The New Caledonia Travel Specialists

beach in the isles of pines

New Caledonia is a perfect blend of Gallic and Pacific. You can combine trips to the seaside town of Noumea with its elegant shopping districts and fine dining restaurants with sunbathing on pristine white sands in the offshore islands. Perfect for honeymooners – who can resist the combination of French romance on a beautiful island paradise? New Caledonia hotels are a prime destination from which to enjoy snorkelling and scuba diving along the second largest barrier reef in the world. But even if the reef is not your thing, anyone will enjoy the beaches, the food, the inland adventures, and if you're in search of solitude you can sail off to some of the remoter islands. Try learning a little bit of French before you go to enjoy this fantastic destination to its fullest potential.

Explore the New Caledonia:

Experience cosmopolitan Noumea

Explore the stunning Isle of Pines

Learn at Tjibaou Cultural Centre

Visit Grand Terre's picturesque Hienghene Coast

Cruise to Amedee for snorkelling

Enjoy the mystical experience of Loyalty Islands

Scuba dive along the world's longest coral reef

Enjoy Anse Vata's watersports

New Caledonia Holiday Planner

French-speaking New Caledonia is the closest South Pacific island to Australia – from Brisbane it's just a a two hour flight which is less than it takes to fly from Brisbane to Melbourne. It's proximity also makes it the most popular large cruise ship destination in the South Pacific with five large cruise ship companies calling into Noumea on a regular schedule, with other ports at Isle Pins, Lifou and Mare, the later two in the Loyalty Islands. Sailing holidays are also popular here and a 1,500km long coral reef flanks the entire west coast of Grand Terre enclosing the world's largest lagoon.

English is widely spoken at the large hotels but in Noumea's restaurants, shops and in the smaller hotels around the country you may have difficulty communicating in English. New Caledonia is popular amongst Australian students to learn or practice their French. The country has a large French community and make up almost half of Noumea's population.

The wealthiest of all Pacific nations, local tourism is big business here and you'll find hotels full at weekends and particularly over the Christmas holidays as well as August when holiday-makers arrive from France. New Caledonia is the most expensive South Pacific nation to visit on holiday and be prepared to pay extra during high season and weekends.

New Caledonia Travel Guide

Grand Terre & Noumea

One of the largest islands in the Pacific, Grand Terre is geographically different to your typical South Pacific volcanic island – it is actually a separated chunk from the Australian continent. Long and mountainous, the west coast has the majority of the population and farms, with the east coast being rugged and much of it inaccessible. Grand Terre is rich in Nickel with large mines in the north of the island and several busy mining towns. Environmental campaigning against the mines is strong, particularly amongst the indigenous Kanak population – New Caledonia has the world's worst carbon footprint per capita. About mid-way down the island is Bourail, a large farming town that will appeal to adventurous travellers having various inland excursions from caving, horse riding, river rafting and quad bike tours.

Noumea, the affluent capital, sits in a meandering bay close to the southern tip of Grand Terre and this is where the majority of large hotels can be found and where most holiday-makers base themselves. Visit the Tjibaou Cultural Centre to discover more about the indigenous cultures of the islands, while the Zoological and Forest Park is a fine way to spend an afternoon. Foodies will sigh over the French restaurants, and you can also head to Chinatown for authentic dim sum. Offshore from Noumea is a stunning lagoon with a handful of small coral islands which are popular for day cruises and snorkelling, and also with excellent wind-surfing and kite-surfing. It's also possible to visit the Isle of Pines on a day cruise from Noumea, but it makes for a long day.

The Offshore Islands - Isle Pins and Loyalty

The most popular of the offshore islands to visit and the easiest to reach by passenger ferry or plane is the Isle of Pines with its delightful beaches and tiny coral islands in the lagoon. You can enjoy cruising around these islands, or arrange a big game fishing trip. . The Isle des Pins used to be a French penal colony, although it must be one of the world's most beautiful prisons. The pine trees atop the rocky outcrops were one of the few local sources of trees large enough to replace masts broken in storms – explore the caves to see if any sailors left treasure!

If you're seeking a more down-to-earth beach holiday with the charm of island life then head to the delightful Loyalty Islands about an hour flight to the east of Noumea. Here you'll find the most beautiful fine white sandy beaches in the country and it's a great place too for immersing into the Kanak culture, although accommodation on Ouvea, Lifou and Mare is somewhat limited.

New Caledonia Travel Info
Flights to New Caledonia are available from Tokyo, Australia, New Zealand and some other South Pacific destinations. The international airport (Tontouta) is located 50km north of Noumea, about an hour by road. Noumea has a domestic airport which is handy for flying to the Loyalty Islands, Kone (in the north of Grand Terre) and Isle Pins.