A Travellerspoint blog

The red dust of the "Sud"

Travelling around the southern tip of New Caledonia

rain 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!
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Posted by Arin MacDyer 16:49 Archived in New Caledonia Comments (5)

camping camping and more camping!

25 °C

Three days ago we left the youth hostel at 10 am we went camping on the south side of the island. The south side of the island is completely covered in red mud and dust and we were too! We rented bikes and rode a 20 kilometers around the park we saw 5 cagous it was really fun. Stayed at 3 camp sites and then we went to the other side of the island.

Right now we are staying under a luxury campsite. We have a trampoline, table tennis a sauna and internet connection. My mom has been asking me to have a shower for a long time but i have maniged to escape.

Posted by Arin MacDyer 15:56 Comments (3)

Camping in New Caledonia

Five days on the Isle des Pins

rain 23 °C

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So we've done our first stretch of camping on the Isle of Pines. Named by Captain Cook for the tall Auraucaulis (Auraucalia columnaris) pines that grow along the shorelines. We felt at home in more than one way - a slow pace, everything within walking distance, and a luxury campsite at the Gite Nataiwatch that was tucked in a forested setting but five minutes from the beach.

As usual we didn't spend much time sitting around. We took an outrigger canoe ride to a nature reserve called the Piscine Naturelle. It was a bit chilly for snorkelling but the kids were thrilled to find brittle stars everywhere - I wasnt so thrilled with the poisonous cone shells everywhere. The next day we hiked to the top of the only mountain on the island. The rain came and we decided to rent a car and tour the rest of island - we toured caves, cultural sites (like the statue of Jesus surrounded by tribal totems - very fitting to sum up the native Kunie people that run this island), and poked around the tide pools and flats. We managed one afternoon of culural activities put on in honor of a giant cruise ship of tourists before taking thr ferry backmto Noumea.

After several dissappointing attempts to sample french cuisine in Noumea, we finally had some memorable meals. We were served the local delicacies of Bulime snails and unicorn fish. Still, we couldnt sample anymore because the effort involved in starving our children til 7:30 and then putting them to bed after 9:00 wasn't worth it. Here they are very rigid about the timing of meals and most daytime restaurants close at 5 pm and the dinner restaurants don't open until 7:30pm. On the island you had to order your food at least one hour before.

A great side trip and now we are off on three more weeks of camping around the Grande Terre. Life is good - our biggest worry is how to handle the stench of our sandals (if anyone has any tips let me know!)

Arin

This is what Neve wanted me to write:
I went to crab beach and found a ghost crab. It was very small, as small as my thumb nail. It was white.

I read five books today and I have made friends with three dogs. The big one is named Scratchy, the medium is called Smarty (because he is smart not for the candy), and the littlest one is called Dobby. They beg for food and play with us. Dobby is the best dog out of the three for listening.

We are playing with coolvines that look like wire but It was not wire.

I like camping!

Some pictures from the time we spent there:
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Posted by Arin MacDyer 03:11 Archived in New Caledonia Tagged beaches food camping neve arin Comments (3)

isle des pines

rain 22 °C

We came on a big ferry my sister was sea sick on the way. Our camp site is awesome we have dogs that play with us every day so we are never bored. It has been raining since Sunday night.

Yesterday was great we got to go swimming hiking snorkeling. Today we tock a tour around the island my favorite place was crab beach we found 3 fiddiler crabs they are cool because they have a tiny body and a huge claw we also caught 6 tiny ghost crabs. We also bought a cool sarong for Neve and a hand painted t shirt for me. Today was the best day i had in a while because we got a rental car! But too bad it's only for 1 day.

Posted by Arin MacDyer 15:29 Comments (3)

insects golore.

sunny 23 °C

Yesterday we were walking around town when my sister spotted a huge grasshopper, it was as big as my dad's foot. When we got home we looked it up and it turned out to be a female giant coconut grasshopper. The largest grasshopper in the world . They are not dangerous but they can give you a painful skrach. They are endemic to New Caledonia. The females are green and the males are brown.

Noumea is great we get treats every day my favorite treat is a sugar crepe. it has the delicious combination of sugar butter and heat.

My parents make us walk every where every day I hate it!!! My parents make me walk to the top of the mountain to the aquarium to the beach they wont even get a rental car! I eat a baguette every day . I get up at 4 in the morning because of the blabber mouth birds.
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Posted by Arin MacDyer 15:40 Archived in New Caledonia Tagged insects james Comments (2)

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