New Caledonia

Snorkel and swim in one of the world’s largest lagoons, dive the reefs around idyllic islets and discover the unmistakable French flair of the capital Nouméa on Grande Terre Island.

If you are looking for a tropical getaway and want to discover a new culture at the same time, ‘New Cal’ is right there, just two hours from Brisbane. This archipelago has relaxation written all over it. All the ingredients are in place: Palm trees line the beaches, fruit stalls line the roads, yachts line the marinas. French gastronomy and ancient Melanesian customs combine to make this an unforgettable holiday.

Frequently Asked Questions about New Caledonia

Is New Caledonia a family-friendly destination?

Oui! New Caledonia is generally considered to be a safe destination and also has up-to-date medical facilities. Not only will you introduce your kids to a new, vibrant culture, you will also likely create unforgettable memories together in New Caledonia. New Caledonia has lots of children's playgrounds, safe swimming beaches, splash pools and fun cultural attractions, especially in the capital. The Nouméa aquarium and zoo are real winners, and so are the seasonal festivals and fairs. Despite the language barrier, your little ones will be building sandcastles or dancing with the local kids in no time. Are your children picky eaters? Not to worry. Many resorts and restaurants offer kids' meals. Not exactly haute cuisine but hey, it's a holiday. Supermarkets have lots of snacks and ingredients they will recognise from home. Book self-contained accommodation so you can at least make the breakfast and lunch they love, while you save heaps of money as well.

What is the best way to see New Caledonia?

There are four regions to explore outside of the capital Nouméa: West Coast, East Coast, Great South of Grande Terre and, last but not least, the dream-like, unspoilt little islands of New Caledonia. Renting a car is the most comfortable way to see the main island, but Grande Terre also has good bus services. The long-distance coach network named 'RAI' has 25 routes for affordable prices. Most people come here for a relaxing honeymoon or holiday and see little reason to leave their comfortable resort on the island of their choice. However, if you are the more adventurous type or just want to put your cultural hat on for a while, then by far the best way to see more of New Caledonia is island hopping. Take a water taxi, a boat trip or use Air Calédonie International to visit some of the other islands. The nearby Isle of Pines and the province of the Loyalty Islands are just two examples of places you shouldn't miss.

Can I get by in New Caledonia if I don't speak French?

There are many local dialects on each island, but French is taught in schools and is the language that unites the New Caledonians. While those working in tourism and younger people will happily speak English with you, there is no denying that your trip will be a lot easier, and more informative, if you understand and speak at least some basic French and know when to say 'merci' or 's'il vous plaît'. Translation apps can help you out, but you won't always have an internet connection on the smaller islands, so memorise or write down a few handy and polite phrases at least. If you are staying in an 'auberge', a small family-run hotel, you'll want to learn some French to interact with your hosts. Don't worry, nobody expects you to learn the tribal languages, but as they speak French with other island tribes and greet their visitors the French way (with a kiss or handshake), it's nice if you can do the same.