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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!