You could play golf, go horse riding, enjoy all of the watersports you could dream of – and in New Caledonia you can do any of these – but sometimes nothing beats a simple run. Of course, it helps when you have scenery like Noumea and its stunning bays to inspire you. Here, even the most reluctant of exercisers would enjoy a jog.
I lace up and take on the Promenade Pierre-Vernier around beautiful Sainte-Marie Bay, a four-kilometre track lined with coconut palms and beyond them, crystal clear water. With its natural running surface, it’s also a favourite with locals.
Not too far away are stunning Lemon Bay and Anse Vata Bay, around which joggers can also run. It’s a little busier around here, thanks to its popularity with tourists, but the scenery is equally pretty.
Between the two bays, on the edge of the peninsula, is Ouen-Toro Hill, an amazing 60-hectare wooded park that offers a different dynamic (and higher views) to the running and walking tracks along the waterfront.
Whichever route you take, the city’s beaches, seaside restaurants and bars are never too far away to wind down in.
With such beautiful tracks, it’s little wonder one of the most popular events on the French Territory’s calendar is its annual marathon. Now in its 35th edition, the New Caledonia Marathon, Half-Marathon and ‘10Km of Noumea’ races wend their way around the stunning Noumea shoreline in what surely must be some of the world’s most scenic footraces.
More information on the marathon plus tickets for this year’s event, which takes place on 27 August when the temperature is ideal, are available here.
Indeed, running and especially hiking, can be enjoyed almost all over New Cal’s sunny isles. But for those seeking something different, at Le Faré Gourmand just outside of Noumea, expat Swede Louise, and husband Alex host an annual Tough Mudder-style obstacle event called GI Joe Race as well as a Vertical Kilometre race. Alex, an extremely fit-looking Caledonian, tells me the fastest participants can complete the latter event in a little under an hour. Looking up that mountain, it’s hard to believe. I think I’ll stick to the spectacular walks, and runs, around Promenade Pierre-Vernier.
Where to stay? Located at the southern end of Anse Vata Bay, Le Méridien Noumea is a great base from which to walk or run along Promenade Pierre-Vernier or up and around Parc Municipal du Ouen-Tor. Alternatively, Le Stanley Hotel & Suites Noumea offers visitors a more secluded stay on a quiet Noumea headland.
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