Travelling around the southern tip of New Caledonia
09.10.2014 - 14.10.2014 23 °C
Let me fill in some of the details of our recent camping and explain why James needs a shower so badly...
We left Noumea and travelled south to the tip of the country. It is only an hour away from the city but very wild and we knew not to expect grocery stores or conveniences. New Caledonia super marche is excellent for preparing for a week of no refrigeration (although we could buy coolers we've never seen ice for sale), the milk is either UHT or powdered, you can buy UHT yogurt, and most of the veggies come in a can. The produce section is pretty meager and very pricey so we eat out of cans a lot. Like i sais the only things that are cheap is baguette and wine. But I digress....
First stop was the Le Parc de la Rivierre Bleue, and the reserve of the cagous. We rented mountain bikes and had a blast riding through the park (and its red puddles). The soil is bright red and sometimes burgundy because of the high concentration of iron, nickel and manganese. It stained our clothes and our skin! The amazing variety of plants and animals we saw is due to the unique environment and all the different microclimates - we would cycle round a bend and find ourselves either in a jugle or the desert depending on the aspect. We saw cagous, they hissed at us, and seemed a lot more agressive than i imagined. If they arent afraid of humans maybe that is why they are endangered.
We camped at two provincial park campgrounds that were lovely and new. One was in the jungle "Bois de Sud" and the other in the desert "site de Netcha". The covered picnic spots meant we stayed dry in all the rain, but James refused to try out the cold water showers. Other parents forced their children but the screams like torture disuaded us from trying. The bird life has been amazing - so much variety and the dawn corus is so loud it wakes us up every day at 5:00am. The giant Imperial pigeon is also endagered but its owl-like hooting follows us everywhere.
We toured ruins of penal colonies, hiked in the giant tree fern forest, and to a couple of waterfalls. One falls had a botany hike associated with that was much more interesting than the falls! Like i said, its not touristy here but because of the biodiversity and its World Heritage Site designation they do a good job of interpreting nature.
Here are our photos from these amazing places!