3 days in Maré
Book a air ticket to Noumea and from there, a connecting flight, 45 minutes, to « the island that calls to your heart »: Maré, or Nengone in the local language, is the second largest of the Loyalty islands, both in land area and population
Living the good life Nengone Style,
What could be more pleasant, after flying in from Noumea, that having a swim amidst a school of multi-coloured fish? Mare’s natural aquarium, south of Tadine, is ideal for taking your first plunge, with its divine clear waters of varying shades of blue. You can savour fish cooked « bougna » style at the Hotel Nengone Village. This traditional Kanak dish consists of tubers, vegetables and fish, typically wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over a bed of red-hot rocks.
Strolling and kicking back on white sand beaches
Continue this relaxing interval on one of the island’s magnificent beaches. While some of these, such as Wabao, offer long stretches of white sand, others feature a hillier terrain, more characteristic of the wilder state that characterises Maré. The beach at Pede, for example, is often cited as one of the most beautiful in the world. You can also opt for a short seaside hike, following the « route of the five beaches » on the west coast.
Inland from the cliffs
The mysterious la Bonet Well and the Pethoen Cave
Your journey to New Caldonia will enable you to explore the different faces of Maré, such as its amazing jagged cliffs, which often harbour petty coves with fine sand. Located in Wakone, around seven kilometres from the La Roche airport, the legendary Saut du Guerrier (« Warrior’s Leap ») is a « must-see » on any trip to Mare. The story goes that in ancient times there was a warrior who, fleeing his enemies, managed to leap over the abyss in a single bound, whilst his pursuers tumbled into sea below.
Lunch is served !
In the midst of the vegetation in the Medu district, you will come across another local wonder, the Pethoen Cave, with its marvelous stalactites. These dangle over a freshwater lake, where locals like to bathe. For a lovely ending to the day, consider booking a coconut crab dinner at the Gite Chez Léon, which is run by the Eni tribe. This astonishing land creature feeds exclusively on coconuts, which give its flesh a most unique flavour.
The island's treasures
Meeting at the Tadine market
The Kanak have a customary saying : « you have a watch, we have the time », and indeed, it seems like someone has turned the clock back in Maré. Everything moves at a slower, calmer pace. A kinder, gentler lifestyle predominates here and visitors cannot help being caught up in it. If you turn up on a Tuesday or Friday morning, check out the local market in Tadine, the island’s pictoresque little capital.
The realm of avocados and sandalwood
In Maré, the principle occupation of the the resident population is market farming, providing the produce that feeds the rest of the country. The fame of the local avocados, for example, has long since spread beyond the Nengone country’s borders. When they are in season, you can find them on every Caledonian grocery shelf. The Nece tribe holds a festival dedicated to this little green fruit every year in May. At this time, it is possible to book stays and take advantage of discounts, thanks to the famous iBozu package holidays, which are also available in the other Loyalty Islands.