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GRNC1 Stage n°1: from Prony to the Neocallitropsis refuge

Sport, Pedestrian sports, Hiking itinerary, Trail route in Mont-Dore
14.0 km
One-way
  • Walk in the heart of the mining and forestry history of the Great South: Prony, Tchaux mine, Anna-Madeleine mine: frozen traces of an ancient activity. Tortured nature, luminous and tragic beauty of the bleeding soils...

  • From the bay of the Somme (Prony) to the small Blue River of Prony (5.1 km – 1 hr. 30 mins.)

    D Departure: at the north-east end of the car park, go along the seaside to an intersection, 70 m further on [ on the left, the path joins the remains of the Prison]. Stay on the coast, ignoring the beginnings of traces on the left and reach Anse Sebert.

    1 Schlitting Sled (GPS: 687 988 – 7 530 436): follow the grassy track to the telephone box.

    2 Bridge (GPS: 687 901 – 7 530 594): cross it....
    From the bay of the Somme (Prony) to the small Blue River of Prony (5.1 km – 1 hr. 30 mins.)

    D Departure: at the north-east end of the car park, go along the seaside to an intersection, 70 m further on [> on the left, the path joins the remains of the Prison]. Stay on the coast, ignoring the beginnings of traces on the left and reach Anse Sebert.

    1 Schlitting Sled (GPS: 687 988 – 7 530 436): follow the grassy track to the telephone box.

    2 Bridge (GPS: 687 901 – 7 530 594): cross it. Turn right towards the seaside [> remains of buildings enclosed in banyan roots, fountain]. Follow the coast. Go past the penal colony building.

    3 Poudrière de Prony (GPS: 688 010 – 7 530 661; alt. 6m): cross the camping area (toilets). Stay on the good track which deviates from the shore and climbs slightly (> ignore the track which runs towards the seaside). Arrive at an intersection (> leave the left track which climbs towards the old iron mine) (GPS: 688 748 – 7 531 486). Walk along the seaside to the old wharf. Just before the mouth of a creek, the track leaves the coast to climb towards the mine. It quickly becomes stony [> numerous Nepenthes vieillardii]. Reach a crossroads of tracks.

    4 Intersection (GPS: 688 745 – 7 531 488; alt. 36m): turn right to cross the small creek. Cross a second creek and bypass the old weir to the south to reach the wharf. Follow the markings carefully (many abandoned tracks).

    5 Wharf (GPS: 688 905 – 7 531 432; alt. 22m):
    at the level of the post, turn frankly to the left towards the seaside by cutting the old tracks which converge. Gain a platform and turn left again towards the track that runs along the coast. Reach another intersection. Turn right to reach the next intersection (> ignore the track on the right which goes down to a fishing camp by the sea). Turn left. At the next intersection, turn right and continue to a ravine. Cross the ditch and continue to an intersection. Turn left (> the track becomes degraded) Carefully follow the markings to find the start of the Sentier de la Pénitentiaire [Prison Track] (GPS: 689 117 – 7 531 917) [> it bypassed Prony Bay and went as far as Port Boisé]. Enter the path, near a solitary gum-oak. Further on, cross a ditch on a few wooden poles, then climb the steps dug into the laterite soil [> beautiful view of the mouth of the Carénage river and the bay of Prony] and come out on a flat area.

    6 Old track (GPS: 689 224 – 7 531 953): cross it and continue north [> hot spring, visible at low tide, 400 m north-east]. Continue to a mining track.

    7 Track (GPS: 689 010 – 7 532 324; alt. 36m): turn right and join the small Rivière Bleue de Prony [Blue River of Prony] (> very dangerous crossing in rainy weather. Do not hesitate to turn around).

    From the ford of the small Rivière Bleue de Prony to the road (CR 7) (4.7 km – 1 hr. 20 mins.)

    8 Ford (GPS: 688 624 – 7 532 609; alt. 8m): cross the river, then go right on the track. Reach the remains of the penal colony [> freestone door frame. On the mound to the right, a few tombs, and an old camp, called “the Camp des Eaux Thermales”].

    9 Ruins (GPS: 689 101 – 7 532 569; alt. 20m): descend following the track (> often slippery). Just before the Rivière du Carénage, turn left to leave the right track and take the path.

