After we landed at Ile des pine airport, we saw this map on the wall when we waited for our luggage. One of the passage said those are two must-visit spots in the island. They are the Piscine Naturelle (Natural swimming pool) and Baie d’upi (Hiking to the Upi bay)
We did both, and here is our experience.
Ile des pine is an island that surrounded by lagoons, which has this amazing tequila colours. It would be a paradise for those people who love to have a dip into the ocean. Unfortunately, both of us are not confident in swimming in the sea. Luckily, this island offered another option – an in-land pool, which is connected to the ocean during high tide and becomes an isolated natural swimming pool during the low tide.
From Le Median to the natural pool, it is around 20 min walk. Make sure you go during the low tide as the river goes up during high tide, and it is not that safe when the water level rise, especially for kids.
Also, the pool connects to the river during high tide so it is not that fun to swimming in the river (just sand and seaweed)
There are two ways to get to the natural pool from Le Median. Either right next to the Le Median’s signature boat or via the beach.
From the boat stature:
Walk along the river bank towards the bush. At low tide, the river bank should be dry. It is hard to get lost because there are signs everywhere.
The sign read: “Piscine Naturel”
Follow the sign and there is the pool.
From the beach (need to be low tide):
It is a little bit tricky to find this path. At the end of the beach, there is a walking way with soft and white sand on it. It looks like this
(around that boat)
At the end of this walking way, it is the natural pool.
Although it is hiding inside the island, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have those fancy colourful fish. The natural pool is basically a mini lagoon, which makes it so special.
During the low tide, some part of the water level is so low, that we barely can swimming because we start hitting those colourful corals (which I don’t think we supposed to do!)
(those are from my go pro 5 black. pretty decent)
The water is fairly chilling during August, we finish our morning swimming simply because it was too cold. That’s why my suggestion to anyone see this would bring your own wetsuits and some proper snorkelling gears. For kids, a floating noodle might be necessary, because some part of this pool is very deep.
On the other side of the river, it has this hidden hiking track to a bay called Baie D’Upi. The entry point is at the other side of where the sign of the natural pool on the small rocks in the middle of the river located ( I attached the photo above).
As we can see from the map, the entry point is on the other side of the river. It is a bit hard to find, but eventually, you will see this small sign, says Upi.
This track requires a pair of proper shoes because it is in the bush with those pine tree roots everywhere. I highly recommend you to bring a pair of thongs, because you might need to walk in the river for a while.
The track is in the forest, tall pine tree, coconut crabs (are they?) were everywhere. I can imagine it is a pleasant walk during the summer season because it is well shredded. It took around 40-45 mins at my speed (which is slightly faster than normal walking speed).
The minute we step out of the forest, it is an amazing beach! It was late afternoon, only me and Dr R was there, peaceful and quiet.
This is the bay that you can sailor on one of those traditional boats in the early morning (check with Le Meridien with the departure time). Or you can just enjoy the walk and the beach, it’s entirely up to you.
When we back to the river, it was already sunset time and was around high tide. The water level increased, so we have to walk in the river. Fish started swam in, and the moon is out.
It’s dinner time.
In conclusion, it was a very interesting and amazing experience for us. We didnt expect to see so many fish and corals in a ….pond. The natural pool was kind of freezing during the cloudy day and that was my first time feeling numb in the water. So my humble advice from my heart is: bring a wetsuit! Also, check the low tide time before you head out to the hiking track. Unless you don’t mind to walk in the river (water level was slightly higher than my knee) with fish.
Have fun and enjoy the nature!
-Travelled at the end of August 2018 –
(oh well, I know now is end of Nov….and I will be in Cradle mountion very shortly!!!)