Drive 30 minutes southeast from Noumea, turn left on the cross island route RP3 to Yate and the twisting mountain road takes you through a huge, unpopulated area in the central part of New Caledonia's main island, Grand Terre. A network of trails and paths branch off from this road, leading nowhere in particular. Every weekend people from Noumea drive here to go for walks, picnics, and to swim in the fast flowing creeks and rivers. Riviere des Pirogues crosses Route 1 as a small creek and by the time it empties into the baie des Pirogues 17km away it is a respectable island river. The two main tributaries are the We Puci river, with it's lovely cascades, and the even larger Napoueredjeine Rivere. I had taken a sphere image at We Puci Cascades and one from the watch tower on the tip of the easternmost peak of the Deux Tetons and I wanted to do one at the large swimming hole where Napoueredjeine Rivere joins the Riviere des Pirogues - a 35 minute power-walk along the flank of the Deux Tetons.
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.