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Take part in a full-scale adventure exploring the North of New Caledonia, an authentic destination of great diversity!

Geocaching is a new adventure exploring the north of New Caledonia, off the beaten tracks! Equipped with your GPS or your smartphone, you set out to look for the best kept secrets and the most amazing spots in the North Province. Using their GPS coordinates and your insight, find the twenty “geocaches” hidden all over the north of New Caledonia and share your experience on line

Welcome to the Passport for the North Geo Tour!

As you make your finds, complete your Passport for the North, so you can win collector geotags , or you can play just for fun!

The Passport for the North Geo Tour is made up of 20 geocaches, numbered from 1 to 20. You can attempt the full circuit, in either direction. Allow 7 to 10 days if you want to look for all the caches. You can also concentrate on a single region depending on what you fancy.

  • Caches No 1 to 5: the Mining Country
  • Caches No 6 to 10: the Pacific Coast
  • Caches No 11 to 15: the Far North
  • Caches No 16 to 20: the West Coast Open Spaces

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The geocache list

The Mining Country

Cache No 1: The waterfall campsite

geo1 gelimaAt the foot of Ciu waterfall in Canala, the Kouré campsite in Haut-Gelima is a cool oasis for summer weekends with family or friends, with its 100 camping spaces, thatched huts and barbecues spread out along the river beneath the foliage of ancient banyan trees, tree ferns and flame trees. From the campsite, cross the river and take the paths leading to the waterfalls.

An easy cache for the family to find !


Cache No 2: The Kaori forest

geo2 kaorisIn the valleys above the Crouen and Nénon-Kerenou tribal villages in Canala is hidden a forest of giant kaoris, once logged for their enormous straight trunks reaching several metres in diameter. Today many giants are still standing and form a forest extending as far as the high valleys of Sarraméa, in the South Province.A guided hike leaving from the “Chez Christian” campsite takes you into the depths of this enchanted forest, and the toughest can go through it as far as Sarraméa. Christian Kona (tel.: 83 75 94) enlivens the journey with comments on the botany and history, and also tells you about the local legends and traditions. If you are adventurous, you can do without a guide in looking for the cache, which is located at the edge of the forest. On the other hand, you are strongly advised not to attempt to go further through the forest alone, as the track is not marked, and some places crossed are taboo for the local populations.

A route with no specific difficulties, but reserved for good walkers. Make sure you take the hiker’s essentials (hat, closed-toe shoes, water supply, etc.).


Cache No 3: Koh lookout

geo3 kohOn the famous road with 511 bends which leads to Kouaoua village, shortly before the turnoff to Canala, this rest area invites the traveller to take a break dedicated to Kanak culture and endemic species. Once past the sculpted gate, the path leading to the magnificent lookout over the valley and Koh waterfall is dotted with sculptures representing the local spirits and botanical labels for the main endemic plants.

A welcome break on the road and an easy cache for the family to find!


Cache No 4: The Petroglyph

geo4 petroglyphesThe petroglyphs are one of the mysteries of New Caledonia’s archaeological heritage. Although none of these engravings has been directly dated at present, certain petroglyph motifs are found on Lapita pottery fragments that date back 3000 years. As to their origin and meaning, there are two schools of thought:

  • One, official, considers the petroglyphs Melanesian, probably from the “Naia Oundjo” period around 300 years AD. They are said to constitute a system for marking boundaries between clans.
  • The other considers that their origin goes back to a pre-Melanesian past.

The drawings are very precise and the engraving technique is impressive. The deepest groove is 5 cm. The motifs are substantial in quality and quantity: circles, spirals, rings, stars, flowers, etc. However, unlike the stone cultures that represented human beings and nature, the New Caledonian petroglyphs offer almost no animal or human representation. It should also be emphasised that these petroglyphs present many similarities with European neolithic engravings.

Petroglyphs exist over almost the entire island but seem present on the map in particular density between Thio and Poindimié, with apparent itineraries following the river valleys of the East Coast, crossing the ridge lines and picking up the theme along the rivers on the West Coast, with the East Coast home to 70% of the sites. Mining activity has doubtless contributed to the disappearance of some sites, even if certain sites have been saved by removal.

On the Col de Poro [Poro pass] road that connects Kouaoua to Houaïlou through mining landscapes, a certain number of petroglyphs that survived mining have thus been collected together so visitors can see them. Take advantage too of the view and the contrast between the red earth and the blue of the lagoon!

Be careful you don’t slip or cause rockfalls during your searches, as the terrain is unstable, especially after heavy rains.


