The French dependent overseas territory of New Caledonia is located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is east of the Coral Sea and west of Vanuatu. The territory consists of the main island of Grand Terre, the archipelago of the Loyalty Islands and a number of small, sparsely populated islands. Its main attractions are dazzling beaches, camping, amazing snorkelling and diving experiences and of course, fabulous French food.
The climate is semi-tropical and is often hot and humid in January and February. New Caledonia is also subject to tropical cyclones, most prevalent from November to March and during the winter (April to August).
Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia home to the fine French restaurants, designer boutiques and the cosmopolitan crowds, many proclaim this to be the Paris of the Pacific. Be advised though, that as almost everything needs to be imported into New Caledonia, it is a very expensive place! Also, there is no culture for bargaining and if this is attempted it will most likely cause offence.
Favorite pastimes in New Caledonia
Activities include snorkelling, diving and windsurfing. Llot Canard, just outside of Anse Vata is a really good place for beginners, and Aguille de Prony is an amazing underwater structure in the Prony bay, south of Noumea.
Many visitors opt for just relaxing and generally doing nothing, and Bai des Citrons and the Anse Vata are common beaches at the Noumea peninsula to suit this passtime. Also Llot Maitre has a resort and can be reached by taxi boat from the Anse Vata and by boat, from the Baie de Mouselle. A host of other tourist resorts can be found throughout the Grande Terre and lle des Pins region, so no there is shortage of quality accommodation.
Hiking and camping in areas like Parc Riviere Bleu in the Yate region, south of Noumea are popular, and there are a number of other hiking opportunities around these large islands. The best-known long-distance hike is across the mountains from the Hienghene valley to Voh. Joining a hiking group is often a good idea since you can then enjoy the great scenery with the fear of getting lost.
Some visitors like to do their own exploration of the area and yacht chartering is available through New Caledonia Winward Islands, one of the world’s largest yacht charter companies from bare boat to a luxury yacht in New Caledonia and Vanuatu.
Several companies offer Scuba diving but it’s also possible to hire tanks and head off on your own is you have the necessary skill and experience.
Horseback riding is probably the favourite terrestrial recreational activity amongst the local French and there are several well established ranches near Kone.
So, if you need to brush up on your French and you love French cuisine combined with the fantastic backdrop of the great outdoors (and have a healthy budget), then New Caledonia is definitely worthy of your consideration when planning your vacation.
Main attractions: Aguile de Prony, Baie des Citrons, Jean-Marie Tjibaou Center, Îlot Canard, Îlot Maitre, Parc Rivière Bleu in the Yaté region south of Noumea.
Currency: CFP franc
Budget for one week: €800
Taxes and gratuity: Tipping is recommended
Official language: French
Area: 7,7172 sq mi
- Voltage: 220-240 Volts (U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts)
- Primary Socket Type: Europlug, Schuko
- Multi-voltage appliances (laptops, etc.): Plug adapter
- 110-120V electronics: Plug adapter + step-down transformer
- Hair dryers, curling irons, etc.: Plug adapter + voltage converter