Maré - Nengone in the local language - is the most southern and highest of the Loyalty Islands, and twice as small as Lifou covering 650km². Its five layers of overlapping coral reach up to 130 metres on the south coast. There is a distinctly rugged beauty of deeply indented cliffs, basaltic rocks, dark forests, along with wonderful little sandy coves nestled between the rocky headlands and long, unspoilt beaches lined with coconut palms. The central plain, formed by the ancient lagoon, boasts many beautiful caves, and the natural freshwater and saltwater pools shelter fish and turtles in an array of blues and greens that cannot be seen anywhere else in the Loyalty Islands.
Maré is divided into 8 districts with 29 tribes: Guahma, Tadine, Wabao, Eni, Médu, La Roche, Tawaïnedr and Pénélo. The main activity of the 6,900 Maréens is market gardening, which supplies all of New Caledonia with uniquely coloured and flavoured fruit. The avocados of Maré have grown such a reputation that they are quickly snapped up in Noumea, and a big festival is held for them every year on the island.
Activities not to be missed:
- Cengéïté : here you will find heavenly beaches with white sand, dense vegetation with a rich fauna, and a temple that will enchant you.
- Wabao: beaches with lovely little coves. A true delight for divers.
- Shabadran: Hike the paths along the rocky coast with its 140-metre-high cliffs. And an enchanting panorama of the Shabadran terraces.
- The natural aquarium: a unique place where tortoises and fish take refuge. A protected area where swimming is forbidden but it’s definitely worth a visit.
- The Bône de la Léproserie: a cave-like limestone formation with a 50-metre-deep well that leads to a freshwater lake.
- The Warrior's Leap: a gap of about 5 metres wide in the cliff. Legend has it that a brave warrior leapt from one side to the other.
- The local markets:
- La Roche market: facing the airfield, open on Wednesdays from 6am to 11am.
- Tadine market: opposite the town hall's faré, open every Tuesday and Friday from 7am to 12pm.
- Wakoca market: opposite the shop "Trop Tard" in Tadine, open from the start of May.
- Ura-Wadkon market: at the Tawainedr tribe, open in early June.
- Hmarerune market: at the Wakuarori tribe, open mid-August
- Tenane's big market: open from the end of June to the end of November.
We recommend that you:
- Visit a vanilla factory.
- Explore the Padawa and Pethoen caves.
- Walk on the trail from Tenane to Roh.
- Discover the cliffs of the Asicen.
- Talk to the local people at the markets.
- Go to the fortress of La Roche with a tour guide.
- Spend the day with the Eni tribe.
- Join the Island's women for activities such as basketry or weaving.
For more information, check out the Loyalty Islands!