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Melanesian Immersion – 7-Day Self Drive

(NC9629)
Discover tribal life, unspoilt nature and tropical paradise during your self-drive journey through the most fascinating sights of New Caledonia. From Noumea, drive towards Bourail, Poindimie, and La Foa to uncover the time-honored tradition of Melanesia and its extraordinary diversity.
Active
Nature
Self-Drive
Packaged tour

Highlights

5-day self-drive tour around the island with ample time to join cultural tours or activities.

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

Introductory tour of Noumea including the fascinating Tjibaou Cultural Centre.

Traditional tribal visit in Poindimie with Bougna preparation.

Take a trip through the remnants of the past with a scenic journey through French Polynesia's Melanesian culture. This authentic self-drive holiday is filled with incredible sights, activities, and discoveries, plus unique lodgings in the most scenic locations of the island. Start with a guided visit of the iconic Tjibaou Cultural Center, led in English by your private guide. On the third day, start driving up North to Bourail. Your suggested stops include the Ouano Beach and La Foa historic buildings. You may also hike on the 3-Bays Track or Ouakoue Trail or even go Horse riding on Deva Domain. Enjoy a day out on the UNESCO Bourail Lagoon and learn about the protected loggerhead turtles. From Bourail, drive past an amazing scenery of green dense vegetation and drive across to Hienghene where you can see all the impressive Linderalique Cliffs and the famous Broody Hen Rock. Make your drive down to Poindimie to visit a real life tribe and prepare a traditional Bougna which is cooked on hot coals and wrapped in banana leaves. At your own pace start the drive down to La Foa village and take a moment to appreciate its vast green nature, heritage sites, and wonderful diversity.

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Included

Return economy class flights with Aircalin to Noumea
5-day car hire - Subaru XV automatic gear, unlimited mileage, full-cover insurance, hotel delivery and airport drop off included
1-night accommodation in Bourail at Nekweta Lodge (Tropical Double Room with ensuite bathroom) w/breakfast
1-night accommodation in Hienghene at Koulnoue Village in a Private Garden Bungalow w/breakfast
1-night accommodation in La Foa at Banian-tree Guesthouse (Private Bungalow) w/breakfast
1-night accommodation in Poindimie at Hotel Tieti (Private Garden Bungalow) w/breakfast
2-night accommodation in Noumea at Nouvata Hotel (Comfort Room)
Private arrival transfer from international airport to your hotel in Noumea
Fully-detailed road-book in English
4 breakfasts and 2 lunches
Half day eco-discovery boat tour in Bourail to learn about the loggerhead turtles
Half day introductory Noumea tour including Tjibaou Cultural Centre
Traditional tribal visit in Poindimie with Bougna preparation

Itinerary

Expand Collapse  all days
Day 1
Arrival and discover Noumea

Shared transfer from Tontouta International Airport to Nouvata Hotel in Noumea.
Accommodation 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 civilization 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 Noumena’s oldest neighborhoods, as well as an access to the best lookouts around town.
5:30/6:00 PM: back to your hotel. Accommodation at Nouvata Hotel – Comfort Room 

Day 3
Noumea to Bourail drive (180 km, approx. 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.

Accommodation at Nekweta (which means Respect the Ocean) Lodge in a Tropical Double Bedroom with en-suite bathroom.

Day 4
Reconnect with Nature (Bourail) and Bourail to Hienghene drive (220 km, approx. 3 hours)

Enjoy your 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. 

In the afternoon, start your drive to Hienghene. The journey itself is a pleasure, with serval great vistas along the way, especially during the crossing from Kone to East Coast, on the scenic Kone-Tiwaka road. 

Dinner at your convenience. Accommodation at Koulnoue Village in a Private Garden Bungalow. 

Breakfast, Lunch
Day 5
Sightseeing in Hienghene and Hienghene to Poindimie drive (73 km, approx. 1 hour)

Buffet breakfast served at the lodge.  

You have the whole day to explore the wonders around Hienghene. Whichever way you choose to enjoy them, by car, foot or on 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.  At your own time, take your rental car to drive down to Poindimie.
Accommodation at Koulnoue Village in a Private Garden Bungalow.    

Breakfast
Day 6
Tribal immersion in Poindimie and Poindimie to La Foa drive (195 km, approx. 3 hours)

Buffet breakfast served at the 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, you can 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). 

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

Breakfast, Lunch
Day 7
La Foa to Tontouta International Airport (65 km, approx. 45 minutes)

Enjoy your home-made continental breakfast served at the lodge. At your own pace, depending on your flight schedule, drive the last miles to Tontouta International Airport to check in your luggage and board your return flight to Australia. Drop your rental car at the airport, leaving the keys to the rental company’s employee who shall wait for you there. 

 

Breakfast

Additional information

Official language
French, English
Currency
French Pacific Franc (XPF)
6 nights
from AUD
per person, twin share
Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne
07 January 2020 - 31 March 2021
Tahiti & New Caledonia Brochure
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Conditions Apply. Packages on sale until 31 December 2019 or sold out prior. 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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