Captain James Cook first sighted New Caledonia in 1774, however it took just under another century and a considerable amount of bloodshed before European powers finally colonised the islands. In 1854 the French established a penal colony and over the coming decades sent around 22,000 convicts to the country. Today, New Caledonia remains a dependent territory of France with a referendum slated for the coming years to decide whether to remain under the power of France or become an independent state.
New Caledonia enjoys a temperate climate year round. In January temperatures reach around 30 degrees while in winter the mercury hovers around a balmy 24 degrees. The hotter months also bring torrential rain with the occasional tropical cyclone. Most people enjoy visiting in the colder seasons, perhaps between September and December.
There are 36 different islands which are collectively known as New Caledonia. The largest and primary island is Grande Terre with the capital, Noumea situated in the south. The Loyalty Islands, including Lifou, Fayaoue and Tadine located to the east of Grande Terre, are other important islands. However, the true beauty of the region is generally appreciated on the uninhabited islets with zero infrastructure.
It is only possible to travel to New Caledonia by air. Airlines that fly from Australia include:
Flights from Australia to New Caledonia take around three hours and may include a stopover in Brisbane, if departing from another state capital. New Caledonia Airport is located 52km northwest of the capital, Noumea.
Noumea is a popular destination for cruises.
All Inclusive Resorts
New Caledonia’s luxury resorts can be found in amongst palm fronds and backing onto sheltered lagoons. Offering a range of holiday styles from relaxation, romance and adventure, these resorts boast elegant interiors, modern amenities, breakfasts and a high level of service. View Resort options
Honeymooners will be spoilt for choice for romantic accommodation options in New Caledonia. All inclusive resorts offer couples intimate privacy, luxurious suites and all the trimmings to ensure an unforgettably romantic experience. View Honeymoon options
To find out more about the range of holiday accommodation available with Travel Associates call 1800 017 849 or enquire online.
Sights to See
New Caledonia is a quintessential south pacific paradise. Most holiday-makers divide their time between relaxing on the unspoilt, white-sandy beaches and experiencing the exhilaration of the numerous land and water-based activities on offer. Grande Terre boasts the world’s largest coral lagoon that makes a great starting point for snorkelers. Îlot Canard is another good snorkelling option.
South of central Noumea, Baie des Citrons and the Anse Vata are great beaches. Riviere Bleue, northeast of Noumea is a national park that offers ample hiking opportunities. For the ultimate in luxury, consider chartering a yacht and sitting back and enjoying this marvellous part of the world.
Don’t Leave Without…
Although New Caledonia does sell sun protection and insect repellent, it can be quite expensive. Pack an ample amount with you and don’t forget to re-apply your sun protection every few hours.
Holiday makers who are keen to explore the South Pacific will most likely take part in day trips to view other islands, reefs, rainforests or volcanoes. For these trips it’s recommended you bring a carry bag, comfortable walking shoes, a weather proof jacket and a sense for adventure.
Even though New Caledonia is a warm tropical paradise, temperatures can unexpectedly drop at night especially during the winter months. Take some warm clothing just in case.
Dubbed Kanak, the local indigenous population of New Caledonia consider the sea sacred because it provides them with food. Therefore they have been heavily involved in conserving and preserving the waters around the islands. They are also known for their artistry with artisans carving highly decorated totem poles and creating ornate pottery.
Dance is important to their culture with traditional presentations performed on special occasions.
Things to be careful of…
Some sea urchins are poisonous. So avoid contact when snorkelling. Also the local seasnake, Tricot Raye has a lethal venom, but generally will not attack unless provoked. Sharks are relatively common so exercise common sense.
Mosquitoes carry the Dengue Fever virus. So use insect repellent especially around dusk.