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Bourail, resting between dry bush forest and stunning lagoon.

Melanesian Immersion – 12-Day Self Drive

(9675)
Bourail, resting between dry bush forest and stunning lagoon.
Take the ultimate road trip across unique tribal areas, unspoilt nature and tropical paradise of New Caledonia. From Noumea, drive towards Bourail, Poum, Hienghene, Poindimie, and La Foa to uncover the time-honored tradition of Melanesia and its extraordinary beauty and diversity.
Self-Drive
Packaged tour

Highlights

Eco-discovery boat tour in Bourail to learn about the loggerhead turtles.

Half Day Introductory Noumea Tour including an exciting visit to the iconicTjibaou Cultural Centre.

Experience New Caledonia's Amazing Great South landscapes during your Private Great South Tour with a local guide.

Discover true Melanesian culture during your self -drive tour from Noumea to Bourail, Poum, Hienghene, Poindimie and La Foa.

Tribal visit in Poindimie where you will have a guided walk through the village and learn how to prepare Bougna - a traditional kanak dish.

Hit the road and spend an amazing holiday enjoying the finest sights and landscapes of French Polynesia. Immerse yourself in true Melanesian culture during your self-drive tour filled with incredible discoveries as you journey from New Caledonia's  stunning Far West to the amazing Great South boasting a rich contrast of colours, ranging from the dark blue of the sea, to the sharp red of the iron-rich soils. Top up your tour by visiting a real-life tribe in Poindimie and preparing Bougna - a traditional kanak dish. Enjoy a day out on the UNESCO Bourail Lagoon and learn about the protected loggerhead turtles. Visit the Great South with your private guide and see the vast changes of scenery with the bright red soil, green dense vegetation and the dark blue sea. Make your holiday even more unforgettable by taking the optional (extra cost) ultra-light flight over the famous Heart of Voh one of the most unmissable and iconic sights in New Caledonia.

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Included

Return economy class flights with Aircalin to Noumea
4-night accommodation in Noumea at Nouvata Hotel in a Comfort Room
2-night accommodation in Bourail at Nekweta Lodge in a Tropical Double bedroom (with en-suite bathroom) with breakfast
1-night accommodation in Poum at Malabou Beach Hotel (Private Garden Bungalow) w/ breakfast
2-night accommodation in Hienghene at Koulnoue Village in a Private Garden Bungalow w/breakfast
1-night accommodation in Poindimie at Hotel Tieti (Private Garden Bungalow) w/ breakfast
1-night accommodation in La Foa at Banian-tree Guesthouse (Private Bungalow) w/ breakfast
8-day car hire - Subaru XV automatic gear, unlimited mileage, full-cover insurance
7 breakfasts
Fully-detailed road-book in English
3 lunches included in day tours
TOUR: Half Day Introductory Noumea Tour including Tjibaou Cultural Centre
TOUR: Eco-discovery boat tour in Bourail to learn about the loggerhead turtles
TOUR: Traditional Tribal visit in Poindimie with Bougna preparation
TOUR: Full Day Guided Tour of the Great South
Return shared transfer from Tontouta International Airport to Noumea Hotel

Itinerary

Expand Collapse  all days
Day 1
Arrival and Discover Noumea

Shared transfer from Tontouta International Airport to Nouvata Hotel in Noumea.
Night at Nouvata Hotel – Comfort Room

Day 2
Half Day Introductory Tour

Enjoy Noumea at your own pace this morning.

TOUR: Introductory Tour of Noumea including Tjibaou Cultural Centre

There’s no better way to apprehend the complex Melanesian civilisation than to start by a guided visit of the iconic Tjibaou Cultural Center, led in English by your private guide. Your driver will give you an insight into Noumena’s colonial past by showing you some of the nicest pioneer houses of Faubourg Blanchot, one of Noumea’s oldest neighbourhoods, as well as an access to the best lookouts around town.
5:30/6:00 PM: Back to your hotel.

Night at Nouvata Hotel – Comfort Room

Day 3
Noumea to Bourail drive (180 km, about 2 hours)

Your car will be delivered to your hotel this morning.

Start your drive up North to Bourail.

Suggested stops: Ouano Beach, La Foa historic buildings (Margaret Bridge, Banu Hotel), Fort Teremba in Moindou (a former penitentiary turned into a museum about New Caledonia history and the 1878 Kanak uprising led by Chief Ataï), ANZAC WWII Cemetery in Bourail.

Activities in Bourail: Walking the 3-Bays Track or Ouakoue Trail, taking a glass-bottom boat tour on Poe Lagoon and Horse ride on Deva Domain.

