Lifou landscapes

I know it’s a bit surprising that I haven’t shown many landscape photos until now. So far I’ve done just one article dedicated specifically to landscapes on the main island of New Caledonia, and that was it. Time for some more, I’d say!

So I will now show you some images I have been able to shoot during my four days on the island of Lifou. All of them were taken on the coast.

Sunset at Easo in the north-west of Lifou island.

Actually, there are several reasons why I haven’t shown more landscapes until now. The main one being that, generally speaking, I find them less impressive than I had expected. On Grande Terre the weather has been extremely dry in recent weeks (and maybe even longer), and so a lot of the vegetation is brown instead of green. Secondly, even if the landscape is photogenic, it is sometimes rather difficult to find a suitable spot to capture it. I have noticed that often a lot of vegetation is in the way and blocking the view – ironically, this is the case even in places specifically designed and maintained as ‘pointes de vue’.

Furthermore, and that is something which I find most frustrating, the ‘good spots’ are evidently often places where people like to meet, hang out and, let’s say, enjoy their spare time. While that in itself might not necessarily be a bad thing, more often than not does it coincide with the very widespread habit of just dumping your rubbish anywhere. So the beautiful spots are often littered with empty beer cans, plastic bottles, leftovers from campfires etc. I find that very careless, to say the least. My suggestion would be to collect all that rubbish and put it in the car wrecks that line the country roads…

But hey, let’s talk about some positive stuff! Because after some searching, I do normally find suitable places for decent landscape photography. And I am glad that I do, because this means I am not carrying around my heavy tripod, the filters and all the other heavy equipment for nothing…

The above photo was taken at Baie de Chateaubriand in the eastern part of Lifou. Oh yes, and there is yet another difficulty that I encountered when searching for nice photo opportunities, especially on Lifou: there are relatively few beaches, and the coastline consists mostly of grey limestone rocks with lots of cavities and extremely sharp edges, which supports little or no vegetation at all. So it is rather difficult to include an attractive foreground in any frame.

Baie de Chateaubriand
Baie de Chateaubriand
Baie de Chateaubriand

One morning I got up at 4.30 am in order to be at a good spot in time before sunrise. This place lies next to the tribal village of Xepenehe in the north-west of Lifou. It was worth the effort, I think.

The coast at Xepenehe (Lifou).
The coast at Xepenehe (Lifou). (Are there stripes on one of my filters?!?)
Yes, it was good to bring the tripod and filters. The long exposure (thanks to the Neutral Density filter) in combination with the polarisation filter allowed me to render visible everything that lies beneath the surface of the water.

Another nice spot is ‘plage de Kiki’, which also lies close to Xepenehe and which requires a 30 minutes walk through very beautiful woodland. If you want to swim at that beach, you need to be there at low tide. I was a little too late for that, so I had to content myself with shots from the upper level.

Plage de Kiki near Xepenehe (Lifou).
Plage de Kiki near Xepenehe (Lifou).
Plage de Kiki near Xepenehe (Lifou).

My favourite beach on Lifou was definitely ‘plage de Luengoni’ in the south-east of the island. It required an hour’s drive in the car from where I was staying, but that was definitely worth it. I am grateful to my hosts who urged me to go there! The place itself is very calm and breathtakingly beautiful. Other tourists that I spoke to told me that they had seen several sea turtles in the water right beside the beach. And that handful of stray dogs were like everywhere else on Lifou – totally harmless.

Plage de Luengoni (Lifou).
Plage de Luengoni (Lifou).

And I swear that it really did look like that!

My last image was taken from the ferry back to Nouméa on Grande Terre. I must admit it would have been nice to have access to that stretch of coastline, or to something similar anyway. Those trees do look rather photogenic even from a distance! But not all of Lifou is easily accessible for people like me – either because there are no trails leading there, or because it is ‘terre coutumière’ (tribal land) which should not be entered without permission or even a guide. Okay, then maybe next time!

Published by Sebastian

Geographer, naturalist and photographer (www.schroeder-esch.de). Based in Germany, but always keen to travel and explore

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