The Hidden Gem of the Pacific – New Caledonia Travel Guide
New Caledonia, also called Kanaky by its Melanesian inhabitants, is a tropical paradise with a cosmopolitan flair. As an overseas territory of France, this extraordinary destination features a unique mixture of French influences and diverse indigenous culture. The contrasting landscape of this mesmerising archipelago boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, towering mountains and stunning lagoons. Your exploration of this Pacific gem and its numerous beauties will leave you with an out-of-this-world-experience and long-lasting memories.
A cosmopolitan capital
The vibrant capital of Nouméa is often described as Paris of the Pacific Ocean. Located in the south of Grand Terre, the main island of New Caledonia, this waterfront metropolis features a vibrant atmosphere and a tropical vibe. Nouméa is truly authentic because it combines Parisian culture with its Melanesian heritage. Offering a range of attractions to its visitors, the capital city of New Caledonia is the country’s hotspot.
Culture enthusiasts should visit the City Museum, the Museum of New Caledonia and the Tjibaou Cultural Centre, where they can learn more about the country’s history, indigenous heritage and Pacific artefacts. Nouméa doesn’t lack chic restaurants that you can find at Place des Cocotiers, the city’s main square, and the area of Anse Vata. This metropolis in a tropical setting will truly delight you with its wonders and stunning attractions, so make sure to soak in its beauty.
About the author
Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and surf the Internet. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. She spends most of her free time at home walking her Labrador Retriever named Max. She is an avid lover of photography who loves to talk about her experiences. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.
Astonishing natural wonders
With its enticing scenic landscape and diverse flora and fauna, New Caledonia is a natural paradise where you can reconnect with nature and admire its wonders. One of the country’s most popular attractions is the Heritage-listed New Caledonia Barrier Reef, the second largest in the world. Stretching for 930 miles, this coral reef surrounds the largest lagoon in the world. Featuring numerous stunning diving locations and kayaking opportunities, this lagoon will reveal to you the submarine world of New Caledonia.
The Heart of Voh, located north of Koné, is an intriguing natural attraction that exudes mystery and authenticity. La Cœur de Voh is a mangrove swamp that features a perfect heart shape, leaving everyone speechless. Although you can get the best view of the mesmerising Heart from the air, you can also trek up to Mt Kathépaïk and admire the scenery from an altitude of 400 metres. Not only will you be able to see the Heart of Voh, but you’ll also have an opportunity to discover the region.
While New Caledonia features numerous beauties, there’s one enticing destination that attracts tourists from all over the world, yet remains secluded and private. Featuring stunning turquoise lagoons, out-of-this-world beaches and lush rainforests, the impressive and breathtaking Isle of Pines is one of the most beautiful locations in New Caledonia. Located just a short ferry ride away from Nouméa, this island exudes tranquillity and serenity. The shores are lined with majestic pines, while lagoons hide astonishing submarine species. Here, you can soak in the culture of the native Melanesian Kanaks, explore the underwater world and have a taste of the traditional cuisine.
The breathtaking Isle of Pines
The flavours of New Caledonia
Considering that New Caledonia combines both French and local influences, its cuisine features a range of different specialties that combine the best of both worlds. The cuisine of New Caledonia combines different ingredients, such as tropical fruits, vegetables, seafood and coconut milk, into superb meals sometimes prepared using French methods. One of the most popular traditional dishes is bougna, a Melanesian specialty of meat and yams wrapped in banana leaves and cooked under rocks. However, here you can try other cuisines and their specialties, including Tahitian tamara’a and Indonesian bami.
The locals often celebrate their food traditions and festivals during which world travellers can soak in the authentic atmosphere and have a taste of local specialties. The Festival of Yam is the most famous food celebration held in March when tourists can try the superb dish of Civet de Roussette.
New Caledonia is a true tropical paradise that features stunning natural beauties, a unique mixture of different influences and numerous engaging attractions. Whether you want to escape the rest of the world, get to know its culture or discover its diverse underwater world, New Caledonia is a destination where you can have it all.