New Caledonia — Things to Do
New Caledonia has many treats in store for nature lovers, both on and off shore. Hikers can marvel at the giant centuries old kauri trees that dot the parks and reserves while snorkelers and divers can spot the turtles, rays and sharks that live in the surrounding reefs.
The natural and manmade beauty of the island doesn’t just lend itself to active holidays so if you're looking to relax there are a number of thiings to do to let your hair down. With three scenic 18 hole golf courses to choose from and numerous white sandy beaches with warm swimming water, visitors can unwind at any pace, amidst nature and luxury.
The allure of the beaches helped put New Caledonia on the map as a tourist destination, with some of the best such as Anse Vata and Plage de la Baie des Citrons easily accessible from Nouméa. Further afield, Arc en Ciel offer day trips from Nouméa to Bourail which is known for the lovely Poé Beach and Roche Percée beach. Alpha Tourisme offers fun-in-the-sun trips to l’Ilot Maitre, which has a nice shore and jetty that are perfect for sunbathing and water sports.
The warm waters and colorful reefs of New Caledonia are ideal for snorkeling. The islet, Ile des Pines, has some lovely spots such as Kanemera Bay, which can be accessed via a Kunie Scuba Center trip to the area. Alternatively, Aquanature offer a variety of tours from Nouméa that take in some of the best spots including Tabou Reef with its coral walls, unicorn fish, grouper, turtles, marine grass, and the nearby wreck of the Caledonie Toho 5.
The gentle trade winds help make New Caledonia a good place for windsurfing, with the island hosting international competitions. Some of the best spots are Cote Blanche or Anse Vata near Nouméa. Boards and gear can be rented from nearby surf shops like Diablo Surf or NC Funboard.
The tropical waters, rich marine life, reefs, and wrecks around New Caledonia have made diving particularly popular. Amedee Diving offers instruction and tours, including daytrips to the Boulari pass, which is known for sharks, rays and eels. Nouméa Diving also offers tours to marine life hotspots such as Tepava, known for turtles, barracuda, reef sharks, and rays, as well as access to some of the more remote and exciting sites around the Ile des Pins, Lifou and Ouvea.
New Caledonia is a great place for hiking with many trails across the island. Some of the best known destinations are Madeleine Falls Botanic Reserve, Mont-Dore, Dumbéa Gorges, Mount Koghi, and Mount Panié, which is the highest point in New Caledonia, standing at 5344 feet. The most famous trek is The Grande Randonnée (The Great Hike) which cuts through the rugged south to a foot crossing of the Blue River. Reservations to visit Blue River Provincial Park can be made through the Southern Province Tourist Office in Nouméa. Alternatively, hiking guide Alain Fort offers a number of different excursions through which visitors can learn more about the history, flora and fauna of New Caledonia.
New Caledonia has three 18-hole golf courses, Golf de Tina at Nouméa, Dumbéa Golf Club at Dumbéa and Les Paillotes resort at Ouenghi. Nautilus Tours offers full packages that include car rental and accommodation to play any of the three courses. Visitors can also book directly with Paillotes de la Ouenghi which has bungalows, a restaurant and a pool on site.
New Caledonia's iconic tradewinds make it an attractive destination for sailing. Nouméa Discovery Travel Company offers a range of boat excursions that include a harbor cruise on a catamaran. For greater immersion, Nouméa Yacht Charter offers crewed or private yacht charters that can last several days or longer.