LOYALTY ISLANDS   - LIFOU, New Caledonia                October 2005   

We arrived at We on the island of Lifou in the Loyalty Group. We were surprised that there was a modern full facility marina there with wide concrete berths. The government officials were friendly and check-in was a breeze.

We rented a car to explore the whole island. Our first stop was the town of We where the Saturday market was well underway. The local women were dressed a little differently that in Vanuatu, more colourful dresses with lace covering the seams, and Aunt Jamima type head wraps.


The once a week social event, the market had a small variety of vegetables, crafts and prepared food. The Kanak women congregated in noisy colorful groups selling their goods which were priced much higher than anywhere we had seen.

The town itself did not have much to offer in the way of stores but it did have an adequate grocery store.

Fine Sand Beaches

The highlight of Lifou is the beaches and we stopped at several. I was absolutely taken away with the long stretch of beach near the town that had fine silky soft sand.

Traditional Cases

It seems that every house also had a case, perhaps for sleeping. This one pictured was Sacred and you could not even walk on the grounds.

Jokin at North end of Island

We stopped at Jokin, where we planned to snorkel. There was a great lookout viewing the reefs far below. Then it was a 200 step descend to the beach. However, when we got there the tide was too low to easily get back out of the water so we had a change of plan and continued on our way.

The Vanilleraie

Next on our agenda was a stop at the Vanilla Plantation. Our directions were a little sketchy and, as it turned out, we stopped at a different plantation to the one we were looking for.

A girl who did not speak any English at all showed us around the best she could. A Kanak child with the most amazing hair, watched us.

A little further along we came to the Plantation that we had been looking for. A woman offered us Vanilla Coffee and a tour of her amazing garden with hundreds of vanilla plants climbing over the forest trees like beanstalks. The vanilla bean takes a year before its ready to harvest. In her little tropical forest were the largest bird's nest ferns that I have ever seen, along with various varieties of orchids, native flowers and angel hair (left) that is used for decoration.

Amongst her curiosities was this seemingly innocent cannabis growing alongside a colorful indigenous plant.


Chapelle Notre Dame

We continued our drive around the island, stopping at numerous breathtaking beaches and stopping for lunch near Chapelle Notre Dame at Easo (right).

Afterward we climbed the hill to check out the chapel and the surrounding views.

There is a yearly pilgrimage to this tiny chapel built in the 1800's.

The island was covered with  tall spiky pine trees standing stately behind the palms making New Caledonia so unique.


We came across a tranquil little bay where some villagers were swimming. Note the typical case alongside the house.


PHOTOS OF NEW CALEDONIA                           NEXT>>> ILES DES PINS