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.
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)
3 ~ Climb Mont-Dore
Not for the faint hearted, it’s a steep climb to the top but well worth it for the view.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kuendu beach is on the Nouville peninsula which you can read more about here
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