to the customary gesture.
In the tribe, you will be introduced to the coutume which is a pillar of Melanesian culture. It is a codified expression of consideration that is carried out in a simple manner with an elder of the tribe (the Petit Chef ‘Little Chief’ or Grand Chef ‘Big Chief’ depending on availabilty), or even with your host.
You will be invited to offer a gift* to establish a privileged relationship with the people who host you and to show respect for their culture and traditions. The important part of a coutume is the gesture, more so than the cost of the objects given. A verbal exchange will follow the gift giving before you are welcomed onto their lands. Your guide will present you with a handmade woven hat, and you will enjoy fresh coconut water.
Then you will watch the preparation of the bougna, a traditional dish made with different local vegetables (yams, taros, sweet potatoes, cassava…) and fish or meat to which fresh coconut milk is added before being wrapped in banana-tree leaves and cooked slowly in an underground oven covered by hot stones. While this delicious dish is being cooked, your guide will take you to visit a typical Melanesian ‘case’ or hut and explain the intricacies of its construction and its symbolic meaning.
Your guide will explain the tribal way of life, their traditional culture and customs and the workings of a chiefdom. Then you will be taken to visit the yam field – a sacred root vegetable for Melanesians – and you will discover the local flora and medicinal plants.
Bougna tasting (included) in the tribe at the end of your visit.
Lunch at leisure.
Arrival at the Néwejie gîte.
The gîte is located 2.5km up the Ina Valley and is nestled in quiet surroundings. You will be taken in by the gîte’s spicy colours, natural wood and Bali influences.
You are free to dine where you choose.Our suggestion is to book dinner at Simone’s Table d’hôte (small B&B style of dining) at Nessapoué which is only 5 minute driving from your gîte – you will need to book in advance. (Not included)
Accommodation at the Néwejie Gîte in a superior bungalow (with individual sanitary amenites outside of the room ; for 2 or 3 persons) or in a comfort bungalow (with common sanitary amenites outside of the room; for 4 persons)
* The items required for a customary gesture (long piece of material called a ‘manou’ / tabacco / packet of rice / packet of sugar) are provided for you in your package. It is possible for participants to bring their own gift (such as a souvenir from your home country, a tee-shirt or food…)
Day 8: Poindimie
A Robinson Crusoe-type day on an island
Continental breakfast at your gîte.
7.30am - Meet at the Poindimié pier and climb aboard the boat that will take you and your guide to îlot Tibarama (Tibarama Island). This island is a 10 minute cruise from the shore and is covered in century old trees that are quite exceptional.
Have a wander around the island and discover the flora and fauna on the botanical path. When back at the ‘campsite’, you can drink from green coconuts and share a non-alcoholic aperitif that will be waiting for you.
You can participate in preparing the ‘outback’-style lunch: help build a campfire, husk and rasp a coconut to extract the liquid, make a raw-fish salad, look after the barbecue.
You will be initiated in the techniques of traditional fishing: casting the net, laying the fishing net and driving the fish into the nets.
Your guide will demonstrate how to climb a coconut tree then it will be your turn to have a go, if you want!
After lunch you can relax on the island before heading back to the mainland around 4pm.
Your choice of dinner plans.
We recommend the restaurant at the Tiéti Hotel in Poindimié – a 15 minute drive from your gîte. (Not included in the package)
Accommodation at the Néwejie Gîte in a superior bungalow (with individual sanitary amenites outside of the room ; for 2 or 3 persons) or in a comfort bungalow (with common sanitary amenites outside of the room ; for 4 persons)
Day 9: Poindimie - Sarramea (200km / 2h40)
Continental breakfast at your gîte.
Leave the East Coast in the morning and head south in the direction of Sarraméa via the Houailou-Bourail traverse road.
This very picturesque route goes along the waterfront, takes you through several villages and tribes and over the mouths of majestic rivers before climbing up and over the ‘La Chaîne’ - the mountainous relief that stretches from the north to the south of the Grande Terre – at the Col des Roussettes (Fruit Bat Peak). The road then descends into the grassy plains of the West Coast.
Lunch at leisure.
Suggestion n°1 - If you like, you can experience nature at the Parc des Grandes Fougères (Great Ferns Park) – entry fee not included. This park is situated in Farino, the least populated and highest settlement in New Caledonia. It offers a diverse range of ecosystems that are crowned by large tree ferns. There are many pathways throughout the park for walking or biking. There are no cafés in the park so you will need to purchase your picnic lunch (not included) before arriving at the park – in Bourail for example.
Suggestion n°2 - Excursion in Sarraméa. There are a number of activities available to you in Sarraméa: treks on a quad bike or horse ride, visit the Fonwhary orchard (booking necessary – not included), swim at the Trou Feuillet (Feuillet swimming hole). You can have lunch at La Foa or at Mamie Fogliani’s guest house in Farino (advance booking necessary – not included in the package).
Arrival at your B&B.
Rooms are available in this beautiful family home that sits on a 70 hectare wooded property which used to be a coffee plantation. There are also two Melanesian-style bungalows that adjoin the main building and that have striking four-poster wooden beds in a decorative style inspired from the colonial era.
You are free for dinner and we would recommend dining at Délices des Jumelles where you eat in the faré. Advance booking is essential. (Not included in the package)
Accommodation at the Domaine de Méranki in a Melanesian Bungalow (private amenities outside of the bungalow ; for 2 or 3 persons) or in the tall guest room (for 4 persons)
Day 10: Sarramea - Noumea (130 km / 2h)
Continental breakfast at the Domaine de Méranki.
Drive back to Noumea.
Return your rental car to one of the following places:
Magenta Domestic Airport - if you are extending you trip and travelling to the islands
At your hotel in Noumea
At Tontouta International Airport (extra tax airport, not included in package's rates)
Authentic New Caledonia - 10 Days / 9 Nights
from $2,319 per person, twin share
Your Holiday Includes:
Accommodation in the hotels, gîtes and guesthouses, as mentioned
Daily Breakfasts as stated in the programme
Dinners (Days 1 - 6 inclusive), as stated in the programme
Lunch (Days 2, 7 & 8 inclusive), as stated in the programme
Rental car on the Grande Terre, Days 1-10, comprehensive insurance cover and unlimited kilometres, Category B car (Auto - Ford Fiesta or similar) for 2 persons
The excursions indicated in the programme
Not included in this program:
Dinners (Days 7-10 inclusive) and drinks (unless otherwise stated)
Lunch (Days 1, 3-6, 9 & 10 inclusive) and drinks (unless otherwise stated)
Visits not mentioned or suggested in the programme (Niaouli distillery, Fort Teremba, Coffee EcoMuseum, Parc des Grandes Fougères…)
Deposit for rental cars
Want to extend your holiday?
We can assist you to book your return flights from Australia to Nouméa with our competitive airfares. Just send us an email with your requirements and we’ll get back to you with a quote.
We do not recommend our clients to stay in gîtes on the following dates: 24, 25, 31 December and 1 January. Excursions are combined activities (other customers may participate) and require a minimum of 2 participants.
*Prices are in Australian Dollars, subject to availability at time of booking and for new bookings only.
The above prices are per person twin-share and valid for travel and booking until 31 March 2020.
Blackout dates: From 17 December 2019 to 02 February 2020.
Discounts are already included in costs. All prices are subject to change at any time without notice.
Conditions, amendment and cancellation fees apply. Travel insurance is strongly recommended.