In case you’re wondering what the (motorcycle) riding is like here in New Caledonia, I figured I’d post about a little day trip I took through the southern part of the island. This was the 2nd time I attempted this route – the first time was raining most of the way so not so conducive to photos. But last time the weather was….
Thanks to the nickel mining industry, New Caledonia has good paved roads and even better dirt roads all throughout the south. The mining companies actually paid for most of the roads (there’s a huge operation near Goro complete with dormitories) since many workers commute hours to and from the mines and processing plants in Noumea and Goro. The landscape provides plenty of fun, twisty roads and if the weather is good, it’s a great temperature up in the mountains – warm enough to be comfortable and cool enough to wear riding gear comfortably.
For this ride I headed from Nouméa towards Mont Dore and continued on the (one and only) “Rue du Sud” which makes its way around the southern side of the island staying relatively near the coast. This ride takes you through some small water crossings, plenty of trees, and up and down the mountains. One section is entirely made up of pine trees – the logging companies are to thank for this. Thankfully they left behind some nice dirt roads as well. One amazing thing is just how red the soil is here. They typically refer to it as “terre rouge” (red earth) here and you can tell whenever anyone’s vehicle has been anywhere near it because it is bright red and sticks like glue.
I wish I had some knobbier tires, but the majority of riding is on paved roads so it all works out… what’s riding on the dirt if you don’t slip around a little?
Eventually the road goes through the mining area of Goro (photographie interdit) and then on to the Southeastern coast. Following the coast up through Goro village and some other tribal areas, you eventually come to Yaté and then can head back up the mountain onto the “main” road back to Noumeá.
Don’t get me wrong, driving through Noumea is almost as bad as DC in terms of maniacal cagers that seem to be out to kill you (seriously people, it’s a one-lane road and in 10 feet you have a red light. whats the rush?!) but it’s easy enough to escape for a few hours. I should also mention that plenty of my fellow bikers can ride like jerks too, often moreso… Especially those little punks on the 100cc 2-stroke noisemakers that rip down the road at 5am for no good reason, waking up the entire neighborhood. But I digress.
I’m very fortunate to be able to do this kind of stuff…