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 on the surrounding reefs.
The natural and manmade beauty of the island doesn’t just lend itself to active holidays, there are numerous relaxing options too. With three scenic 18 hole courses to choose from and numerous white sandy beaches with warm water, visitors can unwind at any pace, amidst nature and luxury.
Relaxing sandy 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 being easily accessed 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 daytrips to l’Ilot Maitre, which has a nice beach and jetty, 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 organized daytrip to the area. Alternatively, Aquanature offer a variety of trips from Nouméa that take in some of the best spots, including Tabou Reef with its coral walls, unicorn fish, groupers, 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 even hosting international competitions. Some of the best spots are around Cote Blanche or at Anse Vata, near Nouméa. Boards and gear can be hired from nearby surf shops Diablo Surf or NC Funboard.
The tropical waters, rich marine life, reefs and wrecks around New Caledonia have made diving here popular. Amedee Diving offers instruction and tours, including daytrips to the Boulari pass, which is known for sharks, rays and eels. Nouméa Diving offer day trips to marine life hotspots such as Tepava, known for turtles, barracuda, reef sharks, and rays, as well as offering access to some of the more remote, lesser known and rather exciting sites around the Ile des Pins, Lifou, and Ouvea.
New Caledonia is a great place for hiking with many great 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 high. Probably the most famous trail 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 hiking 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 golf resort at Ouenghi. Nautilus Tours offers full packages, including car hire and accommodation, to play any of the three courses, or visitors could book directly with Paillotes de la Ouenghi which has bungalows, a restaurant and pool on site.
The tradewinds that visit New Caledonia make it an attractive destination for sailing. Nouméa Discovery Travel Company offers a range of boat based excursions including a harbor cruise on a catamaran. For greater immersion, Nouméa Yacht Charter offers crewed and unscrewed yacht charters that can stretch over several days or longer.