New Caledonia combines French history, culture and cuisine with a dazzling setting in the South Pacific. Bask on palm-fringed beaches, swim in jewel-toned bays and discover the colourful traditions of the indigenous Kanak people.
Things to do in New Caledonia
With a footprint of 24,000 square kilometres, the New Caledonia Lagoon is one of the largest in the world. It’s a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site and teems with marine life. Snorkelling tours are the best way to experience the incredible biodiversity. Swim with endangered dugongs, watch turtles cruise by and admire corals in every colour of the rainbow.
An enormous barrier reef loops around Grand Terre, the main island. It’s a scuba mecca and offers easy access to some of the best dive sites in the South Pacific. Sign up for a beginner’s scuba course or explore caves, canyons and coral-strewn shipwrecks if you’re an experienced diver.
Nouméa is a slice of Paris in the heart of the South Pacific. The cosmopolitan city is a unique blend of European and Melanesian cultures. Stroll along boulevards lined with French-inspired cafes, patisseries and bistros. Update your wardrobe at chic boutiques and walk down to Place des Cocotiers, a picturesque square framed by palm trees. Admire the historic bandstand, enjoy live music and play a game on the giant chessboard.
Golden sand and swaying palms make Baie des Citrons one of the best urban beaches in Nouméa. Relax in the sunshine, swim in the sparkling bay and grab a bite to eat from the nearby café strip, where you’ll find everything from hip brunch cafes to cocktail bars.
Satisfy your appetite for adventure with activities like kayaking, rock climbing and canyoning. Trails wind through mountainous Le Parc des Grandes Fougères and take you deep into the tropical rainforest. Hike up Mt Kathépaik or take to the skies on a helicopter tour to see the famous La Coeur de Voh, a heart-shaped mangrove swamp.
Getting around New Caledonia
Nouméa is pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot, while rental cars offer the freedom to explore Grand Terre at your own pace. Public buses are a good way to get around without a car. Water taxis connect Grand Terre with other islands in New Caledonia.