West Coast Stockmen, Nekoro ranch in PoyaWest Coast Stockmen
©West Coast Stockmen|Oneye Production

Bush culture

in New Caledonia

Elevate your journey by residing with a local in the Brousse (the Bush)! Here in New Caledonia’s rural heartlands, you’ll uncover encounters and thrilling adventures amidst the livestock farms.

Explore local culture

The inhabitants of “la Brousse” , the rural regions of Grande Terre, are affectionately known as the Broussards. These men and women of the western and northern plains proudly embrace a unique identity shaped by a tumultuous history and diverse influences. Rooted in traditions of hunting, fishing, cattle ranching, and agricultural production, Broussard culture is infused with the essence of the American and Australian Far West. Dynamic and intricate, the best way to truly appreciate Broussard culture is through a homestay. Here are seven rural experiences that should not be missed when you venture into the bush!

Witness the cattle drive-in

On the vast cattle farms of the West Coast, cattle are driven back on horseback across rolling plains and forests of niaouli and gaiac trees. Many landowners welcome visitors to be part of this incredible spectacle amidst the ochre-hued landscapes. After the work is done, engage in conversations with the ranchers and witness the “baignade des bêtes,” where horses take a refreshing dip in the nearby waterhole.

Embrace farm life

On the sprawling plains of the West Coast, farmers and farm producers open their doors for you to explore the intricacies of Caledonian rural life. Discover the daily routines of the “Broussards” (French cowboys). In addition to informative farm tours and tastings of fresh produce, some farm station owners offer authentic homestays and table d’hôtes. Seize this opportunity to traverse the land and step into colonial homes steeped in history.

Cattle stations and farms

Indulge in local delights

Experience the tastes of home! Farmers invite you into their abodes to relish farm-produced, hunted, or fished (sea or river) products, central activities in the bush. Sample dishes like deer stew, sausages, and homemade jams. Relish generous, convivial cuisine crafted from farm ingredients using local expertise. Enjoy it during a table d’hôte meal or take it home with you.

Horseback exploration

Horses play an integral role in Broussard culture. Opt for a horseback ride lasting a few hours, weaving through the Chaîne Centrale and the coastline. It’s among the finest ways to uncover the genuine essence of Caledonian bush life. Perhaps you’ll be fortunate enough to immerse yourself in the stockmen’s world during equestrian games hosted at local agricultural festivals?

Fireside conversations

Spend an evening with your host to delve deeper into Broussard culture and the region’s eventful history. Enjoy a cozy night by the fire under the starlit sky—a scene right out of a movie!

An eco-responsible experience

In a bid to preserve the environment, some farmers embrace permaculture and gentler land management practices. Within this ethos, you can discover “woofing” allowing you to partake in morning routines and gain insights into their methods.

Participate in an agricultural fair

The West Coast, particularly the commune of Bourail, stands as the cradle of Caledonian Broussard culture. Each year, Grande Terre’s inhabitants flock to the region for the Foire de Bourail (Bourail fair). This local festival unites livestock breeders and farmers eager to share their culture with a wider audience. Expect rodeo exhibitions, samplings of fresh local produce, games, and cherished traditions at this unmissable fair, deeply embedded in the Bouraillais landscape. Check the calendar of upcoming events!