Fort Teremba in MoindouFort Teremba in Moindou
©Fort Teremba in Moindou|Anaëlle Chretien & Steven Lequertier

24 hours in the La Foa region

Anaëlle et Steven's good ideas

Proud of their land and their natural and cultural heritage, the people of the La Foa region are as varied as the activities they offer. We embarked on a horseback ride with Stockmen, deep in the heart of nature, visited the penal colony, indulged in local “terroir” dining, and spent a night in a Mongolian yurt. Today, we share our 24 hours in this lush region that astonished us with its diversity and the commitment of its residents to preserve it.

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

Horse-riding

between the lagoon and the mountains

To kick off the day, Steven and I decided to take a 2-hour horse ride with Vaqueros Rando. It’s about an hour’s drive from Noumea to reach Ouano, one of the starting points recommended by Norbert, our guide.

Although Steven is less at ease with horses than I am, the ones we were given were so well-trained that he managed to gallop and even climb up to the many viewpoints while riding his. From up there, you can really see the contrast of colours between the mountains and the lagoon and realise just how vast the terrain is.

We loved the different landscapes and the close contact with the horses. This ride for two was my BEST experience of the weekend!

Tourism and culture

in the village of La Foa

About twenty kilometres from Ouano, the village of La Foa offers a convenient and cultural stop. Our first stop was the Tourist Office, easily recognisable by its colonial-style building.

Once you’ve found out all you need to know, you can go shopping in the area and stroll around the village on foot. Just behind the Tourist Office in La Foa, the Georges Guillermet Park offers you the chance to admire several sculptures by artists from all over the island, as well as some beautiful endemic palm trees.

We also enjoyed the mural about Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s cinema and the steps named after actors. It’s worth noting that, every year, the cinema hosts a very popular festival, sponsored by a major film personality.

Observing flora and fauna

at the Great Ferns Park

We then headed to the Parc des Grandes Fougères (Great Ferns Park). As soon as you arrive in the parking area, you can already catch a glimpse of these magnificent giants from above. But it’s only when you’re underneath them that you realise just how enormous they are. It was our first time seeing them.

This nature reserve is huge, clean and very well laid out, and the keeper gave us lots of good advice. Even though there were several cars in the parking area, we didn’t encounter anyone during our hike. A pure getaway in the peace and quiet, away from the crowds.

The 40 km of trails are at different levels, but all are home to numerous water courses, plants and animals, which you can also observe on guided tours. Steven and I were lucky enough to be surprised by a kagu, and it’s a memory we’ll cherish!

Here’s a tip:

Keep a low profile during your hike so you can spot them without disturbing them.

Anaëlle

Picnic at the Petite Cascade

To cool off after our hike, we decided to go for a swim at the Petite Cascade, located near the park. The entrance to the trail starts next to the Refuge de Farino. It’s about a twenty-minute walk (3.6 km) to the waterfall.

The path is very easy to walk on, and you can easily climb to the top of the waterfall, even with small children. You’re also able to swim in the various pools carved out of the rock, it was a great place to have our picnic.

We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but we discovered a great spot that should appeal to anyone looking for a break in the heart of nature close to this lovely waterfall.

Learning about the history of the penal colony

in an immersive and fun way

On the way back from Farino, we planned to make a short stop at Fort Teremba, in Moindou. We ended up spending one and a half hours exploring this renovated and classified as former penal colony. Built in 1871 and closed in 1919, this spot provides a glimpse into the past and an insight into the history of penal colonisation in New Caledonia at the end of the 19th century.

Easy to follow thanks to the various explanatory panels placed throughout, the tour takes in the fort, the prison cells, the museum and some surrounding buildings. The tour is really informative and immersive, and the game of riddles is a real bonus.

Don’t forget to take the exit from the Fort’s tower, on the first floor, where you’ll have a beautiful view of the bay. There are several events organised onsite during the year, including a sound and light show that we’d love to see.

A local "terroir" dinner

at the Table du Banian

For dinner, we chose to book the Table du Banian, a 10-minute drive from the village of La Foa. We were promised local, family-style cuisine, and that’s exactly what Annick, the manager, served us.

On arrival, we had an aperitif with her, her brother Gilbert and two other guests, with a superb view of the Pocquereux valley, which you can also see from the bungalows in the gîte. Even in the cooler months, the terrace where you dine is well-equipped and heated.

As we were feasting on a cassolette of produce from her garden, we chatted happily with her to learn more about the surroundings. She gave us the addresses of farms in the area where we could visit and buy local specialties. It was a really pleasant moment.

Spending an unconventional night

in a Mongolian yurt

Chatting to the locals, we realised that the La Foa region was renowned for its many ecolodges and green establishments, so we thought we’d give it a go. We opted for a stay at Les Yourtes aux Fruits, right next door to “table d’hôte” of Annick, and managed by Nadine who is… Gilbert’s sister!

They offer you the chance to spend an unconventional night in a traditional Mongolian yurt in the heart of nature, with a view of the mountains and the Pocquereux valley. With a terrace and a shower room on the side, the rooms are powered by solar energy.

Steven and I really enjoyed it. We’d definitely recommend this experience to anyone looking for a unique and peaceful stopover, and who can survive without their TV or Wi-Fi (at least for while 😉). It’s really refreshing to switch off for a weekend and remember to look up at the stars in the sky.

Good to know

To reach the village of Farino, you head up a mountain road that will take you a few hundred meters above sea level. Once there, don’t forget to stop at the market square next to the town hall to enjoy the view over the valley. The Great Ferns Park is 6 kilometres beyond the village.

Although the places are fairly close together, the activities we were able to do were really varied. Steven and I would advise you to leave as well-equipped as possible to fully enjoy everything you might want to do (suitable footwear and clothing for hiking, bathing suits for the lagoon and waterfalls, appropriate clothing for cultural visits, warmer outfits for the cooler nights of the Chaîne, etc.).

Anaëlle and Steven's good ideas

Find out more about all their adventures!
Close