Gardens of New Caledonia with Julie Kinney
Landscapes, Gardens and Kanak culture of Grande Terre
18–26 October 2019 (9 days)
Explore New Caledonia’s verdant Grande Terre, where a unique mixture of French and indigenous Kanak culture combines with stunning coastal landscapes and riotous tropical blossoms.
Begin in Nouméa, and discover a selection of private gardens on the island’s west, where French horticultural traditions express themselves through the abundance of Pacific island flora. Visit the Blue River Provincial Park, where endemic crested kagu birds (Rhynochetos jubatus) dart through the undergrowth, the striking Giant Fern Park and the tranquil gardens of the ANZAC Cemetery.
Then venture to the island’s east side, where the indigenous Kanak culture predominates, with its rich traditions of dance, song and totem carving. See extraordinary landscapes such as the rugged island of Poule Couveuse (‘Brooding Hen’), which nests upon the clear turquoise blue of the Pacific.
AT A GLANCE:
• Visit a selection of private gardens which combine French gardening heritage with luxuriant and colourful South Pacific flora
• Explore the Blue River Provincial Park, a treasure trove of biodiversity in its shrublands and tropical forests, and visit the luxuriant Giant Fern Park
• Marvel at diverse landscapes from the verdant central mountains to the coastal plains and the distinctive black limestone island of Poule Couveuse
• Discover indigenous Kanak culture at Nouméa’s striking JM Tjibaou Cultural Centre designed by Renzo Piano
• Learn about New Caledonia’s French colonial heritage with Nouméa’s elegant historic buildings and City Museum
Friday 18 October 2019 / Arrive Nouméa
Depart Australia on suggested Qantas / Air Calin flights to Nouméa. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements. Arrive in Nouméa in the afternoon on suggested flights in time for a group transfer to the hotel at 16:45. At 19:00 join Julie and fellow travellers for a welcome briefing followed by a special welcome dinner. (D)
Sat 19 Oct / Nouméa
Begin your exploration of Nouméa with a morning tour of the capital city of the French Territory of New Caledonia. Surrounded by charming bays, the city sits on a hilly peninsula, offering spectacular landscapes and beautiful beaches on the Baie des Citrons and Anse Vata. Discover the combination of South Pacific hospitality and European elegance with well-preserved historic buildings including the City Museum and stroll through the lively and colourful Moselle Market.
After lunch at a local restaurant, explore the Tjibaou Cultural Centre. Designed by Renzo Piano, the centre features contemporary design and references to Kanak culture such as the ten modern buildings evoking Kanak traditional huts. Visit the museum and art centre which provide an engaging introduction to Kanak culture and society, and enjoy a walk in the landscaped park displaying native New Caledonian plants. (BL)
Sun 20 Oct / Nouméa
Today, enjoy a day trip to the scenic Blue River Provincial Park, located in the south part of the island of Grande Terre. Journey through diverse landscapes to reach the park, covering more than 9,000 hectares of bush, wetland and rain forest. Learn about the immense Kaori trees (Agathis spp.), native plants and grevillea, and also about the endemic crested kagu (Rhynocetus jubatus). Return to Nouméa in the late afternoon and enjoy an evening at leisure. (BL)
Mon 21 Oct / Nouméa – Bourail
Depart Nouméa and travel along the west coast to the highland region of La Tendea near Farino. Visit a selection of private gardens before exploring the Giant Fern Park. The park’s dense rainforest displays almost 500 plant species of which 70% are endemic. Discover its rich biodiversity, including an abundance of distinctive tree ferns. Continue to Bourail, arriving in the late afternoon. Check in to the hotel, our base for the next two nights. (BLD)
Tue 22 Oct / Bourail
This morning, enjoy a gentle walk and a visit to a private garden.
After lunch, visit the poignant ANZAC Cemetery, commemorating ANZAC and local forces who served in the South Pacific during World War II. New Caledonia’s advantageous geographical location was an important base for the New Zealand, Australian and American forces involved in the battle of the Pacific.mThe remainder of the afternoon is at leisure, with dinner at the hotel restaurant. (BLD)
Wed 23 Oct / Bourail – Hienghène
Depart the west coast and journey through the mountainous landscapes of the centre of the island. Enjoy breathtaking views of the coastal plain and plateau and travel down to the wild east side of the country. Arrive in Poindimié for lunch and enjoy a guided tour of a private garden. Continue to Hienghène, passing by massive black-stone cliffs, waterfalls, coral forests and lush tropical vegetation. Check-in to the hotel, followed by dinner. (BLD)
Thu 24 Oct / Hienghène
Today, enjoy a delightful boat trip in the Linderalique lagoon, cruising past wild islets and striking black limestone cliffs. These beautiful steep shapes are part of rock formations stretching over several kilometres from the Bay of Hienghène, including protected mangroves and local Kanak villages. After exploring a local inlet, return to the mainland to enjoy a traditional lunch. Return to hotel for the remainder of the afternoon at leisure. Tonight, learn about the Kanak culture and people, the largest ethnic people of the island, and enjoy a ‘Bougna’ for dinner, the traditional dish of the Kanak people. (BLD)
Fri 25 Oct / Hienghène – Nouméa
Enjoy a morning visiting traditional Kanak villages near Poindimié and discover their local customs, and the plants and animal species they use in local herbal medicine.Then, depart the west coast and transfer to Nouméa, with a late afternoon arrival at the hotel.
Tonight, celebrate the conclusion of the tour with a special farewell dinner with Julie and fellow travellers. (BD)
Sat 26 Oct / Depart Nouméa
If you are returning home today, tour arrangements conclude with a group transfer from the hotel to Nouméa Airport for suggested Qantas/Air Calin flights to Australia. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including any additional nights’ accommodation, either before or after the tour. (B)