Hiking on New Caledonia's GR®NC1 long-distance hiking trailHiking on the GR® Sud
©Hiking on the GR® Sud|M. Dosdane

Blue River Park

in Yaté

Located just an hour away from Nouméa, the Blue River Provincial Park beckons with its stunning backdrop of red earth, lush forests, and meandering rivers. This park boasts exceptional biodiversity and is designated as a nature reserve, providing 22,000 hectares of protected flora and fauna for scientific research. Its well-marked trails, pristine rivers, and serene lakes offer a wide range of outdoor activities suitable for all nature enthusiasts. Don’t miss this must-visit destination in New Caledonia’s Great South!

The Blue River Provincial Park is situated within the village of Yaté, in the Great South region of Grande Terre. There are several options for reaching this natural wonder:

  • By Rental Car: This is the most flexible way to access and explore the park. Depart from Nouméa, and follow the Route du Sud (RP1) to Mont-Dore. Then, head towards La Coulée before taking the turnoff towards Rivière Bleue (RP3, indicated along the road). Follow the Yaté road until you reach the entrance of the Blue River Park. Park your car at the Pont Pérignon parking area, from where you can explore the park on foot, by mountain bike, or by taking the free shuttle.
  • Organised Tours: Numerous service providers in Nouméa offer day trips to explore the park’s wonders.

Shuttle Services within the Park: Once inside the park, a complimentary shuttle service is available to transport you to various trailheads. During peak seasons, it is highly recommended to plan your itinerary and book your shuttle times in advance, as slots tend to fill up rapidly at certain times.

  • Park entry is subject to a fee.
  • Pack a Picnic: The park provides barbecue areas and water fountains for your convenience.
  • Bring Swimwear and a Change of Clothes: The red earth can cause stains.
  • Visit the Maison du Parc: This informative centre offers insights into the park’s history and unique features.
Top 5 things to do at Blue River Park

1. Observe nature and unique landscapes

Blue River Park is home to majestic trees, including the Grand Kaori (Agathis lanceolata), which boasts a remarkable 1,000 years of existence, with a diameter of 2.70 metres and a towering height of 40 metres. The park’s waterholes, nestled between colossal river pebbles, invite you to take a refreshing dip. A park curiosity, the “Giant’s Marmite,” is a collection of cavities naturally sculpted by the flow of water and pebbles.

2. Explore the park on foot or mountain bike

With 18 well-marked hiking trails and 6 mountain biking routes, the park offers exploration opportunities by foot or bike. Trails cater to all skill levels. Mountain biking allows you to cover more ground and experience the landscape’s diversity. There’s even a special trail for electrically assisted bikes (VTTAE). On foot, take the time to listen for the calls of the notous and cagous, two native birds of New Caledonia. Shuttle buses conveniently transport you to and from trail entrances.

3. Take a selfie with a cagou

The cagou, an emblematic bird of New Caledonia, is protected within the nature parks of Grande Terre due to the threat of extinction. In the Blue River Provincial Park, you can observe these unique birds in their natural habitat as you explore the area. Don’t expect to see them soaring through the treetops; cagous are flightless and build their nests on the ground. Embark on a self-guided hike along the “easy” cagous trail or join a guided tour led by an ornithology specialist to learn more about their characteristics and behaviours.

4. Kayak through the drowned forest

Within the heart of Blue River Provincial Park lies the enchanting Drowned Forest, known for its numerous gum oak trunks that emerge from Lake Yaté, their wood beautifully bleached and resistant to decay. An incredible kayak tour offers a unique perspective of this exceptional setting. You can choose to embark on this adventure independently or opt for a guided day or moonlight tour, which adds a touch of mystery to your experience, immersing you in the elements.

If you decide on a moonlight tour, consider staying overnight at the developed camping area on site to avoid late-night travel.

5. Spend a night under the stars

For a truly extraordinary experience, camp within the confines of the Blue River Provincial Park! Unique accommodation options are available at the entrance, including cabadiennes (wooden cabins), suspended tents, caravans, and tiny houses, offering an unforgettable night surrounded by nature’s symphony. Bivouacking is also permitted in designated areas inside the park, where you’ll find picnic tables, restrooms, and barbecue facilities.