New Caledonia: On the way to Poingam

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Our stops after Bourail were Kone, Koumac and Poum on the far north.

There are some great beaches along the way, perfect to stop and refresh a little bit whenever you want.

In Koumac we stayed at Gite du Lagun. I have to recommend this place. It is a perfect camping spot and the owner is great. Most of the tourists in New Caledonia are French so a lot of people don’t know a word of english here. The owner of this camp is from Greece and speaks great english. It was nice to finally meet someone who knows the region very well and who can give us a few tips about some of the spots around here.

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The view in the morning… So peaceful.

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Bananas for breakfast!

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Pandop marina, a few minutes from Koumac.

He told us about Caves of Koumac (only around 380 meters or so can be visited, you need a lamp) and Malabou beach, which were on our route.

This beach is stunning! White sand, palm trees all around and a small bar to enjoy the view. One of the best spots on the island.

Just, don’t come here to sunbath because a lot of huge mosquitoes are here to ruin the fun.

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Malabou Beach

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If you want to stay here you can rent a bungalow.

Far north is a bit deserted and there’s nothing much to do so we spent the rest of the day wandering around, not bad at all!

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Northernmost point of New Caledonia.

There are a few camping sites around here and we decided to stay at the Le Relais de Poingam. A dirt road leads to this place and it really was a bumpy ride.

The camping sites are located a few meters from a beautiful beach and it was a nice place to spend a night.  However, some of the facilities weren’t in a good condition.

Travelers like to visit this place because traditional dinner is organised for the guests every night. The restaurant looks great and three course meal is all about local produce.

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Great spot for a coffee or a beer at the camp.

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What I didn’t like about our trip around north region were mosquitoes. A bottle of repellent was enough just for two to three days. And, it didn’t really help! I think those annoying flies are already used to it. Don’t forget to bring some loose-fitting clothing, long sleeves and pants with the material not so close to your skin.

Prices

Gite du Lagun, tent site NZD28$ (2000 CFP, two people a night)

Le Relais de Poingam, tent site NZD$25 (1800 CFP, two people a night). Traditional dinner is organised for the guests every night. It is a three course meal for NZD$50 (3500 CFP).

 

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New Caledonia: Things to do in Bourail

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After a few days in Noumea we rented a car and headed up north. The plan is to drive along west coast to the northernmost point and then down the east coast back to Noumea.

Renting a car in New Caledonia is easy and the price is around $60 a day. Remember, they drive on the right side of the road.

The difference between renting a car in New Zealand and here is in insurance. You can’t get full insurance in New Caledonia, there is always an excess fee you have to pay in case of accident. Another thing to note are kilometres which are limited for every vehicle. For unlimited km you’ll have to pay more.

What also surprised me is internet data. There is internet coverage almost everywhere on the island but there’s no pre-paid sim cards with available data. You can buy a sim card but you can use it only for calling and sending texts. If you want to use data you have to take a monthly plan.

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Being without internet made this trip different. We are all used to using GPS, booking accommodation while on the road and checking out some of the spots to visit while we are driving around. This time we had the map and that’s it. I loved it! Let’s turn right here, let’s go left there without knowing what to expect, awesome! Camping sites are well signed so it wasn’t hard to find a place for a tent.

Our first stop was Bourail, about two hours north from Noumea.

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Here are some tips on what to do while you are here:

If you like long white sand beaches (Poe is 17km long sand beach), hiking, horse riding and wandering through nature reserve you will enjoy this place. Some parts here look like deserts and we did feel some of the highest temperatures here, it was around 40 degrees.

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Poe Beach

One of the most popular sights is Deva Domain, which is among the most ancient archaeological sites in New Caledonia.

For those who like to indulge in some of the great activities this domain has 80km of mountain biking tracks, 25km of walking paths and 12km of horse riding trails.

We climbed a hill to check out the view of so called ‘Sharks Fault’. As you can see a deep blue line makes a notch in the lagoon. This former river bed forms into canyon, a place for strong currents and many different species.

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You can take a walk around the resort located at the domain.

One more site worth a visit is Turtles Bay protected site and second best place in the Pacific for turtles to lay their eggs.

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Moeraki Boulders phenomenon

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Road trip along North Otago coast will lead you to this unusually large boulders lying at the Koekohe Beach.

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Moeraki Boulders are natural phenomenon and one of the most popular attractions here on the South Island.

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Originally formed around 60 million years ago these three meters in diameter stones are definitely great place for a bit different photo.

DSC06011According to Maori legend these boulders are gourds washed ashore from the great voyaging canoe Araiteuru when it was wrecked after the landfall in New Zealand. According to science it is result of formations created by hardening sea sediment exposed through sea erosion.

Intriguing, right?

 

A few days in Croatia

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I haven’t been around for a while and you know why? We went home for the holidays! After year and a half we went to Croatia to check out what’s going on around there. It was really nice to see everyone, have a beer and talk about all the novelties. Year and a half is a long time and a lot of things happened. Everyone was interested in how’s life here in New Zealand and we were curious in what has changed back home since we left…

img_20170116_101134img_20170110_133828img_20170110_133517img_20170110_133507It was a great month overseas, a bit cold though! We forgot how cold it can get so this trip reminded us that ten degrees under zero and snow is a part of every winter in Croatia. In New Zealand winter is so mild and, you know what, I like that a lot!

Now we are back. After more than 30 hours in the air we landed in Queenstown, ready for the summer season all the way down on the south!

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Check out here, in my previous posts, why you should visit my hometown and how beautiful Zagreb can be under the snow!