Cultural Explorers in New Caledonia Itinerary

13 authentic days in New Caledonia  

For you, travel is about discovering new things. When you're on holiday, you want to enjoy unique and authentic experiences. Your curiosity leads you to immerse yourself in the local culture, the people and the places you visit. As a destination off the beaten track, with exceptional cultural diversity and rare landscapes, New Caledonia has everything to charm you! What's on the menu? A stay in a Kanak tribe, a barbecue with the Broussards (French cowboys), a visit to what remains of the convict era of New Caledonia, many encounters with the local fauna and flora, market tastings and much more... With this itinerary, get ready to experience a stay away from the crowds, which will leave you with unforgettable memories and intriguing stories to share with your family and friends! 

For each day, find out 3 accommodation and cafés/restaurants options classified by price range:
1 night for 2:  $< 10 000 XPF, $$ < 15 000 XPF and $$$ > 15 000 XPF / Main $< 2 000 XPF, $$ < 3 000 XPF and $$$ > 3000 

Summary of the itinerary:

Duration: 13 days

Distance:  824 km (excluding trips to the islands)

Areas:  Nouméa, West Coast, East Coast, Islands (Isle of Pines)



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Day 1 - Arrival at the airport in the afternoon and drive to Nouméa


La Tontouta International Airpot - Noumea

NOUMÉA    |    voiture icone La Tontouta airport - Nouméa : 45 minutes



  •  Swim in the lagoons of New Caledonia
  •  Enjoy a typical French snack by the seaside
  •  Taste the best French wines in a place dedicated to epicureans

Upon arrival at La Tontouta airport, you will be picked up by a shuttle that will take you to Nouméa, the capital city. Once in the city and depending on your energy levels, you can immerse yourself in the life of the Nouméans. Opt for a refreshing swim in the turquoise water of the lagoon at Baie des Citrons! Then head to the Chocolaterie for a typical French snack facing the sea. Rest for a while at your hotel, before going out for an evening of French wine tasting at Chai de l'Hippodrome, a chic and authentic bistro venue favoured among the city's epicureans. You can then head to one of the capital's restaurants before  hitting the bar scene for a night cap!

Hotels: Hôtel Méridien $$$ / Hôtel Gondwana $$ / Nouméa Youth Hostel $
Restaurants: L'Hippocampe $$$ / Tipico Latino $$ / Rimba Juice $
Airport shuttles: Arc en ciel $ / Les Mouettes $ / Go Shuttle


Day 2 - Nouméa, focus on culture


Tjibaou Cultural Centre - Noumea

NOUMÉA    |    voiture icone City centre - Tjibaou Cultural Centre: 15 minutes



  •  Soak up the local atmosphere in the centre of Nouméa
  •  Admire the colonial architecture of the buildings
  •  Discover the culture and traditions of the Kanak people

Today is the day to immerse yourself in New Caledonian culture, art and Kanak traditions! For example, start with a guided tour of the city centre with Oleti Tours. Admire the buildings of the colonial era and stop at the Place des Cocotiers to meet the locals. Then leave for lunch on the southern bays of Nouméa overlooking the lagoon. In the afternoon, browse the Tjibaou Cultural Centre or the New Caledonian Museum (MUZ), two must-see places to understand Kanak culture, legends, traditions and art.

Hotels: Hôtel Méridien $$$ / Hôtel Gondwana $$ / Nouméa Youth Hostel $
Restaurants: La Chaumière $$$ / Marmite et Tire-Bouchon $$$ / Le Fun $$ / Le Stone Grill $$ / Toque & Co $ / Bilboquet Plage


Day 3 - Nouméa, focus on nature


Cagous in the Zoo Forest Park - Noumea

NOUMÉA    |    voiture icone City centre - bays: 15 minutes



  •  Observe the local birds of New Caledonia
  •  Discover the lagoon fish and their habitat
  •  Enjoy a panoramic sunset at Ouen Toro

Take advantage of this day to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds Nouméa. For example, book a guided birdwatching trip to the Zoo and Forest Park with Caledonia Birds. Your guide, Isabelle, will teach you to listen to the birds of the park and to recognise the species that are only found in New Caledonia! In the afternoon, you can visit the Aquarium des Lagons to learn about the many species of fish and corals of the New Caledonian lagoon. Finish the day in style by walking the trails of the Canons of Ouen Toro. At the end of the day, climb to its top to admire the sunset with a breathtaking view of the ocean and the bays of Nouméa.

