The southern part of New Caledonia's island of Grande Terre is a vast wilderness where you can walk all day without seeing anyone else, no structures, no villages, just old mining and logging roads from the late 1800's. The Riviere du Carenage is one of 5 rivers that flows into the Baie du Carenage on the northern extension of the big Baie du Prony. Nobody lives on any of the watersheds of any of the rivers. So the water is crystal clear, cool, perfect for cooling dips when trekking through this lovely wilderness area.
This particular part of the upper reaches of the Riviere du Carenage is strewn with giganic boulders. Most of them are sedimentary rocks, formed when the island was submerged millions of years ago. But some of the boulders are almost pure iron, like the one I am standing on or the spherical one next to it. I like to think these huge iron boulders came from meteors. They are scattered here and there in this area amidst the sedimentary rocks and sometimes surround large crater-shaped lakes.
New Caledonia is the closest South Pacific Island to Australia and New Zealand. It is a French Territory and although the official language is French the culture is a blend of Melanesian, European, Polynesian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indonesian, and more. There is one large mountainous island called Grande Terre and 6 smaller islands - the three Loyalty Islands, Belep and the Isle of Pines.The islands are remarkably unpopulated and there are vast areas of wilderness. There are hundreds of kilometers of walking treks, camp grounds, more than 42 parks and reserves, and crystal clear rivers with sparkling waterfalls. Almost one third of the population is located in the capital city of Noumea. Nickel mining is the primary industry and is the major contributor to the high standard of living in the country. Grande Terre is surrounded by the second largest barrier reef in the world and the protected lagoon created by this barrier reef is the largest in the world. Listed as a World Heritage Site in 2008, the lagoon is 24,000 square kilometers and supports a diverse and luxuriant fauna of fish and invertebrates.The vibrant, clear and rich colors are one of the first things that visitors notice when they arrive. Noumea has a complete range of hotels, resorts, restaurants, and activities to welcome visitors.