包圍著新喀里多尼亞的珊瑚礁，在 2008 年列入世界自然遺產後，全島上至政府、下至村民，都堅守保育意識，明白環境跟旅遊業直接掛鉤，就連佔 GDP 10% 的鎳礦業，都要從新規管。
從香港到新喀里多尼亞並不困難， PAM Holidays 可以度身訂造行程，二人成行。那裡消費指數頗高，一頓普通的午餐要 30 美元，所以不諳法語又想享受太平洋風情的遊客，都寧願飛往英語較普及的瓦努亞圖或斐濟。亞洲面孔的多數來自日本，因此高級酒店都有聘日本員工，而菜單上，總有幾種古怪的日本菜。
政府發展旅遊業之時，並沒有忘卻 Kanak 族人，例如在中部的 Deva 開闢新地，共同發展 Sheraton 酒店，讓族人有在酒店內工作的機會。我們跟一名 Kanak 員工閒談，她希望在此進修英語，他朝一日可以留學法國，再出外看世界。我們知道傳統 Kanak 人不外遊，問她家中長輩如何看法？她說家人開明，大力支持。
新喀里多尼亞現時還屬法國領域，法國人可以到此生活和工作，反之，Kanak 人亦有到法國讀書工作的權利。新喀里多尼亞是否走向獨立還是未知之數，但殖民和土著過去 30 年的和平共處，確讓 Kanak 人眼光放遠了。
Rainforest and cattle ranch/Kimberlogic
Since we were delayed a day on the Isle of Pines due to a cancelled flight, our tour guide had to amend our trip at the last minute. We did not have enough time to see the northeast of New Caledonia, but instead we drove a few hours from Noumea to the middle of the island in the mountains and rainforest. We stayed the night at a privately owned hotel in Sarramea, deep in the forest at the foot of a mountain.
We arrived after dark, checked in to our bungalow and dined at the hotel’s restaurant. Another marvelous dinner of French Cuisine and French wines satisfied all of our senses. Flank steak, lasagna and appetizers of carpaccio and cheeses, we ate like royalty next to an indoor waterfall of natural boulders.
We started very early the next morning since we had missed a day with our delay. We set out on a four hour hike up the mountain through the rainforest hoping to be back, showered and on to our next destination by noon. Uphill the entire way and moving quickly to keep to our schedule, the frigidness of the morning quickly burned off and we could feel the heat and humidity of the tropics once again.
Our guide explained to us that the Plateau de Dogny trek is a pilgrimage for many Natives. Their custom is to leave pieces of cloth tied to trees for good fortune. Being deep in this rainforest with no one around we understood why it is such a special place, if only for its serenity and beauty. When we finally reached the top and the clearing, we could see for miles. One side was very mountainous while the ocean was on our other side. Looking out to the ocean you could see the adjacent reef which created the lagoon surrounding New Caledonia.
Our next destination for the day was to visit a cattle ranch in Bourail, on our way further up the west side of New Caledonia. The cattle ranch was hosting a celebration that day to let the community see the work they do along with music, vendors and local foods. We met with the owners and workers of the ranch as we hopped on their four wheel drive vehicle to go to the back fields where the cattle were grazing. Here we parted ways as they mounted their horses and began the show, wrangling the herd of cattle to a pen for their yearly bath.
How to bathe cattle is a thought that has never crossed my mind, but once the cows were all in the enormous pen, I began to wonder how the crew would execute this task. We had front row seats to observe the “cow wash”. The crew moved the cows repeatedly through a small shed which had sprayers of water and anti-flea solution; just like a car wash! After the wrangling and the wash, we enjoyed some of the local festivities and Native music. At the end of the day, I was surprised with how interesting and fun it was to experience a cattle ranch.