What better way to spend your holidays than in New Caledonia - in the very heart of the South Pacific. To make sure you get the most out of your amazing holiday, you should aim to see as much of the New Caledonian archipelago as you can, exploring the Mainland, the Isle of Pines and the Loyalty Islands.
For most of you, your holiday will begin in the capital, Nouméa. After a quick tour of this cosmopolitan city and bays to get your bearings, you should take a one or two day excursion using the route heading towards Mont-Dore and Yaté to the Deep South.
For a tour in the Mainland by car you should allow five to six days, departing from Nouméa and heading to the north of the West coast, returning via the East coast.
You will drive through Dumbéa, a nature lover’s paradise ; Païta and Boulouparis, gateways to the Bush ; pioneering and dynamic La Foa and Moindou ; Farino and Sarraméa in the heart of the mountain range ; picturesque Bourail which is between the mountains and the ocean; Poya, Pouembout, Koné and Voh, the economic crossroads of the North ; Kaala-Gomen, Koumac, Poum, Ouegoa and Pouébo with the magical colours of the far North; Hienghène and its majestic landscapes ; Touho, Poindimié and Houaïlou on the East coast for their spectacular lushness; Thio, Canala and Kouaoua between the nickel and thermal springs.
A tour of New Caledonia would not be complete without a trip to the Isle of Pines or the Loyalty Islands, jewels of white sandy beaches, turquoise water and warming welcome of their inhabitants.
A land full of adventure and discovery, the large New Caledonian archipelago contains a vast amount of natural and cultural wealth. Protected by an immense coral barrier reef, and blessed with an exceptional and, very often, endemic flora and fauna, crystal-clear water and shallow depths, the world’s largest lagoon makes New Caledonia one of the most beautiful diving sites to be found on the planet and an absolutely idyllic site for sailing.
Two-thirds of this spectacular lagoon’s 24,000km² have been included on the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage list!
New Caledonia is an amazing land of full of adventure and exhilaration for nature lovers. By hiking along the GR1 (the “Grande Randonnée“ walking trail), taking the smaller tracks and paths in the Blue River Provincial Park and the Giant Fern Park, with its many endemic plants and animals, or by mountain bike, on horseback, by quad or canoe, you can experience the outdoor wilderness adventure and discover a welcoming, generous nature.
And to let the magic really go to your head, as well see the full extent of the territory, its variety, beautiful landscapes, contrasting colours and brilliance, treat yourself to a view of New Caledonia from the sky. Paragliding, ULM, planes, sky diving are just some of the joys available for those who love going aloft.
Visiting New Caledonia also means meeting the local people and learning about their traditions. Melanesian, or Kanak, culture is ancestral and essentially oral. All the beliefs and legends are handed down by the “Elders », who in this way continue to maintain the traditions and customs. There are various ways of discovering this different world, by visiting the museums and cultural centres which retrace Kanak history and display their works of art, or by meeting the tribal population who are delighted to welcome you and introduce you to their world.
When visiting a tribal village, you should follow the traditional customs and ensure you offer a small gift to the Chief (a pareo, cigarettes or a bank note), as a sign of respect.
Elsewhere in the bush, the life of country Caledonians (or the « Broussards » in French), often depicted as cowboys on horseback surveying their property, arouses admiration and respect. For most, their life is based around agriculture and livestock. The members of the “Welcome to the Farm” network (Bienvenue à la ferme) enable you to discover life in the New Caledonian bush.
The Nature and Culture Pass, an excellent way to see New Caledonia’s natural and cultural wealth, gives entry to six of Noumea’s most interesting tourist sites: the Noumea, New Caledonian and Maritime History Museums, the Parc Forestier Botannical Gardens and Zoo, the Tjibaou Cultural Centre and the Aquarium of the Lagoons.