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New Caledonia Travel Guide

Around Bourail

About 11 km southeast of Bourail is an Arab cemetery, where convicts sent to New Caledonia after the Berber insurrection in Algeria in 1871 and their descendants (who still live in nearby Nessadiou village) are buried.

A Centre Islamique is beside the road just north of the cemetery, and another km north is a New Zealand military cemetery, to the right of the main highway from Nouméa. Bourail was an important New Zealand training base during WW II, and the peaceful cemetery has a striking location overlooking a valley. An account of the campaigns in which the servicemen died is posted.

One recommended trip from Bourail takes in Pierced Rock (Roche Percée), on a side road six km west of the Néra Bridge. A natural tunnel cuts through an eroded quartz cliff here, and at low tide you can get through to the other side. An anthropomorphic rock formation here has been called "le Bonhomme." Nearby is a good beach for swimming and snorkeling.

One km farther along the main road is a track up to Belvédère Viewpoint, with a fine view of Néra River, the coast, and Turtle Bay. Turtle Bay (Baie des Tortues), backed by towering Araucaria columnaris trees, is just up the coast from Pierced Rock, accessible by car from the road to the viewpoint. Be there early in the morning between November and March to see nesting turtles (extremely rare). Freelance camping is possible here.

Ten km past Pierced Rock along the same road is Poé Beach, the longest beach on Grande Terre with 18 km of unbroken sands. This is one of the few coastlines around Grande Terre not protected by an offshore barrier reef.