Located on the Montravel heights, in Nouméa, the Michel Corbasson zoological and forest park covers 34 hectares in the middle of the city.
Acting as a green space, a botanical garden and a zoological park at the same time, it is a must-see during a stay in Nouméa, at the very least to see the emblematic cagou!
The history of the park
In 1962, the city of Nouméa gave this land to create a nature reserve in order to preserve the heart of the dry forest within the city, as well as several endemic species, including the cagou.
However, the public had to wait until 1972 for the park to open its gates. The zoological park now is home to over 700 animals, and over 130 species. These are mostly birds, because the local terrestrial fauna was essentially made of reptiles until the arrival of the Europeans, who imported species such as the famous Rusa deer.
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Cagous and giant geckos
Most of the 110 bird species in the park are endemic to New Caledonia. Amongst them we can find the renowned cagou, the country’s emblematic bird, the notou, considered the most intelligent pigeon species, the Ouvéa horned parakeet or the Caledonian crow. Other remarkable species (which are not endemic) are worth a visit, including birds of prey and several species of ducks and parakeets. Or more exotic species such as peacocks roam freely through the park! The site is a truly refreshing haven of tranquility.
Lastly, the “international” species in the park allow Caledonians to admire birds from other continents: blue peacocks, pink flamingos, red ibises, swans pelicans...etc.
From reptiles to flying foxes
The reptiles (including the famous “giant” geckos) and flying foxes, among which 6 out of the nine species are endemic to New Caledonia, add to the collection, as well as a few monkey species (capuchins and baboons), who are really popular among children.
A botanical garden to preserve the rarest endemic species
The world of plants is also showcased at the park: an educational forest walk was created for this purpose in 2003, as well as some beautiful plantations (Araucariaceae, maquis minier and other collections of exotic plants, such as palms and cacti).
Children can also have access to the mini pedagogical farm which displays more familiar species such as hens, donkeys, pigs, rabbits...etc.
Lastly, the Nature House, located at the entrance of the park, displays samples of rocks forming the Caledonian soil, as well as a history of the local fauna and flora.
A must do
With 65,000 visitors on average, the Forest Park is one of the most visited locations in Nouméa. Caledonians and tourists are particularly fond of this peaceful haven whose pedestrian trails provide natural scenery in the heart of the city. The park’s range of services is completed by leisure infrastructures such as playing fields and picnic areas.
Many Caledonians visit it on Sundays for a pleasant walk surrounded by over 600 animals, including lizards, birds and even monkeys!