Do you crave the crisp mountain air as you greet a deep orange-coloured sunrise? Or are you more of an ‘if you need me I’ll be in the hammock’ type of traveller?  Read on to holiday your way at Australia’s glorious neighbour, New Caledonia.

Floating on turquoise blue waters and soaking up the warmth of the brightest white-sands are things most of us can agree on when dreaming of a getaway. Enter: New Caledonia. A genuine Unesco world heritage listed lagoon formation and an all ‘round paradise for the senses.

Check out the highlights of 7 very different expert travellers in this beautiful part of the world and let us plan a trip that can cram in as much adventure as you can handle, or let you lose your watch to guess the time of day based on meals alone.

Welcoming locals abound here, and activities and leisure options are endless. With a land area of 18,576sq. kilometres and located only 1,210-kilometres east of Australia, there is so much to do and no wasted days in transit! But you only need to watch 5-minutes of a reality TV show to realise we’re not all alike when it comes to how we like to spend our downtime. Lucky for you, our incredibly committed My Holiday Centre staffers selflessly headed over to the South Pacific archipelago (taking one for the team guys) to bring you unique, insider information for tailor-made holidays.

So, which traveller type are you?

Aliya – The Indulgent Traveller: Variety, luxury and French cuisine!

If the thought of luxury, ease and having everything close to hand tickles your fancy, Aliya has found just the trip for you.

“It’s so close to Australia but gives you such a culture-rich and exclusive experience. From food to history, luxury to adventure, New Caledonia has everything you could want in an overseas holiday. You can have multiple different experiences within 1 day.”

“Flying in to Ile des Pins on the plane, we had the best view of picture prefect bright blue lagoons and soft white-sand.”

And what could be better than the best view? Taking it all in from a comfortable seat on a plane of course!

What was your favourite resort & why?

“Le Meridien Noumea had a great overall feel. The staff were all very friendly and welcoming, the rooms are amazing and there was so much to do within walking distance of the resort. Sitting directly on the beach is a bonus, the range of activities and leisure options within the resort assures you your time will always be filled with a different adventure. Whether it be getting a massage at the spa, swimming in the beachfront pool, snorkelling, paddle boarding, kayaking in the lagoon or hiking up to a panoramic view of Noumea – it’s all here. The resort is located in a precinct with bars, restaurants and shops but you still get that cultural feel of what Noumea has to offer.”

Your favourite food or restaurant in New Caledonia?       

“Chicken and risotto dish from Le Meridien Isle of Pines. I also loved how every meal comes with an endless supply of bread!”

What surprised you about New Caledonia?          

“The French influence being such a major part of everyday life, puts a surprising spin on a typical Polynesian island holiday. “

What was your favourite thing to do in New Caledonia & why?     

“Swimming and exploring at Ile des Pins Natural Aquarium. The water and scenery was so beautiful and fresh! New Caledonia has so much to offer in terms of entertainment, great food, culture and friendly people everywhere.”

TOP TIP: I would recommend learning a bit of French before your holiday, tout de suite!

#1 PACKING TIP: Clothing that is light and breathable because it is so humid. Don’t forget insect repellent.

Aliya

TOP TIP: The deer, even raw it tastes amazing.

#1 PACKING TIP: Clothes with pockets for insect repellent.

Bailey

Bailey – The Water-Lover: Nature, sea creatures and hidey-holes!

Whether you’re a water-baby or not, snorkelling is a must do in New Caledonia. No arguments.

Up there with the top 3 reef systems of the world, the high diversity of intact coral reef ecosystems throughout the lagoons of New Caledonia are home to healthy populations of species. Which basically means you’re going to see heaps of fish and it’s going to be spectacularly gorgeous.

What was your favourite view?

“A favourite view was from out the front of Le Meridien Isle des Pines, which we reached by paddleboards. The mesmerising clear water meant we could see directly to the bottom, which is ideal when turtles and fish are swimming directly underneath you.”

And runner up view includes the ocean AND the pool

“Overlooking the pool with the crystal-clear blue water of the ocean in the background, surrounded by pine trees is a view that sticks with you forever.”

What was your favourite thing to do in New Caledonia?

“Snorkel and swim out the front of Le Meridien Noumea. The water is just a different kind of blue, it’s hard to believe is only 2-hours away from Australia. The diverse range of wildlife out there is magical. Swimming with turtles, sting rays and all kinds of fish is something you normally wouldn’t be able to do every day. But you can in New Caledonia.”

What surprised you the most about New Caledonia?

“The natural beauty of it, I believe it is a very underrated destination and after visiting I would highly recommend going there. The waters’ colour honestly just takes your breath away. I love how New Caledonia upholds traditional cultural values in each destination.”

What would make you go back to New Caledonia?

