Tagged as the Paris of the Pacific, New Caledonia, or Kanaky as the Melanasian inhabitants would call it, is best described as a gorgeous archipelago with breathtaking islands, beautiful palm-lined beaches that border an enormous lagoon, exciting diving destination that houses beautiful coral reefs and different underwater life, and rich culture. Such are among the reasons why New Caledonia has been a top destination in the Pacific for many travelers around the world, from families, friends, and couples spending their honeymoon to divers, wildlife photographers, and adventure-seekers.
New Caledonia is nestled south of the Equator, west of Fiji and Vanuatu, north of New Zealand, and east of Australia. It is a very unique continental island group in the Southwest Pacific and is an archipelago that is made up of the islands of Grande Terre which is the mainland, the Isle of Pines, the Loyalty Group, and other smaller islands.
Grande Terre, a truly glamorous island that houses some of New Caledonia’s top destinations, is also called La Roche or The Rock and is home to enormous craggy mountains and verdant coastlines that are divided by river waters flowing straight to the lagoon. The Isle of Pines, on the other hand, is known as the Jewel of the Pacific and boasts of a beautiful scenery and romantic setting of white sandy beaches and towering palm trees and pine trees, making it a popular destination for couples in honeymoon. Meanwhile, the Loyalty Group is home to many limestone caves.
Diverse flora and fauna are aplenty in New Caledonia. There are over 3,000 species of plants, 75% of which are endemic; and 88 species of bird, 18 of which are endemic. It only has three native mammals which are the flying foxes, rats, and bats. Being an archipelago, New Caledonia is also endowed with a diverse underwater species of corals, fish, and invertebrates.
There are also a lot of museums and cathedrals in New Caledonia that are sure to remind everyone how rich the culture of this country is. One great example is the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center, a world class site designed by the world-renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano.
Activities vary a lot in New Caledonia. The Isle of Pines, for example, is a great place to do sea kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, and even cruising. Tourists can also do snorkeling in the waters of Grande Terre and Loyalty Groups. For recreational terrestrial activity, horseback riding is popular, as well as hiking and trekking in the mountains of Hienghene and Voh.
Weather won’t be a problem here as the archipelago experiences a warm subtropical climate, tempered by the trade winds, throughout the year. The coolest season lasts from April to August and the hottest season starts from September to March. Meanwhile, heavy rainfall is often experienced during the months of January to March.
New Caledonia can be reached by air or water: by air through the national airline Aircalin and by water through the international port in the capital city of Noumea.
From diving into the deep pristine waters to trekking in remote and unspoiled forests and from visiting museum and old colonial houses that speak of rich culture to partying the night away at bars and nightclubs, New Caledonia is truly the perfect getaway for those who are looking to just have a grand time away from their stressful life in the city.