Night at Nekweta Lodge in a Tropical Double Bedroom with en-suite bathroom.

 

Day 4
Reconnect with Nature (Bourail)

Continental breakfast served at the lodge.

TOUR: Boat Tour on the lagoon of Bourail and admire the dozens of turtles from a secret spot.

The owner of the lodge, Manu is also a taxi-boat operator and the president of a long -established local association dealing with the conservation of loggerhead turtles. The nearby beach is the second largest nesting site for these turtles, the first one being Mon Repos beach in Northern Queensland.

Eventually, top up that memorable experience by planting a tree on the edge of the local beach, as part of Manu’s association efforts to prevent the erosion of the beach, thus helping the turtles to preserve their nesting spots.

Lunch is included and served at the lodge right after the excursion.

Night at Nekweta Lodge in a Tropical Double Bedroom with en-suite bathroom.

Breakfast, Lunch
Day 5
Bourail to Poum drive (250 km, about 3 hours)

Continental breakfast served at the lodge.

Whenever you feel like hitting the road, undertake the long drive to Poum. The journey will take you across the Far West style landscapes of the West Coast, home to Cattle farmers descending from the old time pioneers and convicts.

Optional extra:

On your way North, you may wish to book a duo ultra-light flight over the Famous Heart of Voh. This attraction is probable the most unmissable in the North Province, during a full hour you shall enjoy a quiet flight over the lagoon the most famous Heart of Voh.  It is 100% natural heart-shaped clearing in the mangroves designed by hundreds of years of low and high tides. Each passenger seats in his/her own aircraft with their pilot and the radio communication between the two aircrafts allows you to share this unforgettable moment.

Suggestion:

If you leave Bourail early enough you may want to spend the afternoon on the property of Relais de Poingam, a very nice an unexpected tribal lodge located at the northernmost tip of the mainland. This place boats great hiking trails of easy access with scenic vistas over the Northern Lagoon. You may see wild horses, wander among the organic saltmarshes that the locals exploit there, and treat yourself with a mouth-watering steam cooked mud crab served at the restaurant of the lodge.

Lunch and dinner at your convenience.

Night at Malabou Beach Hotel in a Private Garden Bungalow

Breakfast
Day 6
Explore the Great North and Poum to Hienghene drive (180 km, approx. 3 hours)

Buffet breakfast served at the hotel.

In the morning, if you have not done it the day before, it is advised that you to extend your road trip a few miles further up North, to discover the unique setting of Poingam. Once you have explored the region by and large, take the scenic drive to Hienghène village through the North-Eastern Coast, passing by the spectacular Tao Waterfall (swimming is advised!), crossing the Ouaïème river on the last ferry barge still in service, and admiring the coastal vistas on the way. You may also want to have a devoting stop at Ouaré Mission church, one of the oldest in the country.

Lunch & dinner at your convenience.

Night at Koulnoue Village in a Private Garden Bungalow

Breakfast
Day 7
Hienghene

Buffet breakfast served at the hotel.

After 2 days of quiet long driving times, now is the time for some more low-pace tourism; you have the whole day to explore the wonders around Hienghene. Whichever way you choose to enjoy them, by car, foot or kayak, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.

Suggestion:

A gentle hike up the Ga Wivaek Pass to see the lookout over the Broody Hen Rock formation and the impressive Lindéralique cliffs.  Hire a Kayak from the operator next door to your hotel and take a self guided ride on the calm and shallow waters of the Lindéralique laguna. You could also choose to go out to one of the nearby postcard islands, topped by a lunch on the beach made of fresh grilled fish.

Lunch and dinner at your convenience.

Night at Koulnoue Village in a Private Garden Bungalow

 

Breakfast
Day 8
Hienghene to Poindimie drive (73 km, approx. 1 hour)

Buffet breakfast at your hotel.

You may want to complete the rest of the activities that you did not have time to enjoy the day before.
Drive your rental car down south to Poindimie.

Lunch and dinner at your convenience.

Night at Tieti Hotel in a Private Garden Bungalow

Breakfast
Day 9
Tribal immersion in Poindimie, drive Poindimie to La Foa (195 km, approx. 3 hours)

Buffet breakfast served at your hotel.

TOUR: Tribal immersion with Bougna preparation and a guided walk through the village.

