Némou Islet in ThioNémou Islet in Thio
©Némou Islet in Thio|Anaëlle Chretien & Steven Lequertier

24 hours in Thio

Anaëlle et Steven's good ideas

If you enjoy cultural immersions and meeting new people amidst nature, you will love the Thio region as much as we do. Located just 1½ hours from Nouméa, this East Coast town unveils a distinct facet of New Caledonia, where we discovered the history of nickel, shared our experiences with the local tribes, and enjoyed some fantastic camping spots overlooking magnificent brown sand bays fringed by coconut palms.

Anaëlle and StevenAnaëlle and Steven
©Anaëlle and Steven
Anaëlle and Steven

Anaëlle and Steven are content creators who have recently settled in New Caledonia. For NCT, they agreed to share their favourite places and other good ideas, which they document in photos and videos during their getaways. From the mainland to the islands, from their favourite walks to the best shopping spots, Anaëlle and Steven take you on a journey to discover the must-see attractions in New Caledonia. Follow their adventures on @anaellechretienoff and @stevenlqr.

What we really love about New Caledonia is the diversity of its landscapes, from the sea to the mountains.

Anaëlle and Steven

Swimming among multicoloured coral

at Nemou islet

To kick off our day, we opted for a morning adventure on Nemou Islet, also known as Saint-Thomas Islet. We set off bright and early with the Port-Bouquet tribe. Prior booking with the tribe is essential for this excursion.

Nemou Islet delighted us with its features, including white sandy shores, lush tropical vegetation, vibrant coral reefs perfect for snorkelling, and unique perspectives of Grande Terre just a brief 10-minute boat ride away.

Chatting to our guide, we found out that we could camp in Port Bouquet if we booked in advance. Given its accessibility, scenic beauty, and well-equipped sanitary facilities, we envisioned it as an ideal weekend getaway with friends.

Julien and Maëva's round-the-world feast

At lunchtime, we returned to Port-Bouquet Bay, our starting point in the morning, to experience Julien and Maëva’s table d’hôte. The meal was delightful, featuring a robust, locally inspired, homemade menu consisting of papaya and meat salads, a catch of the day, and delectable desserts.

Our time with Maëva and her two friends was truly enjoyable. Engaging in conversations about various topics, they shared insights into their life in the tribe. It turned out to be one of the warmest welcomes we have encountered on our journey.

Notably, Maëva’s unique collection of flags from around the world adorns the table d’hôte, adding an original touch to the ambiance. Inspired by this, we decided to bring her a flag from Normandy on our return.

Exploring the village of Thio

for its history

Exploring the historical roots of Thio, a pioneering town in nickel mining, became our focus in the afternoon. On the way back to the village, we took a refreshing break at the Tô De water hole, enjoying a dip in its crystal-clear waters—an idyllic way to cool off.

Situated on the main street, the Mining Museum is a must-visit, offering insights into the Plateau Nickel Mine, the oldest nickel mine in Caledonia. For a more entrancing experience, guided tours are available once a month through the Thio Tourism Office, though do note that it is closed on Sundays.

Thio Mission’s vibrant church, the town hall’s lush gardens, and the local library are additional highlights, along with a visit to the Japanese Cemetery and Memorial on the village outskirts. The cemetery, serving as a poignant symbol of remembrance and friendship between Japan and New Caledonia, provided us with a glimpse into yet another rich cultural facet.

Moara Beach

Brown sands, Coconut Trees, and a Dugong

Before returning to our gîte for the night, we made a delightful stop at the Moara beach, a hidden gem recommended by friends. Nestled within a serene bay adorned with brown sandy shores and swaying coconut trees, it proved to be a blissful spot for a day of relaxation.

Our visit to this picturesque beach came with an unexpected treat—a dugong had made it its home, a sight captured by our drone. However, caution was advised as signs indicated not to approach too closely. Despite the dugong’s playful nature, its strength posed a potential risk.

Distinctive from the other beaches we had encountered in New Caledonia, the unique charm of Moara prompted us to extend our experience into the night, contemplating the idea of camping out beneath the stars in this captivating bay.

Feeling at home

at the Gîte Fô Pas Rêver

By the day’s end, we arrived at the Fô Pas Rêver gîte and the welcoming Grand Borendy tribe, concluding a scenic twenty-kilometre journey. From the moment we arrived, Marcelline and her dog Marron made us feel right at home.

Marcelline, exuding a delightful sense of humour, not only prepared a satisfying dinner featuring prawns and seafood but also ensured our stay was filled with warmth and laughter. It felt akin to staying with a cherished grandmother.

Cradled along the shores of a charming bay with black sand, her gîte proved to be well-equipped for families or groups. Five cosy bungalow cabins, each accommodating five beds, surrounded by lush plantations, a spacious faré, and a small kitchen for campers, created a comfortable retreat.

Good to know

The route to Thio unfolds along twisting mountain roads reminiscent of the Great South, making it advisable to plan ahead to fully savour the scenic journey. Take advantage of numerous lookout points, especially at the Nassirah pass, to appreciate the surroundings on your way to the destination.

For those passionate about camping and snorkelling, Thio offers an abundance of breathtaking natural spots that we highly recommend! However, ensure you are in an authorized camping area before setting up your tent, and confirm whether campfires are permitted during your stay. It is always wise to gather this information in advance of your arrival.

Anaëlle and Steven's good ideas

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