welcome to the 2019 new caledonia study tour blog
Today we went to the Parc Zoologique et Forestier for a language excursion and then the Koghi Parc Adventure for a tree climb and zip line course. The weather today was quite warm and fortunately it didn’t rain.
At the zoo we saw a variety of bird species, reptiles and other animals, some native as well as introduced. Our guide lead us around the zoo, explaining all about the animals on display; when they were discovered or introduced, the species numbers and any threats it has faced and much more. Then we got to see the special Cagou bird, however it didn’t bark or put on a show for us. We even saw the Giant Gekko lizard that is also only found in New Caledonia. Once we had finished our visit, we had lunch and prepared ourselves for the adrenaline pumping tree climb course.
After our tour at the zoo we were driven to the Koghi Adventure park; the drive winding up the mountains. When we arrived we suited up with our harness and gloves and went through safety and instructions. Then practicing connecting our shackles and techniques on a very small course. All pumped and ready, we started on course 1 which was 7 meters high, then course 2 and 3 which were a height of 8 and 12 metres. The zip lines were very fun and the obstacles were challenging. It was certainly an accomplishment for everyone to work through and finish the courses.
By the end of the day everyone was tired and the bus ride back to the city was quiet. Back at my host house, we began to pack and organise our things and have our last evening meal with our family’s. Overall, we had and interesting yet adventurous day.
Easter weekend was not the sunny weather we had anticipated, but heavy, miserable rain, that did not stop for two whole days. For the entire time, we were confined to the yacht, dealing with the likes of ceiling leakages, damp clothes, a crying baby and of course, cabin fever. We orbited a routine of reading, watching Netflix, playing with the baby, emptying the water-logged dingy and placing buckets beneath the dripping ceiling, which didn’t take long to drain the life out of us. So, it was a great relief for everyone that Monday arrived with sunshine and blue skies.
We eagerly departed the yacht, into the dingy and travelled to the Moselle harbour. From there, Geoffroy and Eleonore took us to a secret spot that they knew in the mountains that hid a pristine lake. When we arrived, we set up a hammock and rug, and ate a delicious lunch of baguettes, caviar, brie and ham, followed by a relaxing swim.
At 6 pm, we travelled back to the yacht, where Geoffroy cooked us a traditional French soup, with onions, white wine and potatoes, accompanied by lots of cheese. The dish, like always with Geoffroy’s cooking, was delicious!
Today Helene and Bernard had plans for us to go for a drive up south to a river so we could go swimming and to show us a scene in the movie Jurassic park. But due to the rain we couldn’t go to the south, so went to the aquarium instead, to see the different fish and coral. It was amazing. After the aquarium Bernard and Helene took Claire and myself to the ice cream store Amorino’s near the beach to watch the sunset. Shortly after we made our way back home for tea, entree was vegetable soup followed by roast chicken with rice and zucchini, for the main and fruit salad for dessert.
Today was Easter, unfortunately the weather was not great. It was raining all day and cold. Due to the weather we spent all day inside practicing our reading and writing with Helene. Every meal today was chocolate based. We had chocolate cake, a hot chocolate and chocolate eggs for afternoon tea. For tea we had chicken with chocolate sauce and for dessert we had chocolate ice cream. Family friends of Helene’s and Bernard’s came over for tea but sadly they had to leave because of flooding in their area. Overall it was a good day and hopefully the weather clears tomorrow.
The day started bright and early with our morning french lessons which for five of us girls involved playing a murder mystery game while speaking french. We then headed down to the beach to get on a taxi boat which drove us over to duck island.
Over at duck island we were greeted with many pine trees and lounge chairs spread across the island, which personally was a first and amazing experience for me.
While snorkeling we came across many fish and in the first minute of getting in the water we even saw a fairly large sea turtle who was casually swimming along. We followed the sea turtle for a while as we were all amazed by how extraordinary it was for all of us to be able to swim with one in the open sea.The coral was amazing and the fish were really colourful and pretty.
There were many experiences we had today like one of us getting a fish caught in our flippers, or someone else seeing a sea snake while snorkeling. To summarise today I would say that we all had a blast while trying new things.
18th April 2019
Today we had French classes as usual before heading off to Anse Vata, one of the many beaches in New Caledonia.
In our French classes we worked on expanding our vocabulary by describing people. We also played a game where we had to ask a group questions about an animal that they had chosen so that we could guess the animal, this also helped broaden our knowledge of adjectives.
