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Three Bays Trail
Warning: Unsecured hours
This trail winds between sea and cliffs from its starting point at La Roche Percée through Turtle Bay where the loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) lay their eggs in large numbers and on to Lovers’ Bay.
D Car park: head south towards the beach and walk along the base of the cliff (watch out for falling rocks!) in the direction of the “Bonhomme” rock formation.
1 Start of the climb (GPS: 547 253 – 7 610 555): after about 85 m, you’ll see the start of a very steep trail to your right (west) that climbs up the rocky embankment. Navigate the twists and turns and you’ll emerge at the summit of the cape (on the left is the former lookout but there's no entry because the rock fall risk is too...D Car park: head south towards the beach and walk along the base of the cliff (watch out for falling rocks!) in the direction of the “Bonhomme” rock formation.
1 Start of the climb (GPS: 547 253 – 7 610 555): after about 85 m, you’ll see the start of a very steep trail to your right (west) that climbs up the rocky embankment. Navigate the twists and turns and you’ll emerge at the summit of the cape (on the left is the former lookout but there's no entry because the rock fall risk is too high. The rocky cliff has been affected by substantial erosion).
2 Intersection: on the right, there's a path that leads to Notre-Dame-des-Flots (a bit further on you’ll see the old lighthouse that marked the entrance to the Bourail Pass. In Melanesian tradition, La Roche Percée is the gateway to the underwater kingdom of the dead, with the deceased diving from the lookout). Walk down the south-west side of the promontory (there are several beautiful views of Turtle Bay through the curtain of pine trees). Cross the platform straight ahead and join the trail to the left of the information board. Walk down the vegetation-covered slope that overlooks the bay (with its stunning viewpoints).
3 Turtle Bay (information board) (GPS: 547 030 – 7 610 731): cross the track and the grassed area above the beach (huge pine trees) to reach the trail that winds up the other side.
4 Population of Eugenia bullata (dry forest plant with white flowers and red berries): the twists and turns get shorter and shorter. Emerge onto the main track. Go left and follow the edge of the cliff for about 180 m (take care).
5 Fork (GPS: 546 804 – 7 610 728): leave the track and follow the left trail down the embankment. It gradually loses altitude as it winds down the side of the hill.
6 Population of Acropogon bullata (dry forest shrub): after a few steep twists and turns at the bottom of the slope, cross a small creek and then turn left.
> A path leads south to Lovers’ Bay nearby.
7 Fork (GPS: 546 557 – 7 610 835): just after the strangler fig, turn right and prepare to tackle a new winding climb to reach your final bay.
8 Fork: cross the dry creek heading south and come out in the long grass. Follow the contour line.
9 Promontory (GPS: 547 348 – 7 610 686 ): the trail then emerges at the top of a cliff (with stunning views of the three bays, Poé Lagoon and the Bourail Pass, a spot enjoyed by surfers). Follow the same route back.
© Text by Jean Francis Clair
* Effort: IBP 16 easy (green)
* Technical difficulty: quite easy (light blue)
* Risk: quite low (orange)
* Overall grading: quite low (orange)
- Depart from the car park at the entrance to La Roche Percée, next to the “Bonhomme de Bourail” rock formation. To get there, take the first left turn after Néra Bridge coming from Nouméa, then follow the road to La Roche Percée.
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- All year round.
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