Adventurers, grab your garb!
Little did I know, but within 15 minutes of central Nouméa, at the very top of a peninsula, you can explore a fort built in 1877-78. What in the world New Caledonia needed a fort for in 1878 is beyond me. It appears that it was built in anticipation of a Franco-German war …
What is amazing to me about Fort Téréka is that you can walk right on in, around and through it. You can visit the sleeping areas or prison areas (imagined Pablo), you can climb the canons, you can be a 6-year-old boy to your heart’s content! There are no ropes to stop you going in, no lines, no staff. It is a little boy’s heaven!
To get to this fort at the very top of a small mountain, however, you have to park your car near Kuendu Beach and climb to the top. Thanks to this site, I was able to figure out how to get there and where to go to find another bit we were after: a pedagogical walk through one of Nouméa’s only dry forests. This site has some very good pictures of the fort, the canons and the quarters, to give you an idea of what you will see when you get to the top.
In addition to this magnificent hideaway for children enamoured of pirates, treasure, prisoners and forts, Fort Téréka also has a nature path back down the mountain, created in 2007 by a local environmental group. They have been planting hundreds of trees endemic to New Caledonia, restoring the forest and educating visitors with a path complete with instructive panels, good signage and incredible views from treetop platforms.
We spent 2 hours total walking up to the summit, through the fort and back down along the nature path, watching the birds, the butterflies and admiring the views. As light began to fade at 5pm, we hurried back down through the forest, alone on the paths. For a short time, we thought we were lost (something that has happened to us before in New Caledonia, something we apparently are quite talented at), but I was somehow convinced we would get out before it was too dark. The last photo below shows the worry in my husband’s eyes, contrasted with the beauty of our incredible surroundings.
Suffice it to say, we lived to tell the tale and will be back!