“1) to swim in the water again, and

2) to visit the tribes and see how the local people live while exploring the beautiful natural environments.”

Denise – The Zen Traveller: Mountains, bungalows and namaste.

If your social media feed is filled with meditation ads and you’re after a trip to relax, Denise’s version of New Caledonia is for you.

Succumb to the soul-healing transcendence of calm waters and private bungalows. Here’s your chance to slow down and notice the finer details.

“It was the best sensation to feel so close and involved by all that nature and peace.

I’d go back to experience and learn more about the mountainous areas. They are as beautiful as they are interesting. They make the island even more unique.”

 What was your favourite thing to do in New Caledonia & why?

“You can enjoy peaceful paradisiac beaches and amazing nourishing food within walking distance. Another favourite was paddle boarding on the beach during low tide on the Ile des Pins. The water was so clear. No waves, surrounded by enormous rocks, sprinkled with pine trees and vegetation – it is unforgettable.”

What was your favourite view?

“The amazing blue of the ocean matched with the brightest white-sands I have ever seen looked incredible from the balcony at the Resort Suite at Le Meridien. The view stretched from the islands across to the mountains and brought the comfort of being close to the city while enjoying those incredible views.”

What was your favourite resort & why?

“The Sheraton Deva Resort immediately got my ‘woooow’ reaction. Every detail is considered with guests in mind. The standalone Bungalows are luxe with a touch of rustic styling. They’re classy and very private – proving how carefully the building was planned.  Staff were very friendly and always had a smile along with a welcoming ‘bonjour’. There was also a spa, an awesome bar next to the pool, a fantastic golf course, bicycles to use and a lot more.”

TOP TIP: The beach around the resort is so beautiful and so private. The pool and large jacuzzi were great.

#1 PACKING TIP: Must pack sunscreen, swimmers and a lot of good energy to enjoy each second in this breathtaking paradise.

Denise

#1 PACKING TIP: Pack lots of swimmers and light clothing options.

TOP TIP: The buffet breakfast at Le Meridien had the best coconut water and juice shots.

Hayley

Hayley – The Go Getter: Water sports, cuisine and turtles.

If you’re a full-throttle kind of traveller and are keen to tuck into all that’s on offer, Hayley can relate.

“Exceeded every expectation I had. New Caledonia is so underrated it’s crazy!

Just say the word and I’m back there! I loved it there. Loved the French culture, the beaches, the food and the wine! Jumping off the jetty in front of the Le Meridien Noumea is a must. And the turtles! What an opportunity to swim with the gentle creatures of the sea. The water was crystal clear and amazing!”

 What was your favourite thing to do in New Caledonia & why?     

“Snorkelling and the myriad of other water-sports! The natural aquarium at Le Meridien Ile des Pines was amazing for snorkelling, the water in New Caledonia is just phenomenal – breathtaking colours of blue and green!”

Your favourite food or restaurant in New Caledonia?       

“I loved trying the French wine and cheese. The croissants were phenomenal with a bit of brie, salami and mustard. Absolutely spoiled on the cuisine front! Loved the poke bowl at Le Meridien Noumea, the duck dish at Sheraton Deva and the chicken dish at Ile des Pins. Pack comfy clothes, you’ll be fine-dining, enjoying wine at night, swimming and chilling all day!”

What was your favourite resort & why?

“Le Meridien Ile des Pines is an island paradise. It felt as though it was a private island experience and relaxation was the highest for me here. Arriving at Ile des Pines and seeing the pine trees amongst the sea line, the white powder-fine beach and tropical palms had me in awe and wonder! Flying into Ile des Pines with a view of the reefs and corals was an extraordinary memory made that I will never forget.”

Callum – The Long Weekender: Short flight and highlights

Desperate for a break but short on time? Make like Callum and take advantage of the quick travel time to suit your schedule.

“I think everybody needs to experience a trip to New Caledonia. Whether it is a long weekend away in Noumea or a week exploring the different options the Islands have to offer, it is well worth the short plane ride.

Almost everything surprised me and surpassed my expectations about New Caledonia, considering how close it is to Australia. The mix of culture, the food and the views were just spectacular.”

What was your favourite resort & why?

“It is too hard to pick a favourite as all the resorts were equally amazing for different reasons. At Le Meridien Ile of Pines the natural pool was the highlight. The Le Meridien Noumea was great for swimming with turtles, while the Sheraton Deva had a great driving range and an array of different scenery in the area.”

Your favourite food or restaurant in New Caledonia?       

“I really loved the Seafood Buffet at the Nouvata or the Le Meridien Noumea buffet breakfast.”

What was your favourite thing to do in New Caledonia & why?   

“Swimming and snorkelling with the abundance of marine life in the beautiful blue water.”

What was your favourite view? 