Hotels: Hôtel Méridien $$$ / Hôtel Gondwana $$ / Nouméa Youth Hostel $
Restaurants: Au P'tit Café $$$ / Le Carré d'As $$$ / Le Jeeves $$ / Mamma Mia $$  / The Annex $ / La Barca $


Day 4 - Explore the Deva Estate


Exploring the Domaine de Deva - Bourail

BOURAIL    |    voiture icone Nouméa - Bourail: 2 hours 6 minutes (174 km)



  •  Climb the ridges on an electric mountain bike
  •  Explore the typical vegetation of the dry forest
  •  Admire the lagoon listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Leave the buzz of the capital behind in favour of the great plains of Western New Caledonia. The Bourail region is a paradise for outdoor activities in the middle of a pristine environment! When you arrive in Poé, enter the “Domaine de Deva”, a huge natural territory of hills, dry forests, and lagoons. Make it your playground and choose your activity: why not an electric mountain bike ride with Deva's Bike to climb the ridges and hike on dry forest trails? Climbing to the top of the hills, you will enjoy a 360° view of the mountains and the lagoon. After these efforts, head to the long beach of Poé for a moment of relaxation, with your feet in the white sand and your eyes riveted on the turquoise water...

Hotels: Hôtel Sheraton $$$ / Hôtel de Poé $$ / Poé Youth Hostel $
Restaurants: Sand Beach Grill Sheraton $$$ / Le Reef Sheraton $$$ / Le Jardin de Poé - Hôtel de Poé $$  / Snack bar Le Rêve de Némo


Day 5 - With the Broussards in Bourail


With the Broussards of New Caledonia - Bourail

BOURAIL    |    voiture icone Poé - Néméara: 38 minutes



  •  Immerse yourself in the life of the Caledonian Wild West and cattle ranchers
  •  Taste the flavours produced on site

The west coast of New Caledonia is the cradle of the stockmen, Caledonian breeders with fascinating history and traditions. Meet them and see how they live and work on a day of immersion with the Broussards. Many farms open their doors to visitors and offer them the chance to watch the feeding of livestock and farm animals, such as the Néméara Farm or the Dreamland Shepherds. Tasting local products, a tour of the property and discovery of New Caledonian far west customs are all in the itinerary! Do you like honey? Then be sure to head to the Taraudière Valley to sample the flavours of the New Caledonian flora!

Hotels: Hôtel Sheraton $$$ / Hôtel de Poé $$ / Poé Youth Hostel $
Restaurants: Sand Beach Grill Sheraton $$$ / Le Jardin de Poé - Hôtel de Poé $$  / Snack bar L'Alizé / O' Fada $


Day 6 - Immersion in Kanak lands - 1/2


Visiting the Napoemien tribe - Poindimié

POINDIMIÉ    |    voiture icone Bourail - Poindimié: 2 hours (140 km) via Houaïlou



  •  Make a bougna, the traditional Kanak dish
  •  Introduction to shrimp fishing
  •  Discover the secret of medicinal plants
  •  Learn to carve wood like a Kanak artist

Leave Bourail early in the morning and head for the east coast, along the magnificent "Col des Roussettes" road that links Bourail to Houaïlou. Here, you are on the East Coast, an authentic region perfect for an immersion in a Kanak tribe! There are several daily packages, which must be booked in advance. For example, you can choose to stay with the Napoémien tribe with Jehudit Pwijia. You will help to cook bougna (the traditional Kanak dish) or take part in an introduction to shrimp fishing. By booking a stay with the Tchamba tribe in Ponérihouen, Hélène will share with you the secrets of the medicinal plants and plantations in her fields. Finally, Melanesian art lovers will be able to participate in a sculpture workshop with Waya from the Aidaa association and the Neouta tribe near Ponérihouen. The hardest part will be choosing your activity!