Cache No 5: Bweö track

bweo 1On the Col des Roussettes road linking Bourail to Houaïlou, in the very heart of the mountain chain, Boréaré tribal village offers an astonishing and athletic hike, including botanical exploration, archaeological remains and breathtaking scenery...

Following your guide Jean-François Gowe along the 10 km track, you will pass in turn through a pine forest, a niaouli savannah and the great rainforest before walking along the Wa Bwea river (a swim is recommended!) and enjoying a lookout over a nearby waterfall. In the rainforest, you will see the blushing palm (Chambeyronia macrocarpa), an endemic palm with red leaves, and may spot deer. Further on, you will find the remains of old traditional huts and petroglyphs, mysterious messages engraved in stone by the Elders

Coming down the Col des Roussettes, towards Houaïlou, take the right fork before the blue bridge (first Waypoint) towards Cala tribal village, then turn right at the junction and continue as far as the Protestant church (second Waypoint) where you can park your car. The track starts at the “three mango trees”, 800 m from the church up near the entrance to the tribal village (third Waypoint). Access to the first section as far as the cache is open to all. On the other hand, the complete hike must be done with a guide as the track is not marked. Contact Jean-François Gowe on 42 59 54, 42 48 59 or 81 14 22 (don’t hesitate to leave a message)

Make sure you take the hiker’s essentials (hat, closed-toe shoes, water supply, etc.).


The Pacific Coast

CCache No 6: GR® Nord Tchamba/Saint-Thomas

geo6 tchambaThe tribal villages are connected by a magnificent hiking trail, marked according to the standards of the Fédération Française de Randonnée [French Hiking Federation]. It runs like a natural green line crossing paths used relatively little until now, travelling through the most authentic, most unexplored and most beautiful parts of the North Province, its wild landscapes: the first section of the GR® Nord [grande randonnée: registered hiking track] is now open to the public, running along steep ridges, plunging into fertile valleys known only to a privileged few and crossing cool rivers and hidden forests... This first part of the track promises pure, unspoilt air over the 70 kilometres between the districts of Ponérihouen, Poindimié and Touho.

The first stage from Tchamba to St. Thomas has varied scenery. It passes between the peaceful Tchamba valley and the Amoa valley. The track winds first through the tribal area in the midst of lush vegetation intersected by fields, banana trees and coffee plantations. Then it enters a vast forest range and the dense foliage of the great virgin forest near St. Thomas. Near the IBA (Important Bird Area) of the upper Tchamba valley, the route has great ornithological wealth. Sometimes in the morning, the song of the kagu resounds in the forest...

Make sure you take the hiker’s essentials (hat, closed-toe shoes, water supply, food, etc.). The cache is placed in the first part of the route, which follows the old sawmill dirt road. It represents a short walk with no difficulty, accessible for children who are reasonably fit. You can go by car from the GR® hut as far as the boundary of a private property through which the GR® passes. Make enquiries at the GR hut.


Cache No 7: Napoémien tribal village

geo7 napoemien

Poindimié, the main East Coast district, has no less than some 20 tribal villages, along the coast or nestled in verdant, mysterious valleys. You can go on foot to visit Napoémien valley, with its pretty little waterfalls, its typical tribal village and its petroglyphs. The cache is located near the home of Jehudit Pwija (tel.: 47 28 28), a tourist guide who will show you his tribal village and his lifestyle: use of medicinal plants, preparing a traditional Kanak dish, the bougna, and many other things. Don’t miss this opportunity to be introduced to Kanak culture simply and easily.


Cache No 8: GR® Nord Pombeï/Tiwae

geo8 tiwaeThe tribal villages are connected by a magnificent hiking trail, marked according to the standards of the Fédération Française de Randonnée [French Hiking Federation]. It runs like a natural green line crossing paths used relatively little until now, travelling through the most authentic, most unexplored and most beautiful parts of the North Province, its wild landscapes: the first section of the GR® Nord [grande randonnée: registered hiking track] is now open to the public, running along steep ridges, plunging into fertile valleys known only to a privileged few and crossing cool rivers and hidden forests... This first part of the track promises pure, unspoilt air over the 70 kilometres between the districts of Ponérihouen, Poindimié and Touho.