    10 Track (GPS: 689 108 – 7 532 740): go up the right bank following an old track [> schlittage route dating from the end of the 19th century. Four old bridges mark out the ascent, the sleepers and the stones of the piles are still visible on the ground].

    11 Carénage Waterfall (GPS: 688 432 – 7 533 467): pass it. [> a path on the right joins the river, a suitable place for swimming]. Continue to an intersection [> straight ahead at about 400 m, there is a spring]. Climb, to the left, the zigzags that scale the embankment and join the old track above. Walk to an open spot.

    12 Viewpoint (GPS: 688 320 – 7 533 661) [> a solitary gum oak dominates the valley]: continue to a trench, go left. The trail emerges on flat cuirass terrain.

    13 Plateau (GPS: 687 653 – 7 534 260; alt. 152m): it then runs along the Rivière du Carénage at a distance to a characteristic waterfall [> a waterfall caused by a collapse of the cuirass].

    14 - L’Oasis (GPS: 687 636 – 7 534 795) (> be careful, the ground is unstable, do NOT cross the white line): cross well upstream of the waterfall and follow the river for about 160m before changing the trajectory to the left (> the route, not always marked, intersects several tributaries and prospecting trails). Rejoin the road.

    From the road (CR 7) to the Néocallitropsis Hut (4.2 km – 1 hr. 10 mins.)

    15 Road (GPS: 687 341 – 7 535 364; alt. 189 m): cross the road, then set off on an old track, leaving the others on the right which climb towards the Col de La Capture. You’ll come to an intersection. Continue on the main track [> route of an old line of wagons that transported chrome ore from La Tchaux to Prony Bay. The sleepers, ballast and piers of several bridges are still visible]. Reach another intersection. Leave the old track which goes straight up and turn left into fairly dense scrub. Cross a small creek on a footbridge and reach the remains of the old mine [> the ore descended from the mine by suspended gondolas. It was then transferred to the wagons].

    16 Lower station (GPS: 686 304 – 7 536 099; alt. 215m): from this point, take the path that led the miners to their place of work. It crosses an old track, then crosses a small forest area before slowly climbing up a side [> traces of fires, skeletons of several gum-oaks]. The path skirts a hillock on which the funicular departure station was perched. You’ll come to an intersection. Turn right, towards the saddle (> the track on the left is a cul-de-sac which leads to an exploitation corridor). The path joins the line of trolleys that linked the extraction area to the funicular departure station.

    17 Ballast (GPS: 685 857 – 7 536 207; alt. 284m): turn left following the path to find the start of the trail. About 150 m further, the path leaves the track and climbs to the left [> the ballast continues towards an exploitation area located beyond an old bridge]. Reach a small flat area.

    18 Saddle (GPS: 685 516 – 7 536 403; alt. 320m): the track then meanders through a hilly area dotted with sink-holes, and finally leads to a good track.

    19 Track (GPS: 685 497 – 7 536 697; alt. 345m): turn right to follow the track for about 300m, to the start of a path. Just before a climb, leave the track to the left to descend towards the Plaine de La Capture where the hut is located.

    20 Néocallitropsis Hut (GPS: 686 479 – 7 537 011;
    alt. 283m) (telephone box).
    > From the refuge, it is possible to join the road (CR 7) at La Capture. To do this, follow the southern shore of the marshy plain following an old mining track (2km). Access to the hut prohibited to vehicles

    © Text Jean Francis Clair

    FFRandonnée® grading:
    * Effort: IBP 48 Fairly easy (blue)
    * Technical difficulty: Not very difficult (orange)
    * Risk: Not very high (orange)
    * Overall grading: Not very difficult (orange)
  • Departure
    Mont-Dore
  • Departure location: reach the village of Prony to the south-east of Nouméa. Departure and return at the Bay of the Somme.

    Car park: northern tip of the beach (GPS: 687 866 – 7 529 968)
  • Environment
    • Panoramic view
    • Sea view
    • Mountain view
  • Spoken languages
    • French
  • Documentation
    GPX / KML files allow you to export the trail of your hike to your GPS (or other navigation tool)
Services
  • Equipment
    • Picnic area
    • Covered picnic area
    • Car park
    • Free car park
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