Hotels: Hôtel Tiéti $$$ / Gîte Newejié $$ / Gîte Les Pouroa $
Restaurants: Le Barringtonia (Hôtel Tiéti) $$$ / Meals with the tribe $$  / Pizza Koyaboa


Day 7 - Immersion in Kanak lands - 2/2


Welcome in the Kanak Tribe - Hienghène

HIENGHÈNE    |    voiture icone Poindimié - Hienghène: 1 hour 15 minutes (73 km)



  •  Watch artisanal coffee roasting
  •  Learn to weave with the women of the tribes
  •  Explore the natural sights of the East Coast

This second day on Kanak land will take you a little further north, towards Hienghène and Pouébo. On your way there, several 1-hour or 2-hour activities await you (booking only), like coffee roasting in Tendo at Julie's or a braiding workshop at Liline's. These workshops are a great opportunity to talk with the men and women of the tribes about the role of each member of the tribe, as well as their customs and local products. For lunch, there are two options: table d'hôtes in a tribe or in one of the restaurants of Hienghène. Remember to make reservations in any case. The afternoon will be devoted to the tour of the village of Hienghène and its magnificent surroundings: the famous brooding hen rock, the Ouaième ferry, the Tao and Colnett waterfalls and more.

Hotels: Hôtel Tiéti $$$ / Gîte Newejié $$ / Gîte Les Pouroa $
Restaurants: Restaurant du Koulnoué (Hienghène) $$$ / Le Barringtonia - Hôtel Tiéti (Poindimié) $$$ / Restaurant du Ka Waboana (Hienghène) $$ / Tribal meal $ / Pizza Koyaboa (Poindimié) $ 


Day 8 - La Foa, the natural region


Hiking in the Great Ferns Park - Farino

FARINO    |    voiture icone Poindimié - Farino: 3 hours (240 km) via Koné



  •  Visit the remains of the jail at Fort Téremba by mountain bike
  •  Walk the trails of the Great Ferns Park in Farino
  •  Hike to a small waterfall and bathe in Farino

From Poindimié, join the "Koné-Tiwaka" cross-country road, known for its magnificent landscapes. Once in Koné on the west coast, go back down south to the village of Moindou. There, make a stop at one of the iconic monuments of New Caledonia's colonial history: Fort Teremba. Go through it on foot or, better, by mountain bike (to rent at Fort Teremba). Next, head to Farino, an ecotourism resort that is home to the Great Ferns Park. It is in this park that you will have the chance to see the great fern trees and many local species. Enjoy a guided tour with Mêrêsaaba Rando to complete your knowledge of the healing power of traditional plants! To relax, or if you lack time, opt instead for a short one-hour walk in Farino on the path of the small waterfall, and bathe in its natural pools.

Hotels: Gîte Les Bulles de Farino $$$ / Oasis de Tendéa $$ / Gîte Le Refuge de Farino $
Restaurants: L'Osmoze (La Foa) $$$ / Bulles de Farino $$$ / O Soleil (La Foa) $$ / Refuge de Farino $$  / Snack Rolls Chez Manu $ / L'hôtel Le Banu (La Foa) $ 


Day 9 - Nouméa by night


Tasting French wine - Nouméa

NOUMÉA    |    voiture icone Farino - Nouméa : 1 hour 34 minutes (118 km)



  •  Play bingo with Caledonians
  •  Enjoy good French wines by the sea
  •  Try new, creative and tropical cocktails

Back to Nouméa from Farino, allow yourself some time to relax, between beaches, shopping and relaxation. You'll be in great shape to enjoy Nouméa's vibrant nightlife! Start your evening with a few games of bingo. Many Caledonians spend entire evenings there, but 1 hour will be enough to immerse you in the atmosphere of a bingo hall, a gambling game very popular with the locals. Continue your evening at Q20, a wine bar perfect for sampling a carefully curated selection of French wines whilst enjoying the sea view. If you'd rather be closer to the bays of the South End, you can also enjoy cocktails and tapas in the Motor-Pool area at 12 Glasser.

