Roche Percée, Turtle Bay and the BonhommeRoche Percée, Turtle Bay and the Bonhomme
©Roche Percée, Turtle Bay and the Bonhomme|JC Robert

La Roche Percée and Turtle Bay

in Bourail

The Roche Percée beach is an iconic symbol of the West Coast and Bourail commune. Stretching over 3 km, this beach is made up of volcanic sand, much appreciated by local surfers or bodysurfers. Its sunsets are exceptional! Just nearby, the Turtle Bay invites you on a picturesque path, surrounded by columnar pines, golden sands, and quartz rocks. Whether you’re here to unwind, take a leisurely stroll, or enjoy a picnic, the legends echoing through this place add a symbolic touch to your New Caledonian experience.

The Roche Percée and Turtle Bay are in the commune of Bourail, 117 km from Nouméa-Tontouta international airport and 162 km from downtown Nouméa. To reach these two sites, it’s best to rent a car. It will take you around 2 hours from Nouméa on the RT1 road, which crosses the whole of New Caledonia from south to north. Another option is to book a guided day tour from Nouméa. Shuttle services such as Bourail Shuttle Services provide individual or group trips between the international airport or Noumea’s city centre and Bourail.

  • The Roche Percée and Turtle Bay sites are freely accessible with or without a guide. However, swimming is forbidden here as it is dangerous.
  • Enhance your visit by heading to the nautical base and indulging in a dive or an excursion to the Île Verte!
  • An accommodation offering surf trips is located close to the Roche Percée. Attention surfers!
Top 7 activities on site

1. Unveil the local legend

The Iconic Roche Percée
The Iconic Roche Percée
The Iconic Roche Percée

Extending from the Roche Percée cliff, the “Bonhomme” stands as a unique formation resembling a leaning man. This quartz monolith, known as Boué Taoué in Kanak tradition, is steeped in ancestral legends. According to the lore, this site serves as a passage for the departed to enter the “realm of the dead” through an underwater cave. Local tales speak of the sound of the deceased casting themselves into the waves to reach this mystical “kingdom” from the Turtle Bay. Although the tunnel connecting Roche Percée to the bay still exists, it is no longer passable.

2. Enjoy a breathtaking view of the mouth of the Nera river

The Nera River is sourced from the rivers originating in the Chaîne Centrale, ultimately flowing into the lagoon on the west coast of Grande Terre. Creating a delta around Roche Percée, it encompasses both right and left banks at its mouth. A short walk upstream reveals the splendour of this distinctive landscape. Among the prime vantage points, the site of the Notre-Dame-des-Flots statue stands tall, commanding a panoramic view of Gouaro Bay. From here, you can marvel at the mouth of the Néra, the surrounding valley, and the entirety of Roche Percée beach, all while enjoying breathtaking scenery along the Trois Baies trail.

3. Admiring natural wonders

Distinguished by its iconic Bonhomme-shaped rock, this location boasts a magnificent vista, with the Turtle Bay on one side and the Roche Percée beach on the other. The colours during sunset enhance the enchantment of the place. Le Bonhomme stands as a renowned symbol of New Caledonia. Situated near La Roche Percée, this resilient quartz monolith, sculpted by the relentless waves, looms over the vast ocean, with waves crashing on the beach to its left.

In August 2006, the hole of Roche Percée partially caved in, and then a second landslide in March 2007 completely destroyed it.

4. Picnicking among the columnar pines

Burrowed among columnar pines reminiscent of Arabic architecture, Turtle Bay is an inviting spot for a delightful picnic. While swimming is prohibited due to strong currents, the area is ideal for unwinding. Explore water holes, marvel at the gentle rollers framing the beach, and, if luck is on your side, catch a glimpse of a turtle’s head or a dugong’s back. Overhead, herons and buzzards add to the lively ambiance.

Dylan Caledonian DreamDylan Caledonian Dream
©Dylan Caledonian Dream

La Roche Percée lives up to its name, as we were able to see the tunnel that joins two beaches. […] From the cliff, I could also see a boat carrying surfers to the reef pass… My next spot?

Dylan Hare, Caledonian Dream season 2

5. Hiking the Three Bays Trail

Follow along a leisurely 4-kilometre pathway near Le Bonhomme, commencing from La Roche Percée in Bourail. This easy trail unveils three secluded bays nestled amidst lush vegetation. The viewpoints, alternating between elevated spots and beach level, present stunning views of the lagoon, quartz rocks, and columnar pines. Each bay exudes its unique charm, tempting you to linger by the lagoon. The hike can be comfortably completed in 1.5 hours, or bring along a picnic to savour the experience to the fullest!

6. Walk on the beach

Discover New Caledonia’s exclusive “beach break” surf spot at La Roche Percée—a lengthy beach perfect for relaxing strolls. While swimming is discouraged due to challenging currents, the waves gracefully rolling in offer a picturesque scene, especially during sunsets when the water reflects enchanting golden-pink hues.

7. Take a gourmet meal break

Located at the entrance to the Roche Percée beach, the lively and family-friendly ambiance of Chez Marco and Co awaits you for a delightful culinary interlude. Delight in Marco’s renowned burgers, featuring a tempting vegetarian option, and savour refreshing fresh fruit cocktails. Committed to sustainability, the snack bar uses market-fresh produce and practices waste sorting, even contributing to the henhouse’s feed. Conveniently, service extends until 3 pm. Periodically, the owners host evening concerts featuring local musical talents, enhancing your dining experience.