Open to the public since 2008, the Giant Fern Park, whose entrance is situated within the Farino commune, bordering Sarraméa and Moindou, allows visitors to cross on foot or by bicycle to explore the richness of the biodiversity of the Southern Province’s huge, green lung.
Spanning an area of 4,535 hectares covered with tropical rainforest, the Giant Fern Park is part of an even vaster forested area belonging to the private domain of the Southern Province. Its entrance is located 6 km from the Town Hall in Farino, about an hour and a half from Nouméa.
Part of the terrestrial area of the West Coast Zone (ZCO) and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it stretches across sedimentary volcanic earth (schist), at a height of between 400 to 700 metres. The park’s dense rainforest displays a huge range of endemic wildlife.
Almost 70% endemic wildlife
A list drawn up in 2009 by the Institute of Development Research (IRD) estimated that almost 500 plant species are present in the park, of which 70% are endemic. If you do chose to walk through the Giant Fern Park, a piece of advice: hire one of the Province’s trained guides to accompany you. They will enable you to discover this extraordinary biodiversity and will be able to explain how the different plants and trees you come across are used, as you wander along one of the many marked out and serviced paths (from 3 to 8 km).
Endemic bird species in the park
If you pay attention and are quiet enough, you can also hear or sense one of the many New Caledonian endemic bird species, including the cagou, the Goliath imperial pigeon, the Caledonian warbler or the green pigeon.
The big, green lung!Voir plus
Sublime and historic arborescent ferns
The ‘arborescent ferns’, the true stars of the place are of course very present. Appearing around 350 million years ago, there are currently around 13,000 species of fern. This is one of the largest plant families after angiosperms (more commonly known as flowering plants). The vast majority of ferns are found in tropical areas, including arborescent ferns.
We do not know exactly how many species of arborescent ferns there are in the world. In New Caledonia, you find a new one every time you go outside! By contrast, many species have disappeared and are continuing to disappear under the pressure from human activity.
A unique place of species discovery
While it does provide visitors with a unique place of relaxation and discovery, the Giant Fern Park is also intended to help preserve the plant species it is home to. A renowned place of study for scientists from across the world (botanists, entomologists, ornithologists...) the Giant Fern Park must also fight against invading species which threaten the forest’s survival.
The first among these is the Rusa deer (the species found in New Caledonia) and the wild boar. These animals are hunted in a section of the park which is only accessible to hunters...
Trail biking for killer calves
The first two trails in Giant Fern Park are classified as high-level. One is red and the other is black, the two colors considered to be the most difficult. Needless to say, you shouldn’t take off on these trails without a minimum of preparation. Marked for hikers and bikers, these trails call both for athletic ability and meditation.
Pedal, climb and coast
With or without a guide, sports bikers and nature-lovers will be more than fulfilled. Starting in the first few hundred meters, don’t be surprised if you’ll have to pump hard on your bike to reach the top of the steep climbs. This is a trial that bikers will come across many times on the trail. But after the effort comes the payoff! Every grueling climb ends with a downhill coast, which still requires some control over your bike. And between the two, there are great views and wildlife you might spot, like kagu, deer and families of wild pigs.
From biking to footbiking
Nothing’s keeping you from doing away with your bike and start off on footbiking offered by Sud Loisirs. There’s no seat on these frames, but just two wheels and a low platform between them so you can push the bike with your feet. These light, sturdy machines help you get over natural obstacles and master the trails. And the park is a perfect space to enjoy this type of sport!
Other biking trails in New Caledonia