Maré (641 km²; 5,648 inhabitants) is the southernmost island of the archipelago of the islands of Loyalty. The island is also – like the other islands in the archipelago – a raised coral atoll and is also the highest island in the archipelago, in fact at its highest point it reaches 138 meters. In local language the island is called Nengone.
On an administrative level, the island is divided into eight districts: Guahma and Tadine in the west, Wabao, Medu and Eni in the south-west, Pénélo in the south-east, La Roche in the north and Tawainedre in the east. The most important villages on the island are those of La Roche and Tadine, but the first (La Roche) is the largest administrative center. The interior of the island, which was the ancient lagoon of the atoll, is now covered with a dense bush, dotted with caves and cavities filled with fresh and salt water, the most famous of which is the “Aquarium Naturel”.
Numerous and all beautiful and wild the beaches of the island, of fine white sand with the spectacular colors of the lagoon and on which the famous columnar pines are reflected.
MARÉ ISLAND: WHAT TO SEE
The main center of the island of Maré is the small town of Tadine, which is located along the west coast of the island. To the south of Tadine, there is also the so-called Natural Aquarium (Kurewikaw): a natural swimming pool, between the rocks and directly connected to the sea by underground water, where you can admire some reef fish.
The village of La Roche, located along the north-east coast of the island, has as its main attractions, the church of the ancient mission founded in 1866, and the visit to the Yeiwene Yeiwene Cultural Center, which exhibits archaeological remains and information on culture and local customs. In addition to these attractions, there are also the remains of the so-called Hnaenedr stone wall, a structure dating back to 250 AD.
Among the things not to be missed is certainly La Roche market which is held twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays. Here you can meet the friendly population of the island and buy fruit and delicacies from the local cuisine.
THE WARRIOR’S JUMP
Continuing east from La Roche we reach the Warrior’s Jump (Saut du Guerrier), a 30m high rocky cliff that rises above the ocean. In this area there are other rock formations. Along the east coast of the island there is a beautiful white sand beach, Patho-Kurine beach.
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACHES
The beaches of Maré are among the most beautiful in New Caledonia, its seabed is among the most beautiful for snorkelling. In the southern part of Maré there are the most beautiful beaches on the island: Shini, Locekol, Hnarewhajoine, Yedjele and the isolated Terraces of Shabadran.
Wonderful is the path (3,500 meters a / r) that starts from the Nengone Village hotel and which passing partly in a columnar pine forest (Araucaria columnaris) and partly along the beach reaches the Cape Wabao. On these beaches you can also find the beautiful nautilus shells.
During our journey we were lucky enough to be accompanied by a special guide: a dog. Given the pregnancy of the dog, surely today there will be several other guides willing to accompany you!
The path crosses forests of tall columnar pines and wonderful beaches of fine white sand. The breeze and the waves breaking on the coral reef, the columnar pines that sometimes reach the sea. The unforgettable colors of the sea and the solitary white sand beaches make this itinerary wildly beautiful.
During this walk we found some Nautilus shells, among which a very small but in perfect condition. We have reached Cape Wabao from where, if you wish, the path continues to Pede Bay. Our relaxing walk lasted about 3 hours (round trip), including many breaks.