Although New Caledonia shares a Latin name with the fellow island nation of Scotland, you won’t find any cold days or tartan on these sandy shores. Instead, expect deep blue lagoons, quiet islets and fresh seafood. This French territory is home to a diverse mixture of cultures, from the festivals of the indigenous Kanak to French-inspired cathedrals. New Caledonia holidays offer the perfect opportunity to watch your worries float away on the Coral Sea.
As a resort island, New Caledonia’s hotels are especially easy to find along the coastline. Stay in small seaside towns or book accommodation in Noumea Harbour for beautiful views in the heart of the capital city.
If we made your itinerary, it would read, “1. Look at pretty buildings. 2. Be lazy on the beach.” Located on the southern end of the main island, Grande Terre, Noumea offers its fair share of gorgeous architecture and lush landscapes. Leave the mainland behind for swimming, snorkelling and snacking at the Amedee Lighthouse—located on an island just 24 kms south of Noumea by boat. Keep the beach bum vibes alive on Isle of Pines at secluded Kuto Beach. Back on Grande Terre, visit Le Musee Maritime de Nouvelle-Caledonie for a look at seafaring history with a French twist. If that isn’t your soupe du jour, check out the Tjibaou Cultural Center to browse indigenous Kanak art and participate in local events. Speaking of soup, you’re probably wondering what to eat on this tropical holiday. Well, in New Caledonia you can throw out your parents’ reminders to eat your fruits and veggies, because the majority of produce is imported and therefore scarce and expensive. Fill up on the catch of the day—which includes lobster—and throw out your low-carb diet to chow down on yams and taro root. When you’re ready to call it a night, relax in accommodation in New Caledonia’s secluded bays on lush Lifou Island.
Start the holiday by staring out the window at Vincer Bay as you approach La Tontouta International Airport (NOU), with easy access to New Caledonia accommodation and about 44 km west of downtown Noumea. You can see much of Grande Terre from the seat of a bus, but you’ll have to really embrace easy-going “island time,” because stops are infrequent. Car hire is the best option and traffic is mild. Plus, there’s nothing like rolling the windows down as you cruise along the coastal Route Territoriale 1.
You can book flights to New Caledonia at any time of year, but the months between May and September will be slightly drier. If you’re a hot weather lover, aim to travel in February, when temperatures reach the mid-20s.
Ready to listen to your holiday self? Wotif has the inside scoop on travel deals and steals so you can mix and match airfare and New Caledonia accommodation to create the perfect getaway. You know you want to.