New Caledonia: Hienghene Limestone Islets

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Beautiful scenery followed us all the way to Hienghene. It was so nice to drive along the east coast while realizing that landscapes are getting more and more different.

What I really liked along the way are people. Everyone is waving all the time while saying hello as you drive past them. Don’t forget to wave back.

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La Cascade de Tao.

To get to Hienghene you need to cross the Ouaième River by the barge. It takes just a few minutes to get to the other side and the ride is free but donation is always welcomed.  This is the only barge in New Caledonia so try to include it in your route.

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Heinghene is a small commune known for its fascinating limestone islets. Look at this view, it’s amazing!

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What would be the best way to explore this surroundings? With a kayak of course! We stayed at the Babou Cote Ocean camp and it is one more awesome place to put a tent! Again a relaxing spot just a few meters from the beach. Here you can book snorkelig and scuba diving tours as well as rent a kayak. We took a kayak for a few hours and enjoyed every second of it! Perfect way to experience the nature from a different perspective.

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If you don’t want to stay in a camp you can stay at the Koulnoue Village. We went there for a walk and to finish this perfect day with a ‘cheers’!

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Prices:

Babou Cote Ocean, camping site, NZD$20, (1400 XPF, two people a night)

Kayak, NZD$40, (3000 XPF, double kayak, half day)

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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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One of a kind: Larnach Castle

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What a great weekend was that! Summer came pretty late this year to New Zealand so it was nice to finally feel those hot sun’s rays. From Invercargill, where we live at the moment, to Dunedin it takes around two and a half hours so it was a perfect spot for a weekend getaway. There are so many great things to do around this city, but first, in this post I will tell you a little bit about one unique place.

While traveling around Europe visiting castles is a part of every itinerary but here in New Zealand is a completely different story. There’s only one castle and it is located on Otago Peninsula. Larnach castle was built in 1871 and today it showcase the style of Victorian living.

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dsc05686Larnach Castle is privately owned by the Barker family who purchased it as their home in 1967. As it is open to the public conservation project is founded through admission fees. To visit the castle and garden the fee is 31NZD and for the walk around the garden only admission is 15NZD.

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For a coffee or something to eat there’s Ballroom Cafe set in the grounds of the Larnach Castle.

Castle is surrounded by 7 acres of gardens which are Margaret Barker’s personal green heaven. When she and her family moved in it was all overgrown and after a lot of effort this garden is now recognized as a Garden of International Significance.

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Sunday at Colac Bay

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What’s the best way to relax? I don’t know about you but for me the picnic and fishing in Colac Bay this weekend was a great way to end the week. Colac Bay is the small township 45 minutes from Invercargill. People are also coming here to take a surf lessons or to go diving. We saw a very nice camping ground so, as the summer is finally here, I think I found the perfect place to open the camping season!

Queens of the rhythm!

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Day spent on the Ellerslie Racecourse here in Auckland was enriched with the queens of the rhythm! Dancers from Rio were there to make the real show and all we had to do is to join them and try some of the crazy dance moves! Awesome!

Beautiful day at the Little Shoal Bay!

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Sun, sea and paddle board – great combination for the perfect day out! With the Auckland CBD and Harbour Bridge in the background, Little Shoal Bay was the best place to try this exciting activity. We didn’t really plan paddle boarding, but one kind man who was on this beach with his family, came to us and offered us his equipment, so we give it a go. And, of course, we loved it! Now I have one more thing on my list – I want my own paddle board! 🙂

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