Hotels: Hôtel Château Royal $$$ / Hôtel Le Lagon $$ / Hôtel Nouvata $
Restaurants: The West $$$ / Q20 (Ferry dock) $$$ / O Boucher $$ / Tierra de Fuego (Ferry dock) $$ / Snack Ulysse $ / Fresh (Ferry dock) $


Day 10 - Kuni mysteries


Saint Maurice Bay - Isle of Pines

ILE DES PINS    |    avion icone Flight Nouméa - Île des Pins: 30 minutes



  •  Visit the main sites of the Isle of Pines
  •  Enter the Queen Hortense’s cave
  •  Enjoy the mix of tradition and spirituality

Fly in the morning to the Isle of Pines, a true jewel of New Caledonia. In less than 30 minutes from the Nouméa-Magenta domestic airport, you will be transported to the heart of the culture of the Kuniés, the island's inhabitants. Start your cultural immersion with a guided tour with Kuu Oro, combining centuries-old traditions and the history of the Caledonian’s convict heritage. Explore the cave of Queen Hortense, a legendary Kanak figure who fought to prevent her people from being driven off the island. Finally, pay your respects to the statue surrounded by totems commemorating the first mass celebrated on the island in 1848.

Hotels: Hôtel Le Méridien $$$ / Hôtel Kou-Bugny $$ / Gîte Nataiwatch $
Restaurants: La Pirogue - Le Méridien $$$ / Les Nautiles - Le Kou-Bugny $$  / Restaurant du Gîte Nataïwatch


Day 11 - Traditional Outrigger canoe trip


Traditional outrigger trip in Upi Bay - Isle of Pines

ILE DES PINS    |     bateau icone Sailing an outrigger canoe and hiking to the natural swimming pool: 2 hrs



  •  Sail on board a traditional outrigger canoe
  •  Take beautiful pictures of Upi Bay
  •  Observe the multicolour fish in the natural pool
  •  Play Robinson Crusoe in the rainforest

For this second day on the Isle of Pines, be sure to book a traditional outrigger canoe tour with your accommodation provider, in Upi Bay. The beauty of this walk between the coral rocks on the translucent water will be something you will never forget! From your boat, observe the landscapes and watch out for turtles, rays and dolphins... After 2 hours, the excursion continues on foot in a tropical forest, until you arrive at the island's natural pool. There, you will be able to observe the many multicoloured fish swimming in a natural pool around a coral rock. Don't forget to bring your snorkelling equipment (flippers, mask, snorkel). You'll return to your hotel by minibus after lunch, leaving you the late afternoon to relax at the beach.

Hotels: Hôtel Le Méridien $$$ / Hôtel Kou-Bugny $$ / Gîte Nataiwatch $
Restaurants: La Pirogue - Le Méridien $$$ / Hotel picnic basket $$ / Sandwiches $


Day 12 - The Isle of Pines lagoon


Kayaking in the Kanumera Bay - Isle of Pines

NOUMÉA    |    avion icone Flight Île des Pins - Nouméa: 30 minutes



  •  Morning snorkelling with Kunié Scuba Center
  •  Kayak rental with Kou-Bugny
  •  Kuto and Kanuméra Beach

Take advantage of the morning to book a first dive or a snorkelling trip with the Kunié Scuba Center, the only diving club on the island located on Ouameo Bay. After lunch, rent a kayak on Kuto Bay with the Kou-Bugny or on Kanuméra Bay: these are certainly the two most beautiful beaches on the island! Extend your enjoyment with a lazy break on the sand before boarding your flight back to Noumea.

Hotels: Hôtel Château Royal $$$ / Hôtel Le Lagon $$ / Hôtel Nouvata $
Restaurants: La Pirogue - Château Royal $$$ / La Case $$ / L'Équilibre - Nouvata $


Day 13 - Return flight


Anse Vata beach - Nouméa

NOUMÉA    |    voiture icone Nouméa - La Tontouta airport: 45 minutes


If you have a little time left before your flight home, take a trip to the Nouméa market or to one of the craft stores to buy last minute souvenirs. Take one last look at the lagoon from Anse-Vata and then take the shuttle to La Tontouta International Airport.



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