Blue River National Park is a 9,000 hectare ancient wedge of land, sandwiched between the city on one side and palm tree ringed lagoons on the other.
- Walking trails, blue swimming holes and prehistoric trees
- Easy mountain bike trails
- Kayaking through the drowned forest
Just 60km outside of New Caledonia’s bustling capital, Noumea, is the iconic Blue River National Park.
The road up the mountain and into the national park is well-paved and also remarkably well signposted, but I recommend leaving your accommodation early to beat the mad rush, as lots of day-trippers make their way along this road for lunchtime visits.
From the minute you arrive, you’ll first notice that the landscape is dramatically different to the rest of the country. With crimson red dirt reminiscent of outback Queensland, the land and air here feels almost prehistoric. Be sure to register at the ranger office (about AU$9 per person) on arrival.
Once you enter the park, head straight for Pont Perignon to collect your vouchers for a self-guided mountain bike and kayak combo adventure.
This is undoubtedly the best way (and the best value) to explore the wide open trails and the tentacle-like tributaries of the famous Yate Lake. But it’s not the only way – a shuttle bus operates along the clearly-defined bike route as well.
The adventure combo will cost you about AU$80, but this way, you’re able to spend the entire day exploring. You can take your time riding all the way up to the 1,000 year old Grand Kaori tree – an imposing ancient landmark with a trunk measuring 2.7m in diameter.
Before you depart, organise a meeting point for your kayak with the team at the hire shop. That way you can leave your bike at the designated point and they’ll meet you again downriver for your final ride home.
We meandered our way down river through the ash coloured trunks of the drowned forest before taking a short break to explore the ghostly landscape on foot.
If you’re keen to channel your inner David Attenborough, there are a few key well-signposted stops along the return mountain bike trail where you can pull up your bike and dive beneath the rainforest canopy.
Not only is it about 10 degrees cooler in here, this is your chance to look out for the native Cagou, an unusual looking bird about the same size as a chicken.
- Plenty of water
- Hat to wear underneath your bike helmet
- Hiking shoes
- Snacks for a picnic
How To Get There
Blue River National Park is just a 1.5 hour drive south from Noumea
- Bird watching
- Mountain biking
These mountain bike trails are very easy and are about the size of a normal dual carriage road. However, if there’s been a little rain they can get a bit slippery. Doing the full bike route right up to beyond the Grand Kaori and then the kayak on top of this can be a long day. Be prepared for muscle fatigue! The route isn’t difficult at all, just long, so block out the entire day for a full-on adventure you won’t forget!
New Caledonia is packed with adventure. But can you do it all for under $1000? See for yourself.