Poingam, in the far north of New CaledoniaPoingam
©Poingam|Cyril Gervais

Boat Pass and Poingam

The northernmost point of New Caledonia’s Grande Terre, where Boat Pass and Poingam create an enchanting sense of disconnection. Venturing beyond this realm, known as Nahârian, reveals the alluring Baaba Island. Continuing further, the archipel des Bélep emerges, marking the ultimate inhabited frontier in the north of New Caledonia. This strikingly beautiful and arid region imparts a profound feeling of reaching the ends of the Earth, making it an ideal destination for a complete escape.

Boat Pass and Poingam are located in the extreme north of Grande Terre, New Caledonia’s main island. From Nouméa, you’ll need to cross the entire length of the island, i.e. 445 km. Allow for 5h30, maybe a little more with photo breaks along the way… To get to this region, it’s best to have rented your own vehicle! There are very few buses to Koumac (no higher), and once you’re there, you’ll be severely limited…

  • In this arid and relatively isolated region, it’s best to let your accommodation know when you’re leaving for your walk just as a precaution.
  • Remember to take a water bottle, hat and sunglasses, as the sun beats down hard around here.
  • Book your accommodation before making this long journey: it would be a shame to have to turn back without resting and taking full advantage of the surroundings.
Top 5 things to do at Boat Pass & Poingam

1. Encounter wild horses

Poingam is home to an estimated 400 wild horses, descendants of breeding stock left behind when properties were abandoned in the 1980s. Living in small groups around a dominant breeding stallion, these horses offer a unique sight. The key to observing wild horses? Patience! Remain attentive and silent so as not to frighten them.

2. Treat yourself to a fun, regenerating clay bath

While strolling through the Kô salt marshes, you might stumble upon a unique opportunity to enjoy a clay bath with friends or your significant other. A group of individuals has chosen to establish a self-managed living space near the salt pans, and a small sign marks the location of the mud bath. Access is open to everyone, and there is no entry fee for this rejuvenating experience.

3. Climbing above the Poingam salt marshes

Take on this delightful and relatively easy hike that unfolds breathtaking panoramic vistas of the ocean and coastline. As you traverse the trail, you’ll encounter the active Kô salt marshes, a charming essential oil distillery, and serene watering holes. Keep an eye out for the occasional sighting of wild horses, adding a touch of wilderness to your journey. Commencing from the parking lot near the former Relais de Poingam, the trail starts with a gentle ascent of approximately 800 metres, leading to an orientation table and an initial, stunning viewpoint. A strategically placed picnic table invites a restful break before the descent to the salt marsh, followed by an uphill stretch to the OPT viewpoint (note: this section involves a climb uphill).

4. A change of scenery

Discover a collection of charming bed and breakfasts that have strategically chosen to settle in the remote corners of New Caledonia. Perfect for those seeking an escape from the ordinary, these accommodations boast enchanting natural surroundings while each exuding its own distinctive character. The seclusion of these establishments fosters meaningful interactions among travellers. Experience a serene yet vibrant ambiance, where shared tables create a warm and lively atmosphere.

5. Drive to the far north of Grande Terre

Take on a dirt track, enveloped by the fragrances of the New Caledonian scrubland, as you journey solo through an untouched wilderness… The sensation of being at the edge of the world awaits you, where the road leads to a profound sense of liberation. Revel in this transformative experience, relishing the profound change of scenery that unfolds at every turn!