At Anse Vata the water was crystal clear and very refreshing to help us cool off from the heat of the day. After spotting some coconuts in a tree and trying to climb the tree to get to them, a kind man gave us some that had fallen off of the trees that he was cutting down. He then cut them up for us and gave us some straws so that we could drink from them, the coconuts were really sweet and much nicer than the ones you but from the shops. While cutting them up, he made a spoon for us so that we could eat the flesh from inside the coconuts. The whole experience was very enjoyable and something that I’m sure we will all remember.
Later, we went back to Baie Des Citrons and swam around for a while, also jumping off a nearby pontoon.
To finish the day we caught a bus back to Place Des Cocotiers and explored some more shops that we hadn’t had the chance to visit yet.
Overall, everyone had another great day filled with plenty of sun and new experiences.
Today’s plans were a French lesson in the morning and free time to explore in the afternoon. We met at our schools and then started class at 8:30, having a recess break around 10:00 and finishing for the day at 11:45. Then we caught a bus to Baie Des Citroens for a swim.
At school, my class focused on the previous day's events and then the description and physique of a person. Our teacher talks and explains everything in French and it is very interesting to listen to her but we are certainly improving our French vocabulary and language skills.
After our lessons we headed to Baie Des Citroens for lunch and we’re very eager for a swim even though it had been showering on and off throughout the day. We swam out to a pontoon just off the shore and discovered some interesting fish. We were even able to capture it on a GoPro. Once at shore again, we decided to go to a ice creamery that had been recommended. There were so many flavours to choose from and it was delicious.
Then we went back to the city - Place Des Cocotiers. With some spare time, we looked at a couple shops but tried to stay out of the rain and just waited to be picked up by our host families. Back at my host house we had chicken and potato bake for dinner and played some chess. Later, we prepared for tomorrow’s great adventures.
Today, after spending our first night with our host family’s we met in the town square (place de la cocotiers) and met our teachers. We were split into two different classes and then were dispersed to our seperate schools. In classes we went over various subjects quite quickly, the teacher speaking French the whole time and although it was confusing, one could usually understand the general gist of it. We talked about our first impressions of Nouméa and the positives/negatives of the island. Eg. it is vey pretty but there is a lot of graffiti.
After class we regrouped at the place de la cocotiers and walked over to the history museum. The museum told the story of Nouméa and how it came to be, how the world wars affected them and how it became so multicultural. Although I usually am not so interested in history, there was a lot of interesting information and trying to translate the French writing was a fun challenge (there were English translation for most things if we needed it).
At the end of the day, we spit off into groups and explored the city. My group were on a mission to find ice cream but were unfortunately unsuccessful, instead we sat and chatted of our host family’s and the upcoming trips. We then got picked up, shipped back to our home stays, and prepared ourselves for the oncoming day.
So today was Tuesday. (That’s Mardi in French)
I woke up to the sound of my host family speaking loudly in French. I had an excellent breakfast of vegemite on toast and a long black coffee, perfect to get me through a hectic French lesson. The lesson itself was the same as yesterday, but the teacher made us make a survey and ask random people questions in French. It was exactly as it sounds, absolutely terrifying.
After school and after I had eaten roughly twelve different times for lunch, we set off for the Tjibaou Cultural Centre. It provides an interesting and informative insight into Kanak Peoples way of life and way of interpreting life and shaping their beliefs.
We then waited for a bus to come for what seemed to be an excessive amount of time, but right as we started to question it, the bus arrived.
After that we waited in the rain for our host families, and went our separate ways, stammering sorrys as we clambered in the car.
Jade and I had an superb dinner with our families, then watched a movie and went to bed.
Sunday, the 14th of April, was our first full day in New-Caledonia. We got up bright and early to check out our baggage from the Hotel Beaurivage, which was situated in perfect view of the pristine waters of Lemon Bay (Baie des Citrons).
A sunday in Nouméa, we noticed, was a day when most people did very little. Many of the shops were closed, and people only ventured out in the afternoon, when the weather was cooler.
After breakfast, we hopped on a crammed bus to explore the city-centre. Many of us trialled our French skills when buying food and greeting the friendly locals.
During the afternoon, after a ride on the tchou tchou train, we met back at the hotel to meet our homestay families. Willow and I met Geoffrey and Elénore; a young couple with a 2 year old daughter, who lived on a yacht at the Port Moselle Harbour. The boat resembled the Tardis from Doctor Who, in that it seemed to fit more rooms than we thought to be possible. I slept in a small room, situated beneath the front of the boat, from which I could hear the waves crashing against the hull, while Willow slept in another room, situated on the other end of the boat.
Being immersed in the cultures and customs of New Caledonia, through exploring the city, communicating with locals, and staying with a french-speaking family, has opened my eyes to a whole new way of living, that I can't wait to explore further in the next two weeks.