Experience an authentic immersion into the fascinating Kanak culture as you spend two hours exploring Nathalo village’s 19th-century church, entering the Paramount Chief Hut and learning the secret ingredients behind Melanesian cooking. A short 20-minute coach ride lands you in Nathalo, a primitive dwelling place of the Kanak people located in Lifou’s northern reaches. You’ll first hear about the island’s religious legacy while viewing picturesque Nathalo Church, a massive structure erected in 1883 by French missionaries. Then move on to the imposing Paramount Chief’s House, a circular palm-thatched hut that sits as one of the largest of its kind in New Caledonia. As a sign of respect, remove your shoes before entering the house of the grand chief, and then listen along as your guide shares about the leadership hierarchy of the local Wetr district. You are then free to stroll on your own, or you may continue on with your guide for a lesson in cooking bougna (pronounced boo-nya). This traditional dish is a combination of taro, yam, sweet potato, banana and pieces of chicken, crab or lobster wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in a ground oven. Enjoy a complimentary sample of fresh coconut before heading back to your ship.
• Nathalo: Delve into the captivating culture and religious traditions of the Kanak people while seeing this primitive village’s church.
• Paramount Chief Hut: Step inside one of New Caledonia’s largest huts and learn about the grand chief who resides here.
• Bougna: Explore the ground oven techniques and ingredients used by villagers to cook up this traditional Kanak dish.
What to Bring:
• SeaPass card and photo identification
• Cash/credit cards
• Sun protection
• Insect repellent
What to Wear:
• Walking shoes
• Hat and sunglasses
• Conservative attire required
• Guests must be able to walk over grassy surfaces, with inclines and extended periods of standing.
• Guests in wheelchairs and others with limited mobility should not select this tour.
• Consider physical fitness and medical history when selecting tour.
• As a courtesy, always ask permission before taking photographs of the Melanesian people.
• Respectful attire is required — no swimwear or revealing clothing.
• Participation limited by minimum required for tour to operate.
• Tour sequence may vary.