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Visit New Caledonia to Never Return Back

Updated on February 28, 2014
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Vanuatu & New Caledonia Travel Guide

New Caledonia, a French Territory is a south Pacific island located near Australia and New Zealand. Even though, French is its official language, its culture is a mix of Melanesian, Polynesian, European, Indonesian and Vietnamese among several others. The group of islands consists of a single large island, Grande Terre and six smaller islands – the Isle of Pines, Belep and the three Loyalty Islands. What makes New Caledonia so special is that it is mostly isolated, has vast regions of wilderness comprising of long walking treks, parks and reserves, crystal clear rivers, waterfalls and campgrounds. Noumea is the capital of the islands and more than a third of its population lives here.

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Grande Terre

The mountainous island of Grande Terre has the second largest barrier reef surrounding it, while the lagoon so formed cover more than 24,000 sq. km. of area, the largest in the world. The lagoon was declared as the World Heritage Site in the year 2008. If you want to spend your time on the main island, Grand Terre, make sure to visit the Amedee Lighthouse Island. This is a tiny coral islet with a lighthouse in the centre that was shipped out by the French during the middle of the 19th century by some mistake. In fact, you can spend an entire day exploring the island and the water surrounding it.

The Tjibaou Cultural Centre gives every visitor a chance to get close to the culture of New Caledonia. Located in Noumea, it is an architectural site containing archives, artifacts and exhibitions. You would experience entering an entirely different world. Plage de la Baie des Citrons, also referred to as the Lemon Bay is a beautiful beach that offers uninterrupted view for the sunset. The bay is sheltered from the winds and offers a variety of shoes and restaurants to have a great time.

Isle of Pines

When you visit the Isle of Pines, you should be at Kanumera Bay. This area offers an amazing little beach that is picture postcard perfect. The pristine white sand is bordered by crystal clear blue water and dotted with pine trees. You can go snorkeling and there is no need to swim out too far to reach the reef.

Local Food

When it comes to cuisines, the varied culture of New Caledonia means you can enjoy a variety of foods. Make sure to drink some Kava. There are special Kava bars that can be recognized by their bright red lights outside. Bougna is their traditional Melanesian dish that consists of chicken, fish or lobster with yams, sweet potatoes, bananas and coconut milk. Revolving Restaurant “Le 360” is the perfect place to enjoy your breakfast and lunch. They offer both international and French cuisines. Chez Toto Restaurant and Le Roof in Noumea are ideal places to have your dinner.

Transportation

You can cover the entire New Caledonia island through a network of boats. Then, you can hire a scooter, car or camper van to explore the remotest places on the islands. If you are in Grande Terre, almost all the towns are connected by bus service. The New Caledonia Airport or Tontouta Airport is in Paita, which is around 50 km from Noumea. You can take the local bus service to reach the capital city.

Anand Nair is an avid writer on a wide range of topics, having worked in 3 dailies. Contact him for creating grasping and factual articles like these.

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