You shall be welcomed in a Napoémien tribe, by Jehudit, the customary chief of that tiny Melanesian village nested in a lush valley. Jehudit will teach you how to prepare the Bougna, the traditional kanak dish by excellence: cut the yams, taros and sweet potatoes with he and his wife Priscilla, add the wild freshwater shrimps (or chicken if you prefer), grate some coconuts and pour the coconut milk on top of that typical stew. Pack it all up by tying the coconut tree leaves to close the container made of banana tree leaves, and then put that whole big natural steam-cooker inside an underground oven covered with hot stones and paperback tea-tree bark.

While the dish is slowly cooking, you will be guided by Jehudit across his tribe: he shall teach you a lot about the local customs, the sometimes-harsh history of the region and the tribal lifestyle, not to mention the local flora and fauna. End your journey inside the tribe by a stop at some millennial petroglyphs carved by Jehudit’s ancestors on some hidden rocks, and then get back to the open-air kitchen to unearth the Bougna and enjoy it, accompanied by some fresh passion fruit juice and wild lemon syrup.

By 1:30 / 2:00 PM, it will be time to leave your hosts after a final greeting. You shall feel like you’ve known
them for years!

Suggestion:

In the afternoon, it is suggested that you take another route to reach Bourail, first along the East Coast down to Houaïlou, and then following a different crossing than the one you have travelled on your way North, through « Col des Roussettes ». Drive across Bourail village, and go on to La Foa village, another 40 minutes further.

Dinner at your convenience (pre-booking is advised if you wish to enjoy the fine local cuisine of Annick, your host for the night in La Foa).

Night at La Table du Banian (Banian-tree Guesthouse) in a private bungalow overlooking the Pocquereux valley.

Breakfast, Lunch
Day 10
La Foa to Noumea Drive (110 km, approx. 1 hour)

Home-made Continental breakfast served at the lodge.

Take your time to explore the region’s hidden gems like the Great Ferns National Park in Farino.
Lunch at your convenience.

Drive to Noumea in the afternoon, to spend a free afternoon in the capital city going shopping, wandering in the shade of the flame trees that dot Coconut Tree Square, or enjoying an ice-cream on one of the numerous terraces outside the restaurants of Lemon Bay or Anse Vata.

In the late afternoon, just drop your car at your hotel, the rental car company is going to take care of it.

Night at Nouvata Hotel in a Comfort Room

Breakfast
Day 11
Guided Great South Tour

TOUR: Private Great South Tour

At 8 AM,  your private English-fluent local guide will take you on a hassle-free tour around the Amazing Great South landscapes. Nowhere else in New Caledonia will you enjoy such a contrast of colours, ranging from the dark blue of the sea, to the sharp red of the iron-rich soils making the South so unique, through the green of the mostly-endemic bushes that make up the dense vegetation of that area. Your driver, whose family is actually linked to the customary chiefs of that southern end of the mainland, will bring you to places you could not have imagined exploring by yourself, such as some subsistence fields in the local tribes, and an open-air workshop where youngsters from Goro tribe carve their traditional outriggers.

A full-course lunch is included for that full-day tour, and will be taken in a very nice seaside tribal restaurant.

In the afternoon, your guide shall drive you back to Nouméa through different roads, stopping at numerous
lookouts and at the abandoned village of Prony, that used to shelter not less than a penitentiary, a sawmill
and a timber exploitation in turn over the past 150 years!

Dinner at your convenience.

Night at Nouvata Hotel in a Comfort Room

Lunch
Day 12
Return flight to Australia

Shared transfer from Nouvata Hotel to Tontouta Airport.

Additional information

Official language
French, English
Currency
French Pacific Franc (XPF)
11 nights
from AUD
per person, twin share
Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne
07 January 2020 - 31 March 2021
Tahiti & New Caledonia Brochure
View

Optional Extras

On your way North (day 5), you may wish to book a duo ultra-light flight over the famous Heart of Voh. This attraction is probable the most unmissable in the North Province. Each passenger will seat in his/her own aircraft with their pilot and the radio communication between the two aircrafts allows you to share this unforgettable moment.

Speak to a destination expert today!

Conditions Apply. Travel dates valid as indicated. Package prices are subject to availability at the time of booking. Airfares based on Aircalin Year Round Fare ex Sydney and must be purchased as part of a package (blackout dates apply). Please ask our New Caledonia specialists for pricing from other departure cities. Airfares and taxes are subject to change at any time without notice. Holiday package prices are per person, include services as detailed in the package and are based on a maximum of 2 people travelling together in accommodation on a twin share basis. Single supplement surcharges apply. Prices are current at time of publication; however, they are subject to currency fluctuations and should be used as a guide only. Please contact us for an exact quote for the dates you wish to travel. Local city tax has been included. Offers may be withdrawn at any time without notice. All package prices are in Australian Dollars.

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