Opt out of Noumea’s fancy hotels and expensive restaurants and head north to immerse yourself in Kanak culture by staying with a local tribe for a night. Situated about a 30 minute-drive from the busy hum of the seaside village, Hienghène, the Tiendanite tribe is nestled out in the wilderness and it’s a sight to behold.
You’ll be greeted by your host, Bernard, among a tangled mess of green towering trees and blooming taro bushes, bright pink bougainvillea and clusters of fat yellow pamplemousse (grapefruit). The accommodation is a small wooden cabin, furnished with twin mattresses on the floor, and fitted with a power point and a single light. It’s quaint but comfortable, and the disconnect from your usual creature comforts frees up time to enjoy your lush surrounds.
Sit down to a feast of locally sourced food for dinner – think fish caught straight from the river and homegrown vegetables. During the day, discover the history of the Tiendanite tribe on a walk around the grounds with Bernard, learn to fish for freshwater prawns or master the art of harvesting yams.
Aircalin flies direct to Noumea from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
We highly recommend swapping your traditional hotel for a tribal homestay while travelling in the Northern Province of New Caledonia. It’s a fantastic way to connect with the Kanak people and immerse yourself in their culture and the lush wilderness they call home. Stays include accommodation in a modest cabin, dinner and breakfast, and start from around 1,750 CFP (about US$16)
Many Kanak people don’t speak English, so if you know French (or are willing to learn) you’re in luck! If you don’t and sign language doesn’t appeal to you, then consider hiring a local guide who can translate for you. Tour companies Arc en Ciel and Toutazimut have English-speaking guides who can accompany you on your tribal homestay.