New Caledonia is situated in the heart of the South Pacific, less than three hours’ flying time from Auckland and Sydney and nine hours’ flying time from Tokyo. New Zealand and Australian tourists do not require a visa for stays of less than three months.
With less than 245,000 inhabitants, New Caledonia offers visitors a vision of an undeniably beautiful paradise with multiple ecological and preserved treasures just waiting to be discovered.
The mainland stretches 450km in length and 50km in width with a mountain chain extending from north to south separating the two distinctly different coastlines.
The West Coast promises fabulous beaches and vast plains conducive to extensive cattle and deer farming. It is home to bushmen and stockmen, the real cowboys of the Pacific. The climate is hot, dry and the countryside often barren.
In contrast, the East Coast is more humid with luxuriant vegetation. The landscape is tropical with numerous lush green valleys and refreshing waterfalls. The mostly Kanak population is spread between villages and tribes located between the valleys and the sea front, with the highest peak, Mt Panier, reaching 1 628 metres.
The Loyalty Islands are comprised of three main islands; Lifou, Maré and Ouvéa, as well as the small island of Tiga. The mostly Kanak population lives generally in tribes and the society is structured around the ‘custom’ tradition. The Loyalty Islands boast magnificent landscapes and divine beaches.
To the far south of the Mainland and just 20 minutes flying time from Noumea, lies the jewel of the Pacific: Isle of Pines. Formerly a penal colony but today a tiny paradise with white sand beaches surrounded by columnar pines; this is one place tourists should not miss.
The capital city of Noumea is the economic centre of the country where French culture is predominant in the form of numerous restaurants, bakeries, wine shops and luxury boutiques. The Kanak culture is also represented, in particular by the Tjibaou Cultural Centre, an architectural masterpiece signed Renzo Piano, which is home to many creative works of art from around the Pacific and regular cultural exchanges and events.
New Caledonia offers a variety of accommodation options, ranging from 5 star hotels to rural or tribal lodgings, to home stay or camping sites in exceptional and out of the way places.
The biodiversity of New Caledonia is considered to be one of the richest on the planet. The island group is home to an astonishing number of endemic species and the largest lagoon in the world, of which a large portion is listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco. It is a veritable sanctuary for numerous species including humpback whales, dugongs, turtles and marine birdlife.
An abundance of native plant life, rare birds, insects unheard of until now, marine reserves ; these are the treasures that New Caledonia, listed 5th on the planet in terms of biological wealth, invites you to explore in total freedom.
New Caledonia, locally known as the Rock, is also a vast playground for tourists looking for a sporting holiday.
The lagoon offers an extensive choice of water activities including kayak, snorkeling, diving, windsurfing, kitesurfing, wakeboard or sailing on board a catamaran.
For those who prefer the land, the mountains and rivers offer outstanding backgrounds for exploration by mountain bike, on foot or on horseback.