The Pombéï-Tiwae section is a rather long forest stage in a mountainous and very compartmentalised landscape. The track is quietly swallowed up by the dense foliage of the forest, as it winds between huge trees. It enters areas that have long been unspoilt and enigmatic. From breathtaking lookouts you can see into the heart of the central mountain chain with its forests and waterfalls. The walk can be cool and pleasant, or stifling and heavy going, depending on the weather. But it can also become hazardous. Several river crossings become impassable when there is heavy rain. Find out about the state of the rivers and the weather conditions in the days before you leave. Tiwae tribal village, welcoming and nestled in the bottom of the valley, seems very isolated but is only 5 km from the seaside road and can easily be reached by car.

Make sure you take the hiker’s essentials (hat, closed-toe shoes, water supply, food, etc.).


Cache No 9: Hienghène Bay from the Col de GaWivaek

geo9 hiengheneA short, fairly easy, marked hike leaving from the lookout car park, or lower down from the Goa ma Bwarat Cultural Centre, this track, which is fairly steep but not difficult, will take you over the peaks above Hienghène Bay, one of the most beautiful - if not the most beautiful — panoramas in all New Caledonia: the Lindéralique rocks to the right, the Broody Hen, the Sphinx, Ouaré tribal village, the Hienghène valley, Mont Panié in the distance and the great reef on the horizon.

Make sure you take the hiker’s essentials (hat, closed-toe shoes, water supply, etc.).


Cache No 10: Bas-Coulna tribal village

geo10 bascoulnaIn the heart of the mountain chain, about 35 km from Hienghène village, bordered by a cool river, lies the pretty tribal village of Bas-Coulna. About one and a half hours from Hienghène village (without breaks...), you will travel along the magnificent Hienghène valley on a dirt road open to vehicles but requiring a 4WD during the rainy season.

Find out about the state of the dirt road from the Tourism Office in the village. A truly peaceful haven, Bas-Coulna, home to scarcely 200 people, is prettily decorated with flowers and surrounded by yam and manioc fields. Freshwater prawns can be caught in the river, using a shrimping net or spear.

The tribal village has a single tribal accommodation facility, “Au Bon Accueil” [At the Good Welcome] (tel.: 42 54 43), which well deserves its name. Ida will welcome you there with simple ease and introduce you to her cuisine, her culture and many activities, while her husband, Abel, will take you even deeper into the mountain chain on horse treks. A time of authentic exchange and sharing in a calm, shady place, far from the cares of our civilisation.The cache, which is a little difficult to reach, offers a boundless view over the tribal village in its natural setting. Make sure you take the hiker’s essentials (hat, closed-toe shoes, water supply, etc.).


The Far North

Cache No 11: Mahamat Beach

geo11 mahamatOn 7 September 1774, Captain James Cook, the great explorer of the South Pacific, disembarked in Balade, near the Pouebo River, onto the land that he had just named New Caledonia. Nearly 70 years later, on 21 December 1843, Monsignor Douarre followed the same route and disembarked from the Bucéphale to celebrate the first mass in New Caledonia, on the edge of Mahamat Beach. Some days later, the first Christmas mass was celebrated not far away, under the banyan tree which still shelters a chapel and an altar today.

On 24 September 1853, in Balade, Rear Admiral Février-Despointes signed the official deed by which France took possession of New Caledonia. Several hundred metres off the beach, a stele rises above the crystalline lagoon, commemorating the navigator Huon de Kermadec, another great explorer, who died from tuberculosis when he put in at Balade in 1793 on his route searching for the lost Lapérouse expedition.

This highly symbolic place historically is also a pretty, pleasantly shaded beach bordered by secular banyan trees which have seen all the events related above occur.


Cache No 12: Pam plant

geo12 pamThe Pam foundry was built around 1996-1887. John Higginson, owner of the Pilou and Ao mines, decided to build it to enable processing of the copper ore extracted from these mines. These facilities were constructed with the labour of 300 convicts assigned by the penitentiary administration. The plant operated for less than two years and only resumed operation in 1895, before finally closing in 1902. The village built around the plant gradually lost its population and was finally abandoned in the 1970s.

The Pam plant was made up of three furnaces and a steam engine that produced the power required for the two ore crushers. A water tank to supply the steam engine was situated above it on the cliff overlooking the plant.

The 20 km dirt road from the Ouegoa turnoff (see Waypoint), which is open to vehicles (make enquiries if there is heavy rain), will take you along the Diahot river mouth as far as the end of the peninsula, opposite Pam island, in an end-of-the-world setting. Coming from Pouebo, you can also go around the peninsula in the other direction, heading to the Amos campsite and Tiari tribal village at the foot of the Col d’Amos [Amos pass].

