Casy Island & Prony BayCasy Island & Prony Bay
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10 best things to do in Mont-Dore

Leaving from Nouméa and heading towards Mont-Dore in the south unveils a captivating transformation of the landscape. As you traverse, the earth adopts a vibrant red hue, and the abundant vegetation transitions into a soft green mining scrubland, creating a striking contrast with the deep blue of the nearby lake. An adventurous allure beckons both thrill-seekers and sports enthusiasts. Mont-Dore, serving as the gateway to the Great South of New Caledonia, presents boundless natural spaces that serve as an expansive playground for activities such as kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, and 4×4 adventures…  It’s an invitation to engage with the surroundings, delve into an intense and untamed nature, sometimes rugged in its beauty. Additionally, within the commune of Mont-Dore, particularly at Prony or Cap N’Dua, the period from mid-July to mid-September offers optimal opportunities for spotting humpback whales.

Wondering where to start? Here’s our selection of 10 must-do activities in Mont-Dore!

Climb to the top

of the Mont-Dore

Strap on your sneakers and ascend to an elevation of 800 metres for a spectacular panoramic view of the lagoon and the Great South of New Caledonia! This invigorating hiking trail spans 7.3 kilometres, requiring approximately 3.5 hours of trekking, as it traverses Le Mont-Dore diagonally, ascending via the southeast ridge of the massif—the most breathtaking route. Embark on this adventure in the early morning to immerse yourself in the vibrant, unadulterated light! Additionally, the commune offers other trails suitable for all levels, such as the Bois du Sud, located not far from the renowned Parc de la Rivière Bleue (Blue River Park).

Back to the days of the penal colony

in the historical village of Prony

Venture into this village enveloped by banyan trees, uncovering the rich history of logging and mining in New Caledonia! Established in 1867 to fulfil Nouméa’s wood supply needs, it transformed into a penitentiary in 1873. Subsequently, it served as a hub for labourers exploiting the iron mine until 1968. Left abandoned from 1968 to 1990, the site has been revitalised through the efforts of the Association du Village de Prony. As you wander through the village, you’ll encounter ancient structures entwined in the roots of colossal banyan trees—bread ovens, powder magazines, sleds for transporting wood, officers’ quarters, and more. An extraordinary opportunity awaits for those seeking an overnight stay in Prony’s Paradise.

Observe the whales

from a catamaran

Each year, between mid-July and mid-September, set sail on a catamaran from Prony’s Baie de la Somme for an extraordinary adventure. Immerse yourself in the exceptional experience of humpback whale watching in the balmy waters of South Caledonia. Guided by a knowledgeable skipper dedicated to enhancing your awareness, this one-day cruise promises to be an outing into the world of these majestic cetaceans.

Kayak up the shores of Prony Bay

Choose a sea kayak expedition to explore Baie de Prony and its secluded islets, hidden away from the usual routes. Along the journey, you’ll encounter secret hot water springs, providing a unique opportunity for a rejuvenating soak amidst nature. This exclusive bathing experience is best enjoyed in solitude. Whether you choose to venture out independently with a kayak from Prony’s Paradise or opt for a guided tour, the choice is yours to make the most of this extraordinary outing.

Observing the horizon

from the Cap N'Dua observatory

Gently winding through the wilderness, the trails of the Great South unfold along red earth paths. Situated at the tip of the Great South, the Cap N’Dua Nature Reserve spans 830 hectares, showcasing remarkable biodiversity. The Cap N’Dua hiking trail connects Anse Majic (Bonne Anse) to the lighthouse, which regulates navigation in the Havannah Channel. Highlights of this accessible 4.5 km hike include panoramic views from the lighthouse, encompassing the entire Grand Lagon Sud, and, on clear days, even glimpses of the Île des Pins (Isle of Pines) in the distance. The observatory below is renowned for admiring humpback whales from mid-July to mid-September.

Imitate Robinson Crusoe

on the southern islets

Whether near Nouméa or far to the south, discover serene islets for a tranquil escape off the traditional path! While Bailly and Charron islets are just a stone’s throw from Nouméa, Casy Islet, designated as a nature reserve, boasts extraordinary biodiversity. Plan your visit by reserving the taxi-boat service that departs from Baie de la Somme. Once there, meander along the marked trail to explore the diverse landscapes of this uninhabited islet. Informative signs along the way provide fascinating insights into the site’s history, once home to convicts. Don’t forget your snorkelling gear for an opportunity to marvel at the coral and marine life.

Lunch overlooking the bay

of Port-Boisé

Savour a delightful meal or refreshing drink while gazing at the serene beauty of Port-Boisé Bay! Kanua Tera Hotel offers a waterfront deck, perfect for a leisurely lunch. Additionally, you can enhance your experience by renting a paddle or kayak to navigate the tranquil waters and explore the historic “Chemin des Bagnards” (Convicts’ Path). Beginning at Kanua Tera Hotel, this accessible 5km trail takes you to the Port-Boisé seaside campsite, following the path once tread by convicts engaged in logging operations in the Great South. Along the way, encounter remnants of that bygone era.

Explore the red lands by 4x4

Embark on a thrilling 4×4 expedition across the vast trails of Mont-Dore commune—an adventure-filled day awaits! Experience breathtaking views from high altitudes, conquer uncharted roads, and navigate through ford bridges. Secure your seat, brace yourself, and relish both the scenic landscapes and exhilarating sensations! Your off-road journey includes visits to Prony village, the rugged terrains of the former Iron Mine, Kva, and the expansive Champ de Bataille plain.

Bathing in Prony's hot springs

Secluded amidst exuberant vegetation, the thermal springs remain a tranquil haven, often undiscovered. Reach them by foot or on a supervised kayak excursion for an exclusive dip in the heart of nature. Prepare to unwind and experience a sense of escapism in this serene oasis!

Diving at the Aiguille de Prony

Uncover an enigmatic underwater site teeming with marine life! The Aiguille de Prony (Prony’s needle), a colossal chimney emerging from a freshwater upwelling, begins its rocky descent at a depth of 38 metres and rises within 2 metres of the water’s surface. The warmth emanating from the cavity lures a diverse array of marine creatures, including bivalves and loaches. Various diving clubs provide opportunities for immersive tank excursions, available for a full day or under the guidance of expert supervision during half-day sessions.

The needle of Prony: a unique natural phenomenon
The needle of Prony: a unique natural phenomenon
The needle of Prony: a unique natural phenomenon


Step into Mont-Dore, the entrance to the southern reaches of New Caledonia! Here, amid a blend of history and heritage, you’ll encounter a landscape oriented towards the sea, marked by remnants of the Bagne era.