Amedee is a small island to the south of New Caledonia’s capital, Noumea. It is definitely picturesque – the white sand of the island is surrounded by shallow, pristine waters.
As I was in Noumea, and looking for things to do, it quickly floated up on my list of things to do. Well, it is just 24 kilometres from Noumea, so just a short boat ride.
Amedee Island is a white-sand island surrounded by pristine waters. The seas around Amedee offer plenty of snorkeling opportunities off the beach. In addition, the day tours to Amedee offer tours on a glass-bottom boat. The island is only 24 kilometers from Noumea, which is why it tends to top the list of must-do activities for anyone visiting the capital.
The island has a long, sandy beach. Other than that, the island is pretty much covered in scrubby vegetation. In terms of wildlife on the island, there’s basically some birdlife (and their nesting areas), and a couple of types of snakes.
Historically, the island’s lighthouse played a key role in navigating the Boulari Passage. Using the lighthouse provided a way of sailing through one of the few gaps in the 930-mile-long barrier reef that surrounds New Caledonia’s main island.
The lighthouse itself stands at 184 feet. Originally constructed in France, it was dismantled and shipped to New Caledonia. One could argue that the lighthouse wasn’t entirely a success story. The eagle-eyed can spot a few shipwrecks dotted around the area. Nevertheless, these days it acts as a bit of a tourist attraction itself.
The tour operators have set out a number of deck chairs along the beach. There are a few activities on the island, some of which are included in the ticket price of the tour.
While it appears you can take a water taxi over, I opted for a day tour with Mary D Tours. This came in at a cost of about $179 (Australia) and included hotel pickups, the boat trip across, lunch, and various activities.
Pickup from the hotel was bright and early, at 7:15am. This gave a little time for a quick breakfast, before heading off to catch the Mary D Seven across to Amedee Island. On boarding we were each given a coloured wristband to wear. The colour of the band signified the time you had been allocated for the glass bottom boat.
As it is an early start, you can buy breakfast onboard. In addition, you were given the program for the day. The ride over was comfortable enough. As with much of Noumea, the staff communicated in both French and English.
On the Island
After 45 minutes on the boat, we arrived at Amedee Island. Shortly after that, it was time to get off the boat and get oriented with the island.
There are basically two types of snakes on the island, and you can easily tell them apart, as they are different colours. The first snake I saw was of the blue and black kind. Later I saw the yellow and black snake. It is worth noting that they are all around.
The snakes are semi-aquatic. They find their food in the water, and come onto land to mate and digest food. While they are apparently venomous, they are not aggressive. In fact, they seem pretty chilled out. Basically, the best plan seems to be to just leave them alone, and they will leave you alone.
An obvious attraction of the island is the lighthouse (or Phare as it is in French).. You can buy a ticket to climb to the top of the lighthouse, as this is not included in the day trip. Fortunately, it is not expensive.
Towering 56 metres above the island, you can climb the 247 steps of its cast iron staircase. While you can’t get right to the top, it is close enough. From the top, you can see panoramic views of the area.
The tour includes an all-you-can-eat buffet. We were called to the lunch pretty much dead on 11:45 am. First up, you collect a pre-lunch drink. There are two choices, but as I was to find out, the plastic cup was important. If you wanted a wine or beer from the bar, you needed to take the plastic cup with you.
Lunch consisted of a wide variety of dishes, While a buffet, the staff served portions of each dish into individual serving dishes. Of course, you could take as many as you want, but who wants to look greedy!
Following lunch, there was a demonstration of local dancing.
Post Lunch Activities
After lunch, there were two demostrations. Firstly, there was a demonstration of how to grate a coconut. Along the way was a discussion on selecting a coconut, and opening it to prepare for grating. The result was both coconut water, and grated coconut.
Secondly, there was a demonstration of pareo tying. A pareo is a type of wraparound skirt worn in the Pacific Islands. It was a bit of an eye-opener to see the number of ways it could be tied.
At the end if the day, it was time to leave the island behind and headback to Noumea.
My initial thoughts on taking this trip were that it sounded a bit expensive for what it was. However, having done the trip, it was a good, well organised day, with plent of activities.