During our stay in Grande-Terre, New-Caledonia’s mainland, we decided to go to Blue River National Park at south and Boulouparis at north. Unfortunately, as we lacked of time, we could not go further and did not see other very recommended places like Hienghene, Foe, Bourail, Vao…New Caledonia is obviously well know for the remote and paradisiac islands of Loyalty archipelago and Pine islands, Grande Terre is also the opportunity to discover nature wonder such and not only the capital Noumea. “Grand Sud” as said in Kanak land is a unique place in South Pacific and not to be missed if you are luck enough to go to New-Caledonia.
Road trip to Boulouparis
We rent a car in Noumea, many agencies are located in the city center but we advise you to rent well in advance, during festive season mainly as you won’t be the only one looking to rent a car…A few minutes after, you are away of Noumea, leaving the suburbs of Paita and Mont Dore to find the “brousse”, New-Caledonia’s bush. Roads are well maintained, no problems are our first stop is Boulouparis, north of Noumea. The small city is almost empty and we drive straight to the coast. Not easy to swim over there, with a rugged and rocky terrain, but a good bushwalk. Many cities are not populated, almost like ghost town as most of the local people either leave in the Noumea city (and suburbs) or in individual houses or tribes in the “brousse”, in cattle stations (descendants of French prisoners in the XIXth century are called “caldoches” and most of them own gigantic cattle stations in the countryside).
On the road again!
Blue River National Park
The Blue River National Park is the main attraction of the South region of Grande Terre, New-Caledonia, Follow the road towards Yate after Mount Dore, south Noumea. Here you go! A lunar landscape (or more exactly martian, regarding the orange nickel-related color of the ground) will make you feel you are thousand of miles away from Noumea or the beaches. The color of the ground is quite impressive, walking around the park is really enjoyable as long as you have a good physical condition. It is a must see near Noumea according to us.
Open your eyes to see a cagou, the iconic bird of New-Caledonia
Distances are quite extensive so you can take a big day out to go out there and enjoy the National Park. Best thing is to sleep not far away, like Yate for example, but accommodation over there can be little pricey.
Therefore, south of Grande Terre is impressive and complimentary to other beach landscapes in New-Caledonia. And hikers will be delighted with plenty of wonderful treks with surprising landscapes to walk around.