Category Archives: Outdoors

Hiking Pic Malaoui

Since we’ve moved here, most of our outdoor activities have been in the water. With the weather still being a little chilly for snorkeling and swimming, a hike (randonée or just rando in French) is just the thing to get out of the “big city”. We take for granted how close we are to outdoor activities here in Nouméa. With just a 30 minute or so drive, you can be out in the forest climbing up a mountain for some stunning views of the island and getting some fresh air.

The other week, I joined up with my French class doing just that. We met in the morning in Nouméa and drove out on RT1 towards Dumbéa. There are several signs for Mont Koghi which lead you up into the mountains on a small road full of switchbacks and sharp turns (it was fine with our little Ford Fiesta). You’ll end up in a visitor parking area at a restaurant/inn called L’Auberge. From here, head on foot up the road and bear right to follow the footpath into the forest. You will pass a kid’s treetop playland thing on your right and then be on the trail.

Partway up you can see the parking lot

Partway up, you can see the parking lot below

For our hike, we followed the signs up to Pic Malaoui, a nice peak that provides a great view of Nouméa, the mountains, and the blue lagoon surrounding our island. Along the way it was very cool to transition between tropical forest (humid, shady, damp, muddy) and sunny, scrubby, hot sections within a few steps as you change which side of the mountains you’re on.

Climbing the path in the tropical forest

Climbing the path in the tropical forest

The sunny side of the mountain

The sunny side of the mountain

There are lots of indigenous plants and wildlife along the way and plenty of photo ops. I think I’ll have to pick up a book of the local plants and animals next time I go to the library.

Cool moss on some of the trees

Cool moss on some of the trees

The final push up the peak itself is pretty rough – very steep and rocky, you’ll likely be crawling more than hiking at the end. Definitely be prepared with some comfortable shoes (and plenty of water).

Almost to the pik...

Almost to the pic…

Once you get to the top, you’re rewarded with a great view of the entire Nouméa peninsula and the lagoon around the island. You can see some of the smaller islands in the distance including Phare Amédée, Îlot Maître, and Îlot Canard, but it’s difficult to make them out in the photos… It was a little hazy that day.

Your reward for scaling the mountain

Your reward for scaling the mountain

We had a lunch on the peak, took a little rest, and then headed back down the mountain. The entire walk took about 4 hours with a few breaks and a relaxed lunch. I’ll definitely be doing some more randos in the future since there are so many places to see just a quick drive away!

Panoramic shot of Nouméa

Panoramic shot of Nouméa

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îlot Canard II

It’s been a cloudy, windy, rainy winter here in New Caledonia. Sure, the sun still makes it way out some days, but it almost seems like we’re in the US Pacific Northwest sometimes… Since it’s our first year, we weren’t exactly sure what to expect. The trees are green and the birds don’t seem to mind, but there’s something strange about wearing jackets and flannel shirts while you walk amongst palm trees.

With the cooler weather we’ve been doing more around the house instead of venturing around New Caledonia, but we have a bit of a backlog of activities from our summer to write about. Maybe some photos of sunnier days, tropical fish, etc. will help coax the sun out today. So, without further adieu, here are some photos that we took a few months ago from our second trip to Îlot Canard, just a quick boat ride from Anse Vata in Nouméa.

Nom

Nom

Slippery

Slippery

This was a big guy

This was a big grouper

BFF

BFFs

Crawling along the coral

Crawling along the coral…

...trying to run...

…trying to run…

Trying to hide

… and trying to hide

And what do you know… the sun just came out.

An Afternoon at Kuendu Beach

Kuendu beach is just a few minutes drive from downtown Nouméa so a few weeks ago we decided to check it out. It’s very easy to get to – from downtown, just take a left at the ‘T’ intersection near the hospital and follow Avenue James Cook. You’ll eventually see a sign and the public parking lot. There are also buses that go to the beach from Nouméa.


View Larger Map

Kuendu beach is a bit different from Anse Vata or Baie des Citrons in that it is very sheltered from waves and the sandy shallows go out quite far into the bay. There were plenty of people at the beach that day and one kind fellow was playing his music plenty loud for the entire beach to enjoy (/s). If you went on an off-day (weekday), I’d imagine it would be a good beach to bring the kids to since it is a bit smaller and more shallow and sheltered than some other beaches near the city.

Busy, sunny day at Kuendu

Busy, sunny day at Kuendu

There is a resort hotel at the northern part of the bay if that’s your thing but the public beach is the way to go for free, fun, ocean play. There were some stand-up paddlers about taking advantage of the clear, calm water.

Good day for it

Good day for it

The snorkeling here wasn’t stellar, mainly due to the shallow water. There was a lot of sea grass so I would imagine turtles may find their way in from time to time. There was some coral but not enough to justify an “epic snorkel.” We did see some small flounder laying on the bottom and plenty of smaller lizardfish and other reef dwellers.

A little reminder that there is still risk involved in playing in the ocean, even if everyone else is doing it, is evidenced by the lurking stonefish we spotted while snorkeling and the super-curious tricot rayé snakes that we’ve seen virtually EVERY SINGLE TIME we’ve been snorkeling in New Caledonia.

Don't tread on me.

Don’t tread on me.

Off to the sides of the bay you can hop out of the water and explore the rocky shores and find hundreds of snails, small crabs, and other creatures while you have a picnic away from the crowd at the beach.

Looking out from the bay

Looking out from the bay

All in all it was a nice, relaxing day (other than being chased by a curious snake).

Îlot Canard

Finally a post about something fun! And some photos too!

A few weekends ago we took a quick day-trip over to Îlot Canard to check out what the small islet had to offer. We love snorkeling (and lounging of course) so we packed up a little lunch, our snorkel gear, some sunscreen, and headed to the taxi boats at Anse Vata beach. It was a fairly slow day so we were able to buy our round-trip taxi boat tickets (about 1200 XPF each), hop on the boat, and in about 10 minutes we were hopping off at the islet. Don’t forget your reef shoes as the beach has lots of sharp dead coral and shells in some places – other places are nice soft sand.

Once we were on the island we headed down the pathway to the restaurant where we signed up for a pair of beach chairs and an umbrella. We probably could have managed with a towel on the sand under one of the small trees, but we figured we’d make a day of it and the chairs/umbrella/table were well worth it.

We had been used to snorkeling around in Baie de Citrons and having decent-but-not-amazing visibility. The water by Ilot Canard was incredibly clear and there were tons of big fish, huge corals of all different colors, and plenty to see. We were a little surprised by the strength of the current as we went around the side of the islet but managed just fine.

No post would be complete without some amount of complaining so here it goes: STAY THE HECK OFF THE CORAL YOU IGNORAMUSES! We were amazed and saddened by how many people were walking all over the coral and trashing it with their fins. Do people not realize that touching the coral kills it and it can take hundreds of years to grow back? Places like this are a natural treasure and we want people to be able to enjoy them without killing it all! WTF PEOPLE?! Do people just not know or do they not care? We need the coral police up in this place to tell people to stop standing on the coral or at least construct a sign saying as much.

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