TRAVEL TO NEW CALEDONIA
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WELCOME TO NEW CALEDONIA
New Caledonia, or Nouvelle-Calédonie has been a French territory since 1853 and has a unique mix of French and Melanesian culture. The archipelago is about 900 miles east of Australia and includes the island of New Caledonia (the Grande Terre or Mainland), Loyalty Islands, the Bélep Islands; and the Île des Pins. These form the main area of New Caledonia with smaller uninhabited islands, attols and reefs. Ninety percent of the population live on the main island where the capital of Nouméa is located. The New Caledonian population is multi-cultural made up of around 44% Melanesians (Kanaks), 34% Europeans and a mix of Wallisian & Futunian, Tahitian, Indonesian and others.
The New Caledonia islands offer visitors spectacular natural scenery, stunning islands, cultural experiences and six UNESCO World Heritage sites, all reefs or atolls. This beautiful destination is perfect for those looking for a holiday that provides opportunities for a combination of lazing on spectacular beaches, playing golf, diving, hiking, water activities, shopping and dining on delicious food. Enjoy dining out in New Caledonia where you can feast on a mix of French cuisine and tropical ingredients.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN NEW CALEDONIA
There is a rich and colorful history that has made New Caledonia the multi-cultural place it is today. Melanesians arrived about 1500 AD, followed by Polynesians in 1100 AD, Europeans in 1774 which saw trade established whaling, missionaries and many deaths from European diseases. In 1853, New Caledonia became a French penal colony for 40 years.
Traditional dance and music is a big part of the Melanesian culture (the Kanak) used to celebrate and recognize events such as birth, marriage, battle and natural phenomenon. Costumes, rites and rituals are an important part of community life.
French New Caledonians (also called Caldoches) are descendents from French convicts and early nickel miners. Rodeos and country fares are popular with this cultural group.
The food in New Caledonia uses a mix of local produce mixed with traditional French dishes. You’ll find many dishes containing traditional fruit and vegetable such as banana, coconut, taro, sweet potato and yam, and seafood.
Nouméa is the capital of New Caledonia, on the main island, Grand Terre. It’s famous for it’s blend of French and native Kanak cultures, stunning beaches and waterways. Great places to visit for a cultural experience include the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center for Kanak heritage, and the Musée de la Nouvelle-Calédonie which showcases cultural exhibits from around the Pacific region. For visitors looking for a mix of everything you’ll find culture, a shopping paradise, bars, clubs, casinos, outdoor sports from tennis, golf and water sports, and the island serves as the gateway to explore the rest of the region.
Amedee Island is a very special destination, so special that the island and the surrounding lagoon are on the UNESCO World Heritage list. On the island and surrounding waters you’ll find a wide variety of flora and fauna, and an abundance of marine life, protected and preserved in the marine reserve. Fishing or disturbing the sea life is prohibited to protect the marine plants and animals. Enjoy the pure white beaches and clear beautiful water.
Mont-Dore is the second largest town in New Caledonia. It is made up of two large coastal plains with Mont Dore in the middle, and a few islands. The main island is the only one with permanent residents. The island is famous for the humpbacked whale activity that happens annually. During the southern, hundreds of whales come to the waters in the region to reproduce in particular Bay of Prony, a small inland sea. The area is also popular with hikers who explore Mont Dore.
Isle of Pines
The Isle of Pines is one of New Caledonia’s most popular tourist destinations. Famous for it’s stunning bays including Kanumera Bay, Oro Bay and Upi Bay its said to be the closest you can get to paradise, helping the Isle of Pines get the name “the jewel of the Pacific”. You can access the island by plane or boat and once there you’ll find an abundance of natural beauty, breathtaking landscapes and plenty of activities for everyone. If you ever get sick of the beaches with pure white sand and clear turquoise waters, you’ll find water activities including snorkeling, diving, swimming, sailing, hiking and walks in the forest. There is a slight peak in the center of the island which offers excellent views, N’ga Peak at 262m.