New Caledonia has a wealth of landscapes which are rich in beauty and diversity, spread out over several islands. The largest island is Grand Terre, where the capital Noumea is located.
Nouméa – the capital
Founded in 1860, the sprawling city of Noumea blends together heritage, entertainment and leisure activities set around several protected bays.
From the bustling atmosphere of the Port Moselle markets to sophisticated French boutiques, classic colonial architecture to the unique Kanak culture, Noumea abounds with things to do and beautiful places to visit – there’s something for all ages and all tastes.
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!
The Islands – Loyalty Islands
For a real adventure, head to the sparsely populated Loyalty Islands, located 100kms east of the mainland. This is a truly authentic province, where the population is almost entirely Kanak and the authority of chiefdoms is still highly respected, the rituals observed and traditions conserved.
Encounter secluded beaches, hidden caves, amazing views, abundant bushland and local Kanak inhabitants that will make you feel welcome the second you arrive.
The three main raised coral islands are Mare, Lifou and Ouvea.
The Islands – Isle of Pines
A twenty-minute flight south of Noumea, the Isle of Pines concentrates pristine nature with deserted beaches, beautiful natural pools and is listed as a World Heritage Listed Site by UNESCO.
The West Coast
The West Coast of the mainland is a region of wide open spaces, mountains and savannah, sprinkled with paperbark. It’s also rugged cattle country where the beef produced is of the finest quality.
This is an adventure playground with fishing, diving, mountain biking, rock climbing, horse trekking and even hunting for deer.
The world famous Heart of Voh is a natural marvel, where the expanse of mangroves forms a naturally occurring symbol of love.
The East Coast
The East Coast is separated from the west by the central mountain range, forming a natural boundary. It’s markedly different from the western coast with it’s lush vegetation, turquoise lagoons, wide rivers, spectacular waterfalls and coconut groves. The largely Melanesian population means it has also retained an authentic flavour.
The seabed in this region is one of the richest and stunning, alive with pygmy seahorses, manta-rays, stunning orang-u-tan spiders and a rainbow of coral.
The Great South
The Great South is renowned for nature, but it’s the red soil that dominates. Green tourism and sporting activities are key to this region, with hikers particularly keen to trek the hundreds of trails.
Blue River Provincial Park, a short forty-five minute drive south of Noumea, is the largest park in New Caledonia, and a definite highlight. Its red soil, 9,000 hectares of untouched wilderness, endemic plant life, rivers, swimming sites, waterfalls and fresh water lakes make this spot a truly special location to visit. There is also the rare opportunity to see the national bird, the Cagou, in the wild.
For the eco-minded, a visit to the recently designated RAMSAR site, Les Lacs du Grand Sud néo-calédonien, the country’s largest freshwater reserve, is a must. The area is rich in wetlands, rivers, lakes and flora and fauna and is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts providing the perfect spot for camping, hiking and kayaking.