Shore Excursion Details

Melanesian Encounter

Lifou, New Caledonia

Melanesian Encounter


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  • 2
    hrs Estimate Duration

Visit the Melanesian village of Hnathalo, where ancient customs are still practiced religiously and traditional island values are held in high esteem. Hnathalo is also the name of the tribe living there. Following a welcoming coconut drink, you will walk among the village’s thatched huts, hand-carved totems and open expanses shaded by swaying palms and towering Royal Poinciana trees. It will be like traveling back in time, as little has changed over the years because traditional Melanesian ways are still fervently practiced in Hnathalo. That is especially true in the preparation of dishes such as bougna, a concoction that you will sample after seeing how it’s cooked over red-hot stones in a cleverly designed ground oven. You will also be invited to enter the circular Chief’s Hut, one of the largest of its kind in New Caledonia, and view a church that French Catholic missionaries constructed in 1883. It is decorated with period furnishings that enhance the authenticity.

• Learn about the traditional Melanesian way of life in the rural village Hnathalo.
• Sample the Melanesian dish bougna, which is cooked in banana leaves in an earthen oven.
• See the interior of the revered Chief’s Hut and a missionary-built, 19th-century church.

• Dress in weather-appropriate clothing.
• Wear flat comfortable walking shoes.

Need to Know:

Note: The non-air-conditioned buses and vans are not fitted with microphones, however, an experienced tour guide travels on each vehicle. Ask permission before taking photos of the villagers. Respect the local sensitivities and dress appropriately—no swimwear or revealing clothing. Your shoes and hat must be removed to enter the Chief’s Hut. Restroom facilities may be rustic. Tour participation is limited.

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Excursion Type:

Scenic & City Tours

Activity Level:

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Tours with this activity level involve a considerable amount of physical activity such as substantial walking over cobblestone streets, uneven or steep terrain, climbing stairs, or extended periods of standing. Not recommended for guests with physical limitations. Comfortable, sturdy shoes are recommended.
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