On the last day, not a speck of the rock can be missed! The Caledodreamers go from tip to tip, exploring Blue River Park in the Great South, mountain biking and kayaking before a “farewell” meal.
In spite of the fatigue from an intense, almost overwhelming journey, the 6 adventurers still want to discover more, unwilling to miss the opportunity of seeing another unknown side of this incredible, varied destination. As they have no time left to explore the marvels of the North and the East Coast, it will be the southernmost part of Grande Terre island.
Guided by New Cal Outdoors, who know the region like the back of their hand, the group set off first thing for the Great South and its vast stretches of red desert-like earth, criss-crossed with rivers and lakes. The arrival at Blue River National Park is spectacular with its abundant forests contrasting the arid stretches of surrounding land.
Stopping near the entrance to the park we meet up with Sud Loisirs and climb aboard their mountain bikes for hire. On the advice of Joel, one of the park wardens, and guided by markers, the Caledodreamers hit the park paths and discover the country’s emblematic grey bird, the cagou. Then they emerge from the beaten tracks to stop near a waterhole, hidden by vegetation, at the foot of a little waterfall. The perfect setting for a well-deserved picnic.
The next step on the journey is by two-seater kayaks, once again supplied by Sud Loisir, who are patiently waiting for the group at the meeting point with all the necessary equipment. Then they’re off for two hours of drifting down the river current to what we call, “The drowned forest.” The kayak journey, floating through the dead trees that shoot up between the waves, is as beautiful as it is mysterious. A final mountain bike journey takes them to Pérignon bridge and then our travellers set off on the road back towards Nouméa.
Heavy hearts and thoughtful minds fill the air on the journey towards the last meal before they leave. Each group member has a film rolling in their head, showing them everything they’ve been through over the last 9 days, a hint of nostalgia already present. Fortunately, the arrival at “Le Roof,” a chic restaurant on stilts in the Bay of Anse Vata, has the Caledodreamers enchanted. They are fortunate to glimpse an incredible dolphin ballet, arguing with a school of fish and sea birds, just beneath their feet; the whole thing lit up by spotlights facing out to the lagoon. The atmosphere in the restaurant, although sophisticated and intimate, cannot contain their infectious joy, each one is leaving with happy memories, backed up by group photos.
As departure for Tontouta airport is imminent, everyone takes stock of, “How lucky they were to have experienced this adventure and to have met so many welcoming Caledonians.” Most of them stating in all seriousness that, “They hope to return soon with their friends and family for a holiday.” Another Caledonian Dream?