Explore New Caledonia’s Wild West

New Caledonia

While New Caledonia is famous for its white sandy beaches, pristine water and palm tree-lined streets, the West Coast of the main island Grande Terre more closely resembles America’s Wild West with open, grassy plains and savannas covered with paperback trees. The locals in this rural region are affectionately known as Broussards, embracing a unique cultural identity shaped by the traditional rural lifestyle and taking inspiration from American and Australian bush culture.

Exploring New Caledonia’s Wild West allows travellers to gain a greater understanding of New Caledonia’s Broussard culture, enriching one’s knowledge of the archipelago’s heritage and the rural way of life. From La Foa to Koné, the West Coast has many hidden valleys, ranches, and rugged landscapes for travellers to discover and embrace their inner cowboy.

Bourail Agricultural Fair
The best way to get a taste of New Caledonia’s cowboy culture is to head to an agricultural fair. Each year in August, the highly anticipated Bourail Agricultural Fair attracts over 25,000 visitors to the region with its three-day festival featuring a rodeo, fair rides, livestock, equestrian and sheepdog competitions, motocross and wood chopping demonstrations. Visitors will also get a chance to sample local delicacies such as venison sausage, homemade jams, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as handmade crafts as they learn more about New Caledonian bush culture.

Horse Riding
Horses play an integral role in Broussard culture, so a horseback ride through the countryside is the perfect way to connect to the Wild West. Overlooking wide open plains, mountain peaks and the Pacific Ocean, a guided tour of the West Coast via horseback is a must for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the rugged landscape. For inland adventures, the untamed plains of Koné will lead you to hidden creeks and valleys, while the Lebris peninsula near La Foa is home to some truly beautiful coastal stretches.

Horse riding on Néméara Farm.

Farm Stays
To live out your cowboy dreams, a farm stay is the best way to get a hands-on experience, with many landowners welcoming visitors and sharing their rural lifestyle. Pocquereux Randonnée offers an authentic farm stay experience, with the option to take part in a deer hunt, horse riding and mountain biking activities. Another option, nestled in the heart of a green valley with century-old banyan trees, Villa Brousse at Néméara Farm, allows guests to observe their cattle drive back on bobcat, even allowing experienced riders to join them for the day for a real-life cowboy experience.

Sleeping under the stars is part and parcel when living a rural lifestyle and New Caledonia’s West Coast has plenty of outdoor accommodation options in truly exceptional settings. Offering simplicity and serenity in the natural landscape, the Refuge de Farino campsite is located in the heart of a forest, with guests enjoying exclusive access to the nearby river. For ultimate relaxation, steer clear of busy crowds and stargaze til your heart’s content at Moindou’s Gîte Les Nautilus campsite or the Fisherman’s Inn in Bourail.

While exploring New Caledonia’s Wild West, make sure to also stop and appreciate the major attractions along the West Coast. Located in Farino, the Great Ferns Park spans over 4,535 hectares of tropical rainforest, making it a great spot for hiking and birdwatching amid thousands of native flora and fauna species. Poé Beach is one of many beaches along New Caledonia’s World Heritage Listed lagoon and is a must for anyone travelling up the West Coast. Here you can encounter turtles in their natural habitat while snorkelling or you can learn to kitesurf from locals. For those after a more leisurely activity, the Deva Domain at the edge of Bourail has a stunning 18-hole golf course at Exclusiv Golf Deva overlooking the lagoon.

Celebrating its 47th edition this year, the Bourail Agricultural Fair will take place from the 16th to 18th of August at the Téné racecourse, 2 hours from Nouméa. For more information about the Bourail Agricultural Fair, please visit nz.newcaledonia.travel/destination-new-caledonia/west-coast/bourail-fair.

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