“From the top of the Chateau Royale in Noumea the view of the Anse Vata Bay was amazing. That amazing blue water- and the fact it is so close to home – will see me back there soon.”

#1 PACKING TIP: Don’t forget to pack a universal converter for your chargers.

TOP TIP: It’s so close to Australia, quicker than some commutes to work!

Callum

#1 PACKING TIP With a warm tropical environment comes a few mozzies so BYO insect repellent.

TOP TIP Hire a car so you can explore the islands in depth. Stop in to the little beachside towns and head into the mountains.

Rebecca

Rebecca – Back to Nature: Explore, refresh and eat fresh.

Waking up to your phone and emails each morning? If you’re feeling like a slave to the screen, follow Rebecca’s tips for your much-needed digital detox.

“Jumping off the end of the wharf at the beach in front of the Chateau Royal early in the morning into crystal-clear, warm water full of marine life, is the perfect start to the day and so refreshing!”

Swapping a rushed morning shower for a jump in the ocean? Yes please. And she’s just getting started.

What surprised you about New Caledonia?        

“The variety of natural beauty. Even in the city you have the opportunity to experience stunning lookouts over the lagoon, mountain hikes and great snorkelling. Once you get out of the city the landscape is even more dramatic with rocky coastlines and tropical rainforests.”

And forget eating last night’s leftovers at your desk – New Caledonia’s dishes are literally paddock to plate. Deer hunting is very popular on the mainland as the Javan Rusa Deer is a major pest. Hello venison!

“Freshly caught and marinated deer – both raw and barbequed – was delicious for a local treat.”

What was your favourite view?               

“The view out the window of our Air Calédonie flight coming into Ile des Pins was stunning! The contrast of dense pine forest against the bright blue lagoon and seeing all the little atolls dotted around, was beautiful!”

What was your favourite resort & why?

“Le Meridien Noumea has everything. It’s a city resort with easy access to all the city sights, shops and restaurants while still being a beachfront resort. Lush tropical gardens and a large lagoon pool make it seem like it could be many worlds away from the city.”

Jake – The Tribesman: Locals, family and surf.

Sharing experiences with people is half the fun. If you’re like Jake and love to experience things with friends and family, read on.

“As a visitor in New Caledonia you often find yourself surrounded by locals, even at the resorts. It’s quite reassuring that even the tourism hotspots are frequented by locals.”

“Tourism is important to New Caledonia but certainly not to the detriment of the natural beauty – the locals take great pride in maintaining and enjoying their entire surroundings.”

What would make you go back to New Caledonia?         

Sharing all the natural beauty with my family.  The French culture is something my kids would really get a kick out of. The ‘Bonjour’ greeting is quite satisfying for kids and adults alike. My kids are also pretty fond of turtles….and croissants!

Your favourite food or restaurant in New Caledonia?    

“You can’t go past the French tradition of a fresh, flaky croissant with a strong mug of coffee in the morning.”

What was your favourite view?               

The view from the mountain-top across from Sheraton Deva in the Burail region was spectacular.  After a short hike up the trail we were treated to a 180 degree view of the entire area. The swell was huge so the entire coastline was active. (I will need to pack a surfboard for my next visit).

What surprised you about New Caledonia?        

“It’s so close yet so French!  Literally 2-hours from Brisbane airport you find yourself in another world immersed by a unique culture. Despite being another Pacific Island, the island vibe here is quite distinct. The amazing history lesson during our tour of Isle of Pines was an eye-opener – the prison is worth a visit too.

What was your favourite thing to do in New Caledonia & why?                 

Exploring the natural lagoon in front in the Le Meridien in Ile des Pins (Isle of Pines) on the paddleboards was amazing.  Turtles and rays were literally cruising beneath the front of my board, the water was crystal-clear and the whole area was largely untouched by humans (there are no motor boats, sail-crafts or even kiteboards allow in the lagoon so it really is pristine). There are so many things to do by the water – relaxing by the stunning resort pools, snorkelling in the lagoons, paddle boarding, swimming with the turtles, heading out on a glass bottomed boat for the day, surfing…you get the drift!

#1 PACKING TIP Pack several pairs of boardshorts as there’s certainly no shortage of places to enjoy the water.

TOP TIP Once beyond the reef, the swell is huge. Worth packing your surfboard.

Jake

General consensus from our crew?

New Caledonia should be on everyone’s travel list! Only 2-hours from Brisbane it’s an easy island getaway that has something for everyone. Seriously, why put off a holiday we have this on our doorstep!

New Caledonia comes in second for the world’s longest Barrier Reef, and takes the cake for world’s largest lagoon, covering 24,000sq. kilometres with depths of 24-metres. So, what do you think? Time to dive in to our neighbour’s pool?

To book a New Caledonia holiday for yourself check out our Hot Deals here or contact us on 1300 000 225.