13-Nov-2015 -- While en route to Australia and New Zealand (which I visit each year during the Southern Hemisphere Summer), I decided to spend a few days in the French territory of New Caledonia - a place that I had yet to visit (despite being the closest major landmass to my home country of New Zealand). My reason for visiting New Caledonia was two-fold. First, I had already brushed up on my high school ‘tourist French’ for my visit to France earlier in the year, so I decided to ‘strike while the iron was hot’ and visit another French-speaking country while the French language was still somewhat fresh in my mind. The second reason, of course, was that New Caledonia has a Degree Confluence Point - one that appeared to be quite easy to visit.
After spending a few days in the capital of Nouméa, I rented a car and drove northwards. Rather than heading directly for the Degree Confluence Point on my first day, I instead stopped for the night in the small town of Poindimié, on the island’s north-east coast. The next morning, I continued northwards along the coast to the beautiful Hienghene area, then backtracked to take the Tiwaka->Koné road to cross back to the western side of the island. This road passes just 400m south of the Degree Confluence Point. (There's a side road nearby that comes even closer, but taking that route would involve passing a farm house.) Instead, I parked beside the Tiwaka->Koné road, and hiked from there.
Beside the road - at [-21.00278,165.00249] - I found a well-worn path through the grass, leading towards the point. This is probably the same path that Rainer Mautz and Elionora used during their visit almost 4 years earlier. This path took me close to the point; I then ‘bushwhacked’ the rest of the way through long grass down to the point, which lies at the bottom of a depression, within a patch of tall bamboo. During this short hike, I kept wondering whether New Caledonia was like neighboring New Zealand - with no snakes at all - or like neighboring Australia - with lots of snakes; most of them highly venomous! (I researched this later, and learned that fortunately New Caledonia has no (land) snakes at all.)
After returning to my rental car, I continued westward to the town of Koné, then continued southwards back to Nouméa. The driving on this trip took several hours. New Caledonia’s main island is remarkably long. Nonetheless, New Caledonia is definitely worth a visit - whether or not you decide to visit its Degree Confluence Point.