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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 Australasian destination of New Caledonia 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 calling to you 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 the FOL Viewpoint, with great views over the city centre, marina and harbour, Coconut Square, the Aquarium and Zoological & Botanical Gardens, the Promenade Pierre Vernier, the WWII memorial at Ouen Toro and the City Museum. Further out, travellers can also journey to the town of Robinson and visit the quaint Church of La Conception. Built around 1874, hundreds of pilgrims still gather here each year in August to celebrate Assumption.
Enjoy the Noumea Cuisines
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. But, 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, and if you’re lucky, you might even 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 is cooked in hot rocks.
Go On An Island Adventure
Island adventures are abound in New Caledonia and entail some of the finest cruising and travelling experiences in the Coral Sea. Where to go?
- Loyalty Islands: 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, featuring spectacular beaches, mountain views, sunken rock pools, beautiful lagoons and a vibrant marine life. Living and hotel-staying here is easy and relaxed, with seafood platters the menu specialty for many hotels and resorts.
- Amedee Islet: This small, coral island is reachable in around 45 minutes from Noumea via a high-speed boat. Travellers 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!
- Ille Des Pines: 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, or by a half-hour 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. At the tribal fishing ground of St. Joseph’s Bay, you can also see the locals building outrigger canoes.
Looking for a quick yet blissful getaway? Let Travellers Choice put together a memorable holiday package in New Caledonia for you!