Although overgrown by vegetation, the plant’s remains are still quite visible. There are no snakes or dangerous animals in New Caledonia, but occasionally wasps or centipedes are encountered. If you rub against the trees too much, you may make the acquaintance of the “electric” ants which are irritating but not dangerous. Make sure you take closed-toe shoes and preferably a long-sleeved T-shirt.


Cache No 13: Bernard Deloison viewpoint indicator

geo13 poingamJust before arriving at Boat-Pass, the northernmost point of the New Caledonia’s main island, turn off towards the Relais de Poingam, a host’s table and gîte well known for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The host’s table is focused on presenting as many regional products and organic vegetables as possible: lobster tartiflette (made with potatoes and cheese), carpaccio de bénitier (giant clam), crab platter, saumonée au pourpier de mer (coral trout with sea purslane) and saffron rice or cochon grillé à la broche (spit-roasted pork)...

The Relais de Poingam is located on a vast property under traditional custom ownership. Several educational tracks open to everyone have been marked out, and indicated with original signs. They take you to magnificent lookouts over the Far North of New Caledonia’s main island and the many islets extending from it, with a view in fine weather as far as the Belep islands in the north. You can observe the birds and wild horses, visit the niaouli distillery and the Kô salt marshes, and finish by walking along the endless beach with its copper tints...

An ideal stage for relaxing with the family a long way, a very long way from the world! Make sure you take the hiker’s essentials (hat, closed-toe shoes, water supply, etc.).


Cache No 14: Koumac caves

geo14 koumacThe Koumac caves are located about 7 km from the village at the end of a beautiful walk in the Koumac valley canyon. Near the entrance to the caves a picnic space has been laid out, and there is even cut wood available for the barbecue. Camping is permitted. The lush vegetation at the foot of the limestone cliffs is worth the walk alone.The first cave (“small cave” or “wind cave”) can be visited with no risk. Safety regulations for visiting the small cave: Unrestricted access – Level: easy – Duration: 30 mins. Torch (spare battery and bulb), closed-toe shoes and pants.

To visit the 360 metres of galleries in the “large cave”, you are asked to report your entry and exit times in the register available at the site entrance. Safety regulations: Unrestricted access – Level: easy – Extends 382 metres – Duration: 45 mins. Torch (spare battery and bulb), closed-toe shoes and pants, one litre of drinking water per person. Access is prohibited after 4.30 pm and in periods of heavy rain.

Those reckless enough to want to go further into the galleries alone should beware. The gendarmes come to help people who are lost several times a year and the caves become very dangerous if there is heavy rain. More complete exploration is possible with an experienced and well-equipped guide.

The cache is a little difficult to reach. Be careful of the sharp limestone rocks and of bites by “electric” ants (avoid rubbing against the branches of trees).


Cache No 15: Ouaco village

geo15 ouacoOuaco is the New Caledonian site nearest Australia. This is why the first flight between the two countries took off from Ouaco in 1931, whereas cable had already linked the two countries for telegraph connections since 1893.

The Ouaco canning factory, which supplied tinned meat to the army, was established in 1887 by the Société d’élévage de Ouaco [Ouaco cattle breeding company], which had the largest herd of livestock in New Caledonia on an immense property of several thousand hectares. “Bœuf Ouaco” [Ouaco Corned Beef] became famous throughout New Caledonia, particularly at the time of Colonel Dix. Sent out by the English company which had taken over the factory, this man had a staff who looked after thousands of head of cattle, and Ouaco was almost a law unto itself, with its abattoir, its meat canning factory and its many agricultural products. The euphoria lasted until the 1970s when Ouaco turned to mining activity when the company was taken over by the Lafleur family.

The place, which is rarely visited, bears witness to a past in which the country's agricultural and mining activities were combined. If you go towards the ocean, you can still see Colonel Dix’s home, facing the lagoon. At the seaside, there are the remains of the railway used to transport goods to the wharf, when boats came to load up with the canning factory's products. As for the rest of the canning factory’s facilities, they are partly used as workshops by the SMSP, the mining company operating the site, and partly left abandoned.


The West Coast Open Spaces

Cache No 16: Café Ecomuseum

geo16 ecomusee cafeIn New Caledonia, the history of coffee cultivation is closely linked to that of human beings, colonisation and human movements. If Voh is better known today for its mangrove heart than its coffee, this village was nevertheless an important centre of coffee cultivation in New Caledonia. Housed in the old Destoop building (named after its builder) on the Gatope lands, the ecomuseum closely associates the Province Culture Department, the custom authorities of Webwihoon tribal village and the Patrimoine et Histoire de Voh (PHV) [Voh Heritage and History] association. The various communities in the village are also involved and have all contributed to the development of coffee cultivation in the region. Built at the start of the twentieth century, the Destoop building was home in the 70s to a factory for mother-of-pearl buttons cut from trochas shells.

