About Cascade de Ba
Cascade de Ba (I’ve also seen it spelled Cascade de Baa) was a rather obscure waterfall on the southern end of the North Province’s east coast despite it being mentioned on several maps and guidebooks. The big reason for this obscurity was that it wasn’t explicitly signposted, which made finding this waterfall a challenge for us. In fact, even though we were at the correct stream, apparently, we didn’t go far enough upstream to get to the actual waterfall. Instead, all we had to show for our efforts were a bunch of smaller cascades on a stream that didn’t seem to have much water anyways. We’ll describe in the directions below, which bridge and which unpaved road was the correct one.
I debated whether or not to even have this writeup since we didn’t actually see the correct waterfall. But I figured that since we got the correct stream and access road, we mind as well tell you what we did see, and where we made our mistake. Anyways, most of the waterfall shots that we’re showing on this page are pretty much right off the local access road. The key tipoff was that there was a shack by the road next to the unpaved access road, which itself was on the north side of the bridge traversing the stream. The photo you see at the top of this page was actually the lowermost of the cascades on the Ba Stream, and it was downstream from the road bridge (which you can also see in the photo).
I got there by walking downstream (as opposed to upstream) from the bridge opposite the access road and shack. Then, at an intersection further down this road (that was too rough to drive), I saw a sloping path on my right going back down to the base of the stream. There were kayaks and hanging clothes here, but this was where the frontal view of that lowermost waterfall was at. I didn’t know if I was trespassing or not, but I’d imagine that this would be a fine spot for a kayak or a swim.
Anyways, the mistake that we made in terms of trying to find Cascade de Ba was that we didn’t take the access road inland from the shack far enough. Even though we had spoken to a local on the bridge saying we were on the right stream and pointing upstream from the bridge, I guess we underestimated what he meant by going all the way up. So we weren’t as determined when we went about as far as someone’s house that appeared to prevent access further inland. Again, not wanting to trespass, we turned back and parked the car near a bamboo stalk, and there were a few more short but wide dropoffs, where we thought the Cascade de Ba was supposed to be. It was only in hindsight after the trip was over did we realize that the actual waterfall itself was much further upstream past the house we turned around at. We had read that access to the falls was around 100 CFP per car and 100 CFP per person, and perhaps it was that house that was collecting the fees (we’re not sure since nothing was signposted).
Basically after turning left to go south on the RPN3 road, we’d take this drive for about 59.5km (initially passing through the sizable town of Poindimie then through other smaller villages en route). Eventually, we’d reach a sign indicating that we were entering La Tribu de Ba, and it was within this local village that we should’ve been looking for the bridge containing the Ba Stream. It turned out that there was a shack adjacent to an access road on the right just before the correct bridge, and it was this access road that we should take. During our visit, we actually overshot this bridge and access road because there were no signs indicating this waterfall. We only found it when we backtracked and happened to ask a local who just so happened to be at this bridge.
Going in the other direction from the roundabout (near the town of Houailou and the access road leading through Col des Rousettes while crossing the mountains to the town of Bourail), the bridge and access road was about 13.3km further to the north. Just on the north side of the bridge was the access road and shack on the left.
Where we made the mistake was that we should’ve taken this access road far inland to get all the way to the Cascade de Ba. We stopped way short of the mark when we thought we were about to trespass through someone’s property. In hindsight, we should’ve persisted until we knew for sure that the road ended and some form of payment or interacting with the local landowner would be necessary.
Finally, for reference, it was roughly a 3.5-hour drive between Cascade de Ba and the Noumea domestic airport at the suburb of Magenta (on the east side of Noumea) via the RT3 via Bourail and Houailou and into the Tribu de Ba.
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