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New Caledonia Travel Guide

New Caledonia Travel Guide

Nouméa, the largely French built capital of New Caledonia, is often referred to as “the Paris of the Pacific.” Parisian influence is apparent in the colonial buildings, cafés, food, and the predominantly French speaking population. New Caledonia is also equally known as a tropical paradise, which is justified, given the year round warm weather, natural beauty of the islands and richness of the surrounding reefs and seas.

The beaches and seas attract as many visitors as the culture history. A daytrip to Amedee Island neatly wraps it all up with glass bottom boat exploration and amazing views from the top of the French built Amedee lighthouse. Alternatively, nature and Kanak culture combine at the Grotto of Queen Hortense, where a tribal queen hid from conflict amongst the stalagmites and stalactites.

Other popular excursions include boat trips to enjoy the beaches of Ile aux Canards (Duck Island) and l’Ilot Maitre (Master Island). Visitors with a rental car may enjoy the scenic Kone-Tiwak road, a mountain pass linking the west and east coasts.

New Caledonia offers a range of accommodation options, particularly hotels and holiday cottages in the mid-range bracket, although there are a couple of five star hotels and resorts which need to be booked in advance. New Caledonia is known for its excellent seafood and French cuisine, although there are international options available.

Most visitors arrive in New Caledonia via La Tontouta International Airport, about 30 miles north of the main city, Nouméa. Cruise ships also bring some traffic into the area. Most tourists opt to stay in Nouméa and explore the rest of the country via rental car or organized day trips.

Highlights

  • Dive with sharks and turtles at Tepava
  • Take a trip to Ile des Pins to snorkel at beautiful Kanemera bay
  • Climb the lighthouse and explore the reefs of Amedee islet
  • Eat authentic French food in exotic locations
  • See the rare cagou, New Caledonia’s national bird, at Blue River Provincial Park
  • Watch the sunset with a cocktail after a day at the beach at Anse Vata
  • Learn about Kanak culture at the interesting Musée de Nouvelle-Calédonie
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