Holidays in New Caledonia offer an exciting blend of French and Melanesian cultures for travellers who want the best of a tropical getaway. The incredible destination includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Belep Archipelago, the Isle of Pines, the Chesterfield Islands and several other remote islets. All are just calling out to be explored, and are just three hours from Australia’s shores!
New Caledonia’s capital of Noumea is located on the main island of Grande Terre, often referred to by locals as “Le Caillou” (‘The Rock’). Private city tours are one of the best ways to see Noumea, with popular stopovers including Coconut Square, the Promenade Pierre Vernier, the WWII memorial at Ouen Toro and the City Museum. Visit the FOL Viewpoint, for great views over the city centre, marina and harbour.
Further out, you’ll find the town of Robinson. Here, you can visit the quaint Church of La Conception, which was built around 1874. Hundreds of pilgrims still gather here each year in August to celebrate Assumption.
New Caledonia is still a territory belonging to France, and this influence is most notable in the fine dining and local cuisine available in Noumea. Many of Noumea’s waterfront restaurants and cafes provide an eclectic range of delicious foods, including cakes, pastries, crepes, and sweets.
Like many other tropical holiday destinations, the seafood in New Caledonia is exquisite and offers some of the best of fusion food, combining French and Melanesian traditions into one. Coconut crabs are a must try, and if you’re feeling brave, you might be able to sample some turtle! For a traditional island dish, try Bougna – this is a Melanesian meal involving meats, seafood and often yams or sweet potatoes that are cooked in hot rocks.
A true touch of paradise, the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia - Maré, Lifou and Ouvéa – offer tourists a unique and natural environment in which to unwind. Spend time on spectacular beaches, take in mountain views, explore sunken rock pools and beautiful lagoons, and discover a vibrant underwater world. Living is easy here, and definitely and relaxed!
Amedee Islet is a small, coral island reachable in around 45 minutes from Noumea, via a high-speed boat. Visitors can explore and climb the iconic lighthouse for some sweeping views, relax on the pristine beaches, snorkel in the shallows or take a tour in a glass-bottomed boat. If you’re keen, try and spot a sea snake – Amedee is famous for them!
The amazing Ille des Pines, otherwise known as the Isle of Pines, is located in New Caledonia’s southern province and is accessible by boat, which takes around two hours. If you want to get there faster and your budget allows, take a 30-minute plane or helicopter trip from Noumea. Top of the must-see list is Piscine Naturelle, a lagoon famous for its crystal-clear water and friendly fish. In the southwest, visitors can stroll along the 1,000 metre-long Kuto Bay or watch the waves rolling in at la Baie des Rouleaux (Roller Bay). The islands' east is home to Oro Bay, where tidal channels have created pools sheltered by coral cliffs.