Today, the Ecomuseum team offers several services, as well as an exhibition of past equipment and educational trails, temporary exhibitions and activities for children and adults. Open every day except Monday, from 8 am to 6 pm. Tel. : 47 37 36 – 75 95 65.


Cache No 17: Foué Beach

geo17 foueArchaeological excavations on Foué Beach revealed a major prehistoric habitat site, dating back over 3,000 years. It was apparently inhabited by populations speaking Austronesian languages, who were masters of ceramic art. In 1917, the geologist Maurice Piroutet came across pottery fragments on Foué Beach, in a locality called Lapita.

This name was subsequently selected by archaeologists to refer to all this pottery and the associated cultural complex, not only for New Caledonia but for the entire Pacific region. Today the right section of Foué Beach is home to an aquaculture farm and the left section has a water sports centre and a very pleasant beach with picnic tables.


Cache No 18: Col de Tango

geo18 tangoThe Route Provinciale Nord 2 (RPN2), better known as the “Koné-Tiwaka”, is the main cross-country road between the east and west coasts of the main island, and connects Koné to Touho in about an hour. Inaugurated in 2000 and 71 km long, it offers a route of exceptional beauty, winding in the midst of the mountain chain past the rivers, with rest and bathing areas and magnificent lookouts.

The Col de Tango [Tango pass] rest area offers a unique panorama, from the lagoon and the Koné and Pouembout plain on the right, to the peaks of the central mountain chain on the left, and in between the Tia plateau, the Kopeto mining massif and the tribal villages in the valley below.


Cache No 19: Plaine des Gaïacs memorial

geo19 gaiacsAt the start of the Pacific war, New Caledonia, a country allied to Free France, represented for the Americans a strategically important rear base. From 1942 to 1946, over a million GIs stayed in New Caledonia, transformed into a giant aircraft carrier, the springboard for reconquering the Pacific. A period that profoundly marked New Caledonian society by propelling it into a new era.

In December 1941 work started on laying out the Plaine des Gaïacs airport. Two runways were planned, one 1,400 metres long, parallel to the shore and oriented to the north-east, the second, 1,200 metres long, crossing the first runway at its southern end. At the beginning, the work was entrusted to the French, who worked together with American officers. Over 400 people worked on the site. Then at the start of April 1942, the American army took over.

General Patch posted the 810th Engineer Aviation Battalion to build the airport with 720 men. The runways were consolidated and enlarged. The runway surface was made up of compacted iron oxide gravel with iron grids at each end. During 1943 the runways were tarred. A weather station and a telecommunications centre were built.On 17 May 1942, the first ten planes posted to defend the island landed at the Plaine des Gaïacs. The Plaine des Gaïacs airport was able to receive up to 40 bombers and 75 fighter planes. Then from October 1943, the theatre of operations moved to the north Pacific and the airport became less important than Tontouta airport, which was better equipped. The airport was closed at the end of the war and the Plaine des Gaïacs returned to calm and solitude...


Cache No 20: Col de Poya

geo20 poyaA little over two hours by road from Noumea, Poya is a village of exceptions. Indeed, it is the only village in the country to be administratively divided between the North and South Provinces. The Col de Poya [Poya pass] marks the main entrance to the North Province. It is also a welcome halt on the way, with a stunning panoramic lookout over the mountains of the central chain and the immense plains below. Like an open book on what is available to you if you are travelling into the North, or like a last goodbye wink as you go back south.



geocache mea1   geocache mea2   geocache mea3


The Passport for the North game:
Hooked on geocaching ? Win our collector geotag!

  • Download here your copy of the Passport for the North.
  • When you find a cache, copy the password inside the box into your Passport. Each password gives you one point.
  • When you have a total of 10 points, return or drop in your completed form. The first 100 forms will receive in return a collector Geotag with its unique tracking number on


  • Cellule Ecotourisme de la DDE-E PN,
  • The town councils : Canala, Kouaoua, Houaïlou, Ponérihouen, Poindimié, Touho, Hienghène, Pouebo, Ouegoa, Poum, Belep, Koumac, Kaala-Gomen, Voh, Koné, Pouembout, Poya
  • SMSP Ouaco
  • Pouebo Information Point
  • Canala Tourisme
  • Ecomusée du Café Voh
  • La Korrigane

Before playing :