Top 10 things to do in New Caledonia

There’s more to do in New Caledonia than just lounging poolside drinking cocktails – not that there’s anything wrong with that. But if you’re like me and you prefer a bit more adventure when you travel, then here’s where to go…


1 ~ The Parc Provincial de la riviere bleue and Lac de Yaté

It’s an otherworldly setting where, as the name suggests, a blue river cuts through the landscape. There are unlimited hikes to choose from or you can hire a bike or kayak.

Cost: Entry per adult is 400F ($5.20AUD, 3,30€, £2.95, $4.00USD) Concessions are available with a valid card.

Read more about the Parc provincial de la riviere bleue

Parc provincial de la riviere bleue, Yaté, New Caledonia
Parc provincial de la riviere bleue, Yaté, South Province, New Caledonia

2 ~ Stay at Escapade Îlot Maître

This is the place to stay if you want to indulge and spend some time in a quintessential over-water bungalow. Sea turtles appear at high tide making for excellent snorkelling.

Cost: Approximately 39500F per night ($518AUD, 331€, £290, $390USD)

Read more about staying at Escapade Îlot Maître

Escapade Îlot Maître. Îlot Maître, New Caledonia
Escapade Îlot Maître. Îlot Maître, South Province, New Caledonia

3 ~ Climb Mont-Dore

Not for the faint hearted, it’s a steep climb to the top but well worth it for the view.

Cost: Free

Read more about climbing Mont-Dore

Mont-Dore, Le Mont-Dore, South Province, New Caledonia
Mont-Dore, Le Mont-Dore, South Province, New Caledonia

4 ~ Snorkelling

New Caledonia is home to the second longest reef in the world. The island is surrounded by it, so there’s great snorkelling everywhere you go. Some of the islets close to Nouméa such as Îlot Amédée and Îlot Maître are great options. Highlights include sea turtles, sea snakes and a diverse range of tropical fish and corals.

Cost: Free

Read more about my experience with sea snakes

Sea turtle on Îlot Maître, New Caledonia
Sea turtle on Îlot Maître, South Province, New Caledonia

5 ~ Day trip to Amédée Lighthouse

Be warned – out of all the things on the list this is the most touristy one. Îlot Amédée is filled with people all the time thanks to popular tours run aboard the Mary D. The tour is the expensive way to do things but includes a buffet lunch, entry to the lighthouse and snorkel hire. The lighthouse itself provides the most incredible views of reef that surrounds the islet.

Cost: 15400F for the tour on the Mary D ($200AUD, 130€, £114.20, $153USD) There’s a discount for under 25’s, seniors and children.

Amédée Lighthouse. Îlot Amédée, South Province, New Caledonia
Amédée Lighthouse. Îlot Amédée, South Province, New Caledonia

6 ~ Ruins of Prony

History buffs, this is the place you want to be. Prony was a mining and logging town before it was all but abandoned. The old buildings are lovingly maintained by the few locals still living in the area. It’s an off-the-beaten track place to visit making it all the more sublime.

Cost: Free

Read more about visiting Prony from Mont-Dore

Prony, Le Mont-Dore, South Province, New Caledonia
Prony, Le Mont-Dore, South Province, New Caledonia

7 ~ Chute de la Madeleine

What’s better than a picturesque spot like this? The Chute de la Madeleine is a waterfall in Yaté best coupled with a trip to the parc provincial de la riviere bleue.

Cost: Entry per adult is 400F ($5.20AUD, 3,30€, £2.95, $4.00USD). Concessions are available with a valid card.

Chute de la Madeleine, Yaté, New Caledonia
Chute de la Madeleine, Yaté, South Province, New Caledonia

8 ~ Canons de Nouville

If you’re interested in canons – great, there’s a bunch of them! If you’re interested in breathtaking views – then excellent, there are infinite. Situated at the end of a peninsula is this old fort. Despite being close to Nouméa, it’s a difficult road to drive up so you can expect to find some solitude once you arrive.

Cost: Free

Read more about the Nouville Peninsula

Canons de Nouville, Nouville, Nouméa, New Caledonia
Canons de Nouville, Nouville, Nouméa, South Province, New Caledonia

9 ~ Kuendu Beach

This is one of the more charming beaches in New Caledonia. It’s only 20 minutes from Nouméa but way more isolated than some other beaches close by. People kayak and ride their horses through the water and its the perfect place to lie down, relax and read a book.

Cost: Free

Kuendu beach is on the Nouville peninsula which you can read more about here

Kuendu Bay, New Caledonia
Kuendu Bay. Nouville, South Province, New Caledonia

10 ~ Aquarium des Lagons Nouvelle Calédonie

You’re not going to see all the marine life a place as diverse as New Caledonia has out in the wild. Sometimes it pays to go to an aquarium to get up close and personal with the creatures you haven’t seen while snorkelling. This is a particularly good aquarium too.

Cost: 1500F per adult ($19.40AUD, 12,50€, £11.10, $14.85USD) Children are half price and there are family and concession tickets available

Aquarium des Lagons Nouvelle Calédonie. Nouméa, New Caledonia
Aquarium des Lagons Nouvelle Calédonie. Nouméa, South Province, New Caledonia


 

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