Sud Caledonien road trip to the Parc de la Rivière Bleue.
Today we went for a drive exploring the coast to the village of Plum and where the mountain roads in the east lead us. Along the way to the coast, we stopped at a refreshing water fountain where people were filling their bottles. We stopped at an empty beach full of stones and dead white coral. The sand is black here.
As advised by a friendly ex-pat British living there, we had to turn back to the roundabout to take the road to Lac de Yate and La Chute de Madeleine. It was a winding road around the mountains but the view was spectacular. We could see wind turbines in the distance and back burning by the fire brigade and the military. We passed rivers where the locals were swimming and picnicking. All around was low bushland and pine trees on red earth, reminding us of the red centre back home. It’s not what we thought we would see in New Caledonia but it has shown us a glimpse of how diverse this tropical island is. To learn more about the biodiversity in New Caledonia go to https://newcaledoniaplants.com/
The lake is artificial but striking to view as it is surrounded by mountain peaks with dark clouds dropping rain as they roll through at intervals. The sunken forest has left twisted and mangled grey and white branches across its expanse. Unfortunately, the national park entrance to the waterfall was closed on New Years Day but it was a good drive and picnic at the lake. Sadly we also passed remnants of chrome mining from the past and from one mountain view we could see the mining industrial area in the distance. Nickel? All around us through these mountains were dirt red tracks for hikers and mountain biking.
In the evening, the fireworks from the Sainte-Marie artificial islet revived my delight over fireworks. Magnifique! Practically everyone in Noumea came out and it still wasn’t crowded. It started with a longish speech in French which we didn’t understand but it sounded beautiful. A few metres in front of us the fireworks display charmed us. There were smiley faces fireworks. There were snake light fires leaping into the water, wriggling and leaping up again out of the water. It’s one of the best fireworks I’ve seen in years. It was so close! And the crowd was so polite and orderly. After that everyone just left as quietly as they came. Isabelle’s host said they always had it on the 1st January in New Caledonia and sometimes a few days later if it rained. New Years Eve is a time reserved for family here. At least, it didn’t compete with my birthday. Bonne Annee!