Grand Terre is one of the largest islands in the South Pacific measuring 500-km long, 50-km wide and surrounded by a 1600-km long coral reef providing great scope for scuba diving holidays. With diverse landscapes fractured by towering mountains, the patient traveller will find much to do on this island. However, for most holiday-makers, the island is simply too empty and too subtle to make an impact on tourism with long drives between sights and few beach resorts along its coast to enjoy. Those that do seek out the hidden adventures of the island should head north from the international airport at Tontuata. Unless of course your here to sample the delights of Noumea Town and its beach ambience
Grand Terre Holidays Overview
Grand Terre offers remote wilderness, rolling hills and farmland and high mountains with excellent opportunities for adventure tours, hiking and horse riding. However, that's not what most international tourists visit the South Pacific for. The main attraction of the island is the serene hills of Sarramea along the central west coast, the coastal scenery and scuba diving around Hienghene in the north-east coast, and the beaches with remote coastal walks in the far north of the island. Nickel mining is big business on Grand Terre, particularly inland from Kone; whilst much of the west coast is commercial farmland with several vast cattle ranches.
The peaceful mountain retreat of Sarramea and La Foa is the best spot to get active with some good mountain hikes, horse riding along fertile river valleys, and adventure tours including canoeing and caving. This region lies an hour drive to the north of the international airport making it as accessible as the seaside capital of Noumea which lies the same distance south of the airport.
The most scenic region is the coast around Hienghene which is a four hour drive up the coast and across the rugged mountains to the humid west side of the island . Here, high mountains tumble to the coast and there are plenty of remote tribal villages in the tropical interior to explore.
The prettiest beaches on Grand Terre are found at the very northern tip of the island around the region of Poum. Although there are some accommodations around Poum, travellers can also stay in Kone Town which acts as the business centre for the northern province and is the gateway to the wealthy Nickel mines in the interior.
Grand Terre Travel Information
Grand Terre is vast, taking over 7-hours by road to reach the northern beach town of Poum from Noumea, and 2-hrs to reach the south coast. Roads are excellent with plenty of small towns to stop over at along the west coast, but with sparser amenities on the wet tropical east coast. There are daily flights from Noumea to Kone Town on the west coast and Touho, just south of Hienghene, on the east coast.