This semisecret gem of the South Pacific, a four-hour flight from Melbourne, is attracting visitors like never before. Thank infrastructural upgrades like a refurbished international airport, improved roads and bridges, and the arrival of high-profile properties like the new Hilton Noumea La Promenade Residences and the Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Resort & Spa, opening soon.
An island itinerary reads like a fantasy novel: snorkeling and diving in one of the world’s largest lagoons, an aquamarine stunner populated by thousands of coral and marine species and home to the world’s second largest reef (after the Great Barrier); horseback riding through verdant mountains and indigenous Kanak villages; kayaking by moonlight among the submerged forest of the Blue River Provincial Park.
The cosmopolitan capital, Nouméa, has its own allures, like Le Roof, where you might spot dolphins diving in the distance while savoring the fresh oysters, and the Tjibaou Cultural Center, a Renzo Piano-designed museum housing one of the world’s largest collections of Pacific art… The New York Times*
*The New York Times recently listed New Caledonia in their top 52 destinations to visit in 2014. Find out more.
Here are the top reasons for you to visit now!
1- Closer Than You Think
New Caledonia is Australia's closest Pacific neighbour, making it an ideal destination for Australians looking for a holiday with a difference, without the distance. Flying direct with Aircalin you can be in Noumea, in under four hours from Melbourne; the short flying times make this Pacific island the perfect long weekend getaway!
2- Unique Culture
Blessed with stunning natural wonders including the largest lagoon in the world; a UNESCO World Heritage Listed site, the second largest reef in the world and a unique blend of French and Melanesian cultures, New Caledonia is like nowhere else.
3- Relax On Picture-Perfect Beaches
With a warm island welcome, beautiful beaches and reefs, New Caledonia is the true Pacific experience. Explore the abundant marine life, snorkel in crystal clear waters or take a short boat ride to a number of the smaller islands off Noumea. For those wanting to really get away from it all, enjoy some time at the breathtakingly beautiful Isle of Pines or Loyalty Islands.
4- French Immersion
New Caledonia has extensive dining options where you can enjoy and savour delectable French cooking, beautiful wines and champagnes and many patisseries selling mouth-watering macarons, éclairs and chocolates. Once you've had your fill of fine French foods, enjoy browsing the many boutiques in Noumea's town centre. With brands such as Hermés, Chanel and L'Occitane you will feel as though you are shopping in Paris
5- Beachside Activities
New Caledonia's pristine beaches will have you relaxing the moment your holiday begins. Discover Noumea's popular beach spots, such as Anse Vata and Baie de Citrons (Lemon Bay). Grab your snorkel and explore the crystal clear waters, enjoy leisurely strolls along the beach, sunbathe, or simply relax as you sip on cocktails and watch the sun set over the ocean. For those that love a more active holiday there are a number of watersport activities in and around Noumea.
6- Diverse Landscapes
Immerse yourself in New Caledonia's stunning natural beauty with a trip to the unforgettable Isle of Pines. Explore the largest lagoon in the world and the second largest barrier reef, discover the colourful underwater world by diving and snorkelling around the rich coral gardens. Or take a hike through the Blue River Provincial Park, a short drive south of Noumea, and explore over 9,000 hectares of untouched wilderness, cooling down in a freshwater lake after your trek.
7- Urban Experiences
Wandering around the markets, you can also experience European culture as you shop alfresco style and then take some time to enjoy a coffee and croissant at a local café. As the evening settles in, venture to Anse Vata or Baie des Citrons and sit back with an aperitif as live music plays in the background and you enjoy a cocktail…or two!
Flights: Webjet Servicing Fee: Domestic $21.95, NZ/Pacific $24.95, International $32.95. Booking Price Guarantee: Domestic $12.95, NZ/Pacific $14.95, International $21.95