First Timer’s Guide to New Caledonia

Muli, Loyaute, New Caledonia
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In a not so distant corner of the world hides New Caledonia, a tropical paradise in the Pacific Ocean. Featuring diverse wildlife, spectacular underwater world, a unique mixture of different cultural influences and superb cuisine, New Caledonia has something for everyone. So, if you’re looking for a perfect destination for an unforgettable vacation, look no more because New Caledonia has it all.

Paragliders in Nouméa, New Caledonia
Paragliders in Nouméa, New Caledonia by Thomas CUELHO

Cosmopolitan attractions in Nouméa

Nouméa is the capital and the largest city of New Caledonia that has both the French cosmopolitan vibe and a tropical character. Nestled on the ocean, this city features numerous wide bays, sandy beaches and a lovely lagoon.

Here, you can bask in the sun on an enchanting beach, mingle with the locals at the local markets at Port Moselle Marina or wine and dine in one of its chic restaurants.

Nouméa, New Caledonia
Nouméa, New Caledonia by Thomas CUELHO

If you’re lucky enough to be in Nouméa during one of its festivals, including Carnival of Nouméa or Festival of the “Sarexwada Yam”, an annual celebration of the yam harvest, you’ll have an opportunity to soak in the lively atmosphere and capture the true spirit of New Caledonia.

In Nouméa, you can also learn more about the history of New Caledonia and the city itself. Avid culture enthusiasts will be delighted by the Museum of New Caledonia and its collection of Pacific artefacts. To see the city’s vibrant streets and enchanting beauties, explore it by Le Petit Train and see the most popular attractions.

Nouméa center and the cathedral, New Caledonia
Nouméa center and the cathedral, New Caledonia by Thomas CUELHO

Superb cuisine

New Caledonia’s cuisine combines the sophisticated flavours of France and the authentic local tastes, while also hosting a range of international influences. Even the most avid of foodies will satisfy their cravings with a hearty New Caledonian meal.

Some of the most popular specialties are bougna, a traditional Melanesian dish of chicken or fish wrapped in banana leaves and cooked on hot stones, mangrove oysters, Pacific spiny lobsters, coconut crabs and a range of French dishes. If you want to go out for a drink and relax, you should try Kava: a Pacific non-alcoholic drink that has similar “intoxicating” effects, just without a hangover the following day.

Nature, New Caledonia
Nature, New Caledonia by Thomas CUELHO

Natural adventures

New Caledonia is a natural haven where you can reconnect with nature and find your inner peace. Whether you want to relax on a beach, discover the underwater world or explore the native flora and fauna, you’ll be mesmerised by the natural wonders of New Caledonia.

The New Caledonia Barrier Reef is the second largest in the world after the Great Barrier Reef and it stretches around Grande Terre, the largest island of the country. The Reef surrounds the world’s largest lagoon of 9,300 square miles where you can take a dip and discover extraordinary marine species.

Parc Provincial de la Rivière Bleue is a reserve where you’ll have an opportunity to see the cagou, the native bird species of New Caledonia. Protected Blue River Park features a diverse landscape of dense rainforest, scrub vegetation and kauri trees. Here, you can get to know New Caledonia’s flora and fauna and go for one of the Park’s inspiring walks.

Parc de la Rivière Bleue, New Caledonia
Parc de la Rivière Bleue, New Caledonia by Thomas CUELHO

A 20-minute flight away from Nouméa lies an island like no other. The stunning and heavenly Isle of Pines is one of the most popular attractions in New Caledonia and one of the most beautiful islands in the Pacific Ocean.

With its powdery sandy beaches, enchanting turquoise lagoons, majestic towering pines and lush rainforest, this heaven on Earth is simply mesmerising. While here, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Oro Bay, which is also known as the “natural swimming pool”, rich with corals and fish. On the Isle of Pines, you can have a taste of escargot, a local snail specialty that will make for an exceptional gastronomic experience.

The dreamy land of New Caledonia is rich in natural wonders, stunning attractions and superb cuisine and it will make anyone consider buying a one-way ticket.

Muli, Loyaute, New Caledonia
Muli, Loyaute, New Caledonia by Thomas Ballandras

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Marie Nieves

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 to surf the Internet. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. 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.

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