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Travel Guide To New Caledonia

Posted on | October 18, 2010 | Comments Off on Travel Guide To New Caledonia

New Caledonia is a French colony in the southern Melanesia, between Vanuatu and Australia’s Queensland. 1600 km of barrier reef with 350 species of coral and over 1000 species of fish make New Caledonia a popular destination for divers, and there are also opportunities for kayaking, yachting and dolphin and whale watching.

New Caledonia Fast Facts

New Caledonia is made up of the Grande Terre or Mainland, where most of its population lives; the Isle of Pines, the Loyalty Islands Maré, Lifou, Tiga and Ouvéa, the Belep Archipelago, and several other islands and islets. The 215 000 inhabitants of New Caledonia are of Melanesian, European and Polynesian origin. The capital Noumea is on Mainland.

The Grande Terre or Mainland is 400 km long and has a tropical, lush east coast with a more humid climate, and a drier west coast with nice beaches, mangrove swamps and savannah grassland. The mountain range Chaîne Centrale in the middle of the island has peaks of over 1600 metres.

Best Times To Visit New Caledonia

New Caledonia’s climate is temperate. June to September is a cooler time, and temperature can drop to 15 Celsius at night. Mid-November to April is the warmer, rainy season. There can be cyclones during the hotter months, especially January to March, and heavy rains can cause flooding. September to December is generally the best time to travel to New Caledonia, although the cooler months between June and September are a good time for hiking.

Things To Do In New Caledonia

The 1600 km of barrier reef that surrounds New Caledonia offers good snorkelling and diving, and the Grande Terre has the world’s largest coral lagoon to explore. There are canyons and caves, over a thousand species of fish, 350 species of corals, turtles and even sharks. There are also opportunities for dolphin and whale spotting, windsurfing and kayaking, and great hikes to the mountains. The Hienghene area on the east coast of Mainland, with its mountains and waterfalls, is a beautiful area to explore. Most visitors also spend some time in the capital Noumea and visit its restaurants, museums and old colonial houses. Flights and catamarans connect Mainland to other islands.

How To Get To New Caledonia

There are flights to Noumea from Tokyo and Osaka in Japan, from Sydney and Brisbane in Australia, and from Auckland in New Zealand. European travellers can fly from Paris via Tokyo or Osaka, and from North America there are flight connections via Fiji and via Australia.


New Caledonia Tourism