After my first weekend at Nouméa I took an domestic flightticket on Air Calédonie for the Isle of Pines. Unfortunately the weather was not my ally and I had only rain … I almost did not land as well, indeed after two unsuccessful attempts the pilots return to Nouméa. The second was good for us! And get a free little flyover of the island 😊.
The accommodation being relatively expensive I booked to the Atchu campsite a wooden hut (without electricity). The campsite is fairly well located in the south of the Isle of Pines. The proximity to a hotel allows to use their shuttle service (from the airport and for excursions as well). Caution cold water only!
It is certainly quite spartan but the managers are really super nice! You will have an outdoor kitchen at your disposal, Wifi at the reception (well not too much when it rains), they offer very good meals and sandwiches not too expensive. Convenient for your day trips.
- Visit of the island
I originally planned to go on a pirogue trip to Upi Bay and then walk up to the natural pool. The weather decided otherwise and I took a shuttle to the natural pool (to walk to the bay of Upi). Having little tourist output on this rainy day I shared the beginning of the tour with the guide tour of the Pines’ island. So I was able to stop in St Maurice Bay, place of commemoration of the landing on the island. Then I visited the church, pretty basic. Much has been redone but the parquet is still original and really beautiful!
I did not visit the rest of the island but know that there are famous caves to visit among other things.
My driver dropped me off at the natural pool site (200Fr entrance) and then I walked through the forest to Upi Bay. This is generally indicated but I still found the way to lose myself! Fortunately I fell on my feet. And so I could see lots of snails and crabs 😉.
Despite the rain I was impressed by the color of the water! As I was there at low tide I was able to walk around the bay (beware the sand sticks a lot, it is better to go barefoot or flip-flop!)
The natural pool
Going up the bay of Upi I made a stop at the natural pool, no rain this time! To access it you will first have to cross a small river on foot (water up to mid-calf in winter) and then walk a few minutes. And it’s worth it! It’s really sublime too 😍. I did not snorkel (lack of time and heat) but apparently it’s a nice spot.
Flight back to Noumea
The return to Noumea does not really go as planned! I had to catch a flight in the morning then an afternoon connection to Ouvéa. The first flight was canceled (the plane was blocked in Lifou because of weather). For information this happens often and in this case :
– your current hotel must take care of you until the next flight
– the airline does not take care of anything (they cover themselves under the weather pattern even if in my case it was rather logistic)
– there is no internet at the airport (except Magenta) but the company can make calls for you if needed