Just a short flight of only 2 hours from Brisbane or 2 hours 45mins from Sydney, New Caledonia offers you a holiday of diverse and authentic experiences while surrounded by the most stunning natural beauty. As your flight descends over New Caledonia, you are given your first glimpse of the brilliant blue sea, the world’s largest turquoise lagoon and rich emerald forests.
Enjoy the atmosphere of the French Riviera combined with South Pacific island breezes, soft sand beaches and swaying palm trees in Noumea. Although it’s easy to spend your whole holiday in the sprawling city centre tasting your way from winery to winery, sampling exquisite cuisine in the numerous bistros, restaurants and cafes or getting some shopping à la française (retail therapy - French style!), you will be handsomely rewarded if you venture a little further past the hustle and bustle to experience the plethora of New Caledonia’s natural attractions. Just a short water taxi ride from Noumea wharf is Duck Island, a tiny paradise where you can explore the wonderful underwater world, discover incredible flora and fauna along with hundreds of multi-coloured tropical fish. Duck Island is also an open air exhibition site where several Caledonian sculptors and international artists choose to exhibit their creations.
Isle of Pines
Take a scenic twenty minute flight south of Noumea to the stunning Ile des Pins (Isle of Pines). Featuring post-card perfect white beaches, lined with banyan trees and of course the columnar pine, to which the island owes its name. Ile des Pins is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts a striking azure lagoon with the highlight being the natural pool of Baie d’Oro (The Oro Bay).
New Caledonia’s natural beauty is no better exhibited than the exquisite soft sand beaches and sparkling waters on display in the Loyalty Islands. Consisting of three main islands - Lifou, Mare & Ouvéa, each island is accessible by short scenic flight. Lifou has many sheltered bays which are perfect for snorkelling. The more adventurous traveller can hike to magnificent cliff-top views and discover intricate caves. Feel the stresses of everyday life melt away along the 28 kilometre stretch of pure white sand and waves that gently lap the shore on Fayaoué Beach, located on the west coast of Ouvéa. Make the most of the beach by trying out the fantastic watersports on offer, from kayaking to windsurfing or simply enjoy swimming with the colourful sealife around you. The southernmost isle, Maré, has many basalt rocks from its volcanic origins where you can explore the scattered grottos and natural pools. Talk to our New Caledonia specialists about adding the Loyalty Islands to your holiday!
For those that want to keep to the mainland, take a tour to the southern end of the main land where the blue lagoons contrast against the red oxidised metal soils of the Deep South. Cross the biggest reservoir of freshwater (Yaté Lake), then witness the drowned forest - an amazingly unique landscape. The town of Yaté features lunar-like landscapes and a series of naturally beautiful sites including the Natural Park of Rivière Bleue (Blue River National Park). Sprawling across 9,000 hectares, the national park can be explored either by foot or by bike and is home to a thousand year old great Kaori tree, measuring nearly three metres in circumference. Journey to the Plaine des lacs (Plain of Lakes) and view the roaring waterfall, Chutes de la Madeleine (Madelaine Waterfall). Heading further north of Yate, you will come across Côte Oubliée (Forgotten Coast), where adventurous hikers will discover steep cliffs, deep valleys, flowing rivers and rugged reef.
The colour contrasts continue as you venture further inland to The West Coast. Dominated by wide open plains of the Caledonian breeding farms these landscapes are home to the "Broussards". Complete with cowboy hats, boots & whips they are New Caledonia’s take on the American West’s cowboys. The West Coast is also home to the famous Heart of Voh, a beautiful heart shaped by mangroves, best seen by helicopter or scenic flight. For an easy route to the West Coast, hire a car and journey along the Koné-Tiwaka road which crosses Grand Terre’s mountain chain. Curving through majestic valleys and villages, there are also plenty of picnic and swimming areas along the road. One swimming hole that’s not to be missed is near Pombeï Falls where the rocks are a beautiful light purple colour.
Whether you are looking for a city stay or somewhere relaxing, New Caledonia is sure to dazzle the senses and have you returning home with stunning photos and memories of the colourful palette of natural New Caledonia.
If you would like a quote for your next New Caledonia holiday or for more information, please get in touch with our team of specialist travel consultants on 1800 800 722.