World class lagoons, white sandy beaches, waterfalls, an exquisite reef, chic French restaurants and traditional cooking with the locals … New Caledonia welcomes you.
The rich landscape of Ouvéa, New Caledonia -© @ayance NCT
If you’re looking for a getaway destination that’s jaw-droppingly beautiful, rich in cultural heritage, fun and friendly, New Caledonia is for you. Take a week to truly disconnect from your daily routine and reconnect with nature. The French territory (since 1853), comprising of a few dozen South Pacific islands, offers the best of two worlds: chic French shopping and dining, but also enriching experiences with the Kanak, the indigenous Melanesian people, and the sublime islands.
Culture club in New Caledonia
At the Tjibaou Cultural Center, learn about Kanak culture at this Renzo Piano-designed space (of Paris’ Pompidou Centre fame), whose dramatic, poetic architecture references the patterns on the traditional Kanak Grand Hut design. The centre promotes Kanak culture, its history and ongoing presence (around 40 percent of the population), encouraging contemporary forms of expression (art, performance, music, literature). There’s a museum, a concert hall, permanent and temporary exhibitions, and many intriguing events.
At the Museum of New Caledonia (MUZ) you can also dive into the traditions, culture and art of Kanak and Oceanic cultures. The collection dates back to 1863. Be marvelled by spiritually-charged wooden statues and peruse photography, paintings, postcards, stamps, jewellery, costumes, textiles and furniture.
Nature lovers in New Caledonia
Farino is a landlocked commune in the South Province that’s a superb place to go bird watching and learn about the medicinal use of plants. Take a fascinating birdwatching tour, relax with a picnic then join a local guide to learn about the medicinal turtles, caves, and sea vegetation. The UNESCO uses of plants used by the Kanak tribes. Walk to the waterfall, swim in its pools, dry off and hug a tree – now that’s a ritual designed to revitalise!
Aquarium naturel -© @ayance NCT-Maré
Lagoons, reefs, and aquariums in New Caledonia
Experience the exquisite natural beauty of tropical lagoons with their coral reefs and associated ecosystems. Explore the world of fish, whales, turtles, caves, and sea vegetation. The UNESCO World Heritage listed reefs are considered be some of the most magnificent in the world with their array of colours, patterns, and forms. To see and understand some of this magnificent marine life, the Aquarium des Lagons is an essential visit for all ages. You can even take a virtual visit from home via their website.
Snorkelling in New Caledonia -© Dean Cropp - Access All Angles NCT
The Isle of Pines in New Caledonia
The Isle of Pines is a 30-minute flight from Nouméa and is simply magnificent with its pristine, sandy beaches and elegant tall pine trees. It’s the perfect destination for some fine snorkelling (Oro Bay’s natural swimming pool is home to thousands of multi-coloured fish) or a spot of scuba diving. Book a session with Kunie Scuba Center at Ouameo Bay and be ready to be wowed by the vibrant underwater world. Hear some incredible stories about encounters from your instructor and even see humpback whales from July to September. Keen for more water activities? Rent a kayak to discover Kuto or Kanumera Bay. Or simply swim then chill out on the sand.
Sail away in Ile des Pins-© Sicilia NCT
Get cooking in New Caledonia
Lifou is the largest of the Loyalty Islands with stunning beaches,turtles and palm trees. Make sure to plan time for a refreshing swim before lunch at Chez Bella or L’Oasis de Kiamu. Or better yet, book in for a unique experience with members of the Kanak tribes – join a cooking class! You’ll learn how to make a bougna, a traditional dish with yams, sweet potatoes, bananas, and fresh seafood (fish, crab, prawns, or lobster). As you share the- meal with your host, you’ll hear stories about local heritage and legends. Next, you’ll visit the huts and plantations and learn secrets about plant medicine.
Produce from Wenene Women's Market in Thio-© Oneye Production NCT
Live like locals in New Caledonia
Stay with a Napoémien tribe with Jehudit Pwijia. You’ll cook bougna, learn the ins and outs of shrimp fishing and there’s even a sculpture workshop on offer, with Waya from the Aidaa Association.
Rest and play in New Caledonia
After hiking, swimming, diving and explorations in nature, it's time to be pampered! Relax in the sauna, hammam or a jacuzzi at Le Méridien Nouméa Deep Nature Spa and book a massage. Realigned, take a serene sunset stroll or dip at Anse-Vata Beach. When it comes to nightlife, bingo is very popular in Noumea, so for a bit of fun, have a game or two with locals then head for drinks and dinner. Many options are available such as the tapas bar 12 Glasser or the chic wine bar, the 020, overlooking the lagoon. For the best sunset cocktails head to the Baie des Citrons (Lemon Bay). Savour French cuisine at Le Relais de la Vallée, get a fix of delicious Italian fare at Casa Italia or just stroll around to find the atmosphere of your choice from romantic to festive. Ready to get out and mingle? Plenty of bars and clubs await you like LEndroit Rooftop, La Bodega del Mar or L'Etrave.
NewCal Mêrêsaaba Rando - Farino-© JC Robert NCT
NewCal Les Bulles de Farino-© Les Bulles de Farino NCT
Stay awhile in New Caledonia
Les Bulles de Farino is where you can experience the imaginative, eco-friendly and cosy bubble' or 'dome' accommodation nestled in nature on the west coast, 1.5 hours from Nouméa. Visit the nearby waterfall, swim in the river, relax in the bathtub and stargaze from bed! Prefer private views of the lagoon, kayaking, yoga and fresh seafood? There's plenty to love about Beach House Lodge (eight villas) in Boat Pass, Poum, in New Caledonia's far north, with their slick northern
French architecture to surround yourself in water and luxury, book a stay at DoubleTree by Hilton Noumea on the secluded lot Resort. Stay in one of the overwater bungalows for a breakfast with turtles and for the best sunsets you will ever witness. Enjoy 200 hectares of marine reserves, fine dining, water sports and just blissing out with the views.
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