We managed to visit Poindimie (Pwêêdi Wiimîâ for locals) on half of our trips to New Caledonia. Here’s an overview of why we keep going all the way there and some other things to do in the region. I’ve also included a few extra tips to help you with your visit (where to stay, how to get there and the best season to visit Poindimie).
Don’t expect to find a city on the east coast of New Caledonia. Although Poindimie is the most populated town on the East Coast, it’s still rather small with only about 5,000 inhabitants.
Are you covered for adventurous activities by your travel insurance? I recommend double-checking to avoid bad surprises if an incident happens. Adventurous activities are often extra. Some travel insurance like WorldNomads* and Covermore* make it easy to include adventurous activities.
Things to do in Poindimie
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I’m not going to keep the suspense for longer. Our main reason to visit the North Province of New Caledonia is always scuba diving. If you ask me, scuba diving is the best thing to do in Poindimie. We love gorgonians and have been very impressed by their size and numbers when scuba diving in Poindimie. We’ve been very satisfied by the service provided by Tieti Diving. They took us to the reef even if we were the only two customers.
If you don’t scuba dive, Aqualagoon organises snorkelling trips to the outer reef departing from the back of Hotel Tieti*. You won’t see the gorgonians that well, but you’ll see other types of beautiful corals and of course the reef inhabitants. It’s one of the most popular activities in Poindimie.
We don’t usually relax much during our holidays, so you may be surprised to find this one high on our list of things to do in Poindimie. But last time we visited Poindimie, we treated ourselves to a room with a view at the beautiful Hotel Tieti* (read my review here). It is one of the best accommodations in New Caledonia. After scuba diving, we spent our afternoon relaxing in our room watching the sea from the bed or from the table or lounge seats on the patio.
If you don’t get a room with a view, you can also relax at the bar and restaurant. They have installed swings to enjoy the views with a drink.
Poindimie is a good spot for kayaking. Unfortunately, we waited until the last minute to call to hire a kayak and couldn’t reach them. Our plan was to paddle to the Tibarama Islet and snorkel there; we were told it takes about half an hour. You’ll have to time it well with the wind.
You can also kayak on the calm river Amoa in Poindimie. It’s a great way to enjoy the lush nature of the nearby valley. You should contact Odysée to see what can be organised during your visit (+687 42.59.22, [email protected]).
If you don’t want to exercise, you can also book a water taxi to drop you on Tibarama Islet. However, it’s a very small islet, so make sure you have enough to stay busy if like us you don’t like just chilling on the beach. We were told to bring our snorkel gear there.
Some say it’s the most beautiful islet in New Caledonia. We saw it from the boat when we were going scuba diving. It looked like a postal card, but so do many others islands in New Caledonia!
We didn’t go hiking when we were in Poindimie, but you’ll find a few trails nearby. The easiest one, Nauru Iriwa, is in the Napoemien Valley, along the river (3-kilometre return). You’ll find a market at the start of the walk on Saturdays.
The most famous hike, Koyaboa, starts near Newejie Lodge, on Route (road) Municipale n°5. It takes about 3 hours to complete this 9.3-kilometre return walk. It’s pretty steep but you’ll be rewarded with two beautiful lookouts on the lagoon and Tibarama Islet and on the Napoemien Valley.
If you speak French, Jéhudit is a reputed hiking guide in the Napoemien Valley who can take you out of the beaten tracks, organise traditional lunch for you and share fascinating stories for you to learn more about his tribe’s culture.
Things to do near Poindimie:
Drive north to Hienghene and the Ouaieme River
If you don’t have a car, you can hire one from Point Rouge at Hotel Tieti* in Poindimie. It’s the best way to explore the region.
You’ll find many things to do in Hienghene (including scuba diving – it’s one of the most reputed scuba diving sites in New Caledonia). You don’t have to make effort to get the best views: the road to Hienghene and to the Ouaieme River is very scenic with many lookouts accessible by car.
Horseriding can be a good way to explore the region and access places that you wouldn’t go to on foot. You can find horseriding tours north and south of Poindimie. We spent half a day exploring the beautiful Neaoua Valley, crossing waterfalls and a river. Our guide was happy to share her knowledge of the forest and the region, in French. She’d take non-French speakers on the tour, but the experience would be different as she doesn’t speak English very well.
However, based on our experience, I wouldn’t recommend horseriding in New Caledonia to those who have never done it. We only went on one tour so maybe it’s different elsewhere, but make sure you ask the right questions before booking. Our horses were friendly but not always responding to orders. And the path was rather challenging with some impressive downhill trails. Nothing like our last easy horseriding tour in Rainbow Beach in Australia!
We’re beginners, so we sometimes found it scary. Make sure you wear a helmet and clarify before the tour what you’re not comfortable with (e.g. if you don’t want to trot or gallop).
Where to stay in Poindimie
If you’re on a budget, there are two family lodges near the town that are cheaper: Newejie Lodge and Les Pouroua. For these types of accommodations in New Caledonia, I highly suggest reading reviews before booking to avoid any bad surprises.
When we travelled as a group back in 2016, we stayed 20-minute south of Poindimie in a chalet at Les Ignames de Nevaho. It was basic but good value for money, and we liked the river view from the patio.
When is the best time to visit Poindimie?
The East Coast of New Caledonia is a lot more humid than the west coast. Summer is probably the worst time to travel to Poindimie. It’s the wet season, so it rains almost every day (or every evening during our visit, which didn’t impact our activities too much). And it’s also the cyclone season (mostly February and March). It’s better to travel when it’s less humid from May to mid-November. However, we had lovely weather when we travelled to Poindimie during the New Year break, so don’t take it off the list just yet if you’re visiting New Caledonia in summer!
The North Province can be very busy during local school holidays, especially in summer around Christmas and New Year, and for Easter. If you’re travelling around these dates, you should book your activities and accommodations in New Caledonia well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Where is Poindimie and how to get there?
Poindimie is the biggest town on the east coast of the main island of New Caledonia. The easiest way to get there is by car. It takes about 4.5 hours to drive there from Noumea. If you don’t want to hire a car, you can also fly to the nearest airport and request a transfer to your hotel or hop on a bus.