New Caledonia, Seasons in the sun

Whether you’re into lazing around in lagoons, feasting on culture and cuisine, or hiking lush landscapes, new caledonia is set to delight.

From the west coast’s outback to vast southern deserts, to the tropical mountains of the east, dazzling beaches in the Loyalty Islands and buzzing Nouméa, New Caledonia is a heady mix of inspiring culture and geography. From intrepid travellers, to lovers of a restorative sojourn, New Caledonia (External link) is a cherished treasure.

CULTURAL CONNECTION

East of Australia is New Caledonia, a cultural melting pot of French, Kanaks, Caledonians and more, where cultural and culinary experiences (External link) are readily available. Travellers can immerse themselves in French music at the annual Francofolies music festival (September), or connect to the Kanak people with a visit to the Tjibaou Cultural Centre (External link) in the capital Noumea. Prefer a glimpse into cowboy life? It’s worth heading to the west. Fancy French cuisine one day, freshly caught fish the next, and finally perhaps a traditional bougna? It’s all possible in the diverse regions of New Caledonia – within hours of some of Australia’s major cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. New Caledonia boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Listed lagoon spanning a staggering 15,700 square metres that is a one-of-a-kind destination for snorkelling and deep water adventure (External link) . It’s also the ideal place for adrenaline junkies (skydiving, anyone?).

Noumea - Food at MV Lounge (photo © Sicil Sicilia-NCTPS)
Noumea - Food at MV Lounge (photo © Sicil Sicilia-NCTPS)

GO BIG, OR GO BUDGET

Turtles on Mare Island (photo © Pauline Masse - NCTPS)
Turtles on Mare Island (photo © Pauline Masse - NCTPS)

Whether travelling on a beer or champagne budget, New Caledonia caters for all tastes. Keep it simple with a serviced apartment or relax in fivestar luxury at Le Méridien Nouméa Resort & Spa, where there’s absolute beachfront access to Anse Vata Bay (plus gourmet meals and spa treatments). In New Caledonia, stumbling upon a pristine stretch of white sand is so easy - particularly in the picture-postcard perfect Isle of Pines and Loyalty Islands… turn up, sit back, and embrace the feeling of solitude. A FAMILY AFFAIR Accommodation choices for families are in abundance, for toddlers through to tweens. There’s Chateau Royal Beach Resort & Spa, offering two-bedroom suites for all-ages – even crystal-blue waters in which the littlies can safely loll about. Afterwards, relish in a rose-shaped ice cream at Nouméa’s Amorino.

Tjibaou Cultural Centre (photo © Elena Bianco- Lumix GH5-NCTPS)
Tjibaou Cultural Centre (photo © Elena Bianco- Lumix GH5-NCTPS)

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

There’s never a dull moment on this oneof- a-kind archipelago, which promises festivals, culinary delights, sporting events and more.

AUGUST New Caledonia International Marathon
Sample New Caledonian produce, meet the country’s cattle farmers and watch a rollicking rodeo. Mégarando
A weekend-long trail riding event in the superb Deva Domain offering varied trails for kids, adults, keen amateurs and competitive riders alike.

SEPTEMBER
South Pacific Golf Championship : One of 13 tournaments of the PGA Tour, it is played on the Tina Golf Course, Nouméa, and Golf Deva, Bourail.
Francofolies :This two-day festival celebrates local and international artists, to be enjoyed under the New Caledonian sun.
Blackwoodstock Rock & Arts Festival:Three days of open air concerts at the picturesque Fort Téremba on the west coast? Yes please. Camp on-site or stay in nearby La Foa and Bourail.

MV lounge (photo © Mimo-NCTPS)
MV lounge (photo © Mimo-NCTPS)

Further Information:
New Caledonia Tourism
www.newcaledonia.travel/au/ (External link)

New Caledonia