Le Centre Culturel et le Parc Forestier

Noumea Travel Blog

 › entry 3 of 9 › view all entries
Le Centre Culturel

Bonjour! Après quatre nuits à la mer, nous avons arriver à Noumea. That’s probably completely wrong – but I did manage to get bus tickets in French. If you haven’t already guessed, New Caledonia is a French-speaking country.

 

All the signs and shop names were in French in Noumea, where we docked at 8 am after four nights at sea. From the maritime building we walked to Coconut Square in the centre of town to find a tourist information office. The lovely ladies at the office spoke English and we asked how we could get to le Centre Culturel.

 

If aliens ever invade Earth I’d imagine they’d spend their first night in le Centre Culturel. The buildings were designed by a man called Renzo Piano and they rise out of the New Caledonian coast like a row of gigantic shields.

 

They serve no defensive purpose; in fact, it’s sort of the Fed Square (if you’re from Melbourne) of New Caledonia: it was filled with galleries and artworks.

Kagu/Cagou
Honestly, the stuff inside wasn’t greatly interesting. What was stunning were the buildings themselves, and the short nature walk outside was pleasant.

 

The walk, which winded along the shore past mangroves, would have been even more charming without the mozzies. Neither me nor my boyfriend were taking malaria pills! (We weren’t spending any nights on land, so we thought insect repellent would suffice…)

 

Funnily enough, we didn’t encounter mozzies anywhere else on the trip; not even in le Parc Forestier, where we spent the afternoon. The park is worth a visit if you’re pressed for time and you want to see some of New Caledonia’s endemic birds. Some birds worth seeing at the sanctuary are the Kagu (a grey, chicken-sized, carnivorous bird that barks), the Notou (a giant pigeon at 50 cm long), the Cloven-feathered Dove and the rare Ouvea Parakeet.

 

A lot of New Caledonia’s flora and fauna is rare. In fact, most of it is endemic, which means it isn’t found anywhere else. This is because New Caledonia, unlike other Pacific islands, isn’t of volcanic origin. It used to be part of the super-continent Gondwana, which included Australia and New Zealand. Being an island, it’s isolated, which is a great recipe for unusual, endemic species. As if that isn’t enough, New Caledonia is made in part of ultrabasic soil, which is toxic to most plants. But plants grow on the ultrabasic soil in here, which makes it an even more special place.

Chelsea says:
And not the only one :)
Posted on: May 24, 2010
jenn79 says:
a bird that barks! =D
Posted on: May 24, 2010
Chelsea says:
Thanks for the comment; yup, I'm hoping to add more photos tomorrow! :)
Posted on: Feb 26, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Le Centre Culturel
Le Centre Culturel
Wollemi Pine
Wollemi Pine
Kagu/Cagou
Kagu/Cagou
Noumea: I think those tall trees a…
Noumea: I think those tall trees …
Le Centre Culturel
Le Centre Culturel
Mangroves near le Centre Culturel
Mangroves near le Centre Culturel
Notou Pigeon (50 cm long! Huge pig…
Notou Pigeon (50 cm long! Huge pi…
Noumea
photo by: theonionlady