New Caledonia: an adventurer’s paradise
Dreaming of far-off places to discover? With new heights to climb, waters to dive, and people to meet? The time is right for adventure in New Caledonia, with near-perfect conditions year-round and activities for the whole family.
1. Test the waters.
It’s no surprise that this island nation is best explored by water. Snorkel in the clear, calm waters of the world’s largest enclosed lagoon, seek out the stunning natural pool on the Isle of Pines, or dive sea caves at night to encounter sea snakes, rays, eels and reef sharks. Take a trip to see the wonder of the Prony Needle, an underwater pyramid formed by thermal runoff meeting cool saltwater, creating a thriving ecosystem of oysters, coral, and swarms of tropical fish. If you’d prefer to keep your head above water, the flat, protected surface of the lagoon is also perfect for kayaking with the littlies, jet-skiing, windsurfing or sailing.
2. Get to know the land.
A central mountain range runs length of Grande Terre, covered with primal forest and Maquis scrublands. You can hike from north to south on the 120-km Grand Randonée, passing through unspoiled landscapes, waterfalls and ragged cliffs falling to gorgeous seascapes—or chose a smaller section of the trail for a shorter hike suitable for the youngest members of the family. Travel inland from Noumea to Blue River Provincial Park to walk an ancient landscape of red earth, sapphire skies and lush greenery and seek out the Drowned Forest. Mountain-biking fans can try their hand at the Netcha trails, with leisurely green runs suitable for the whole family through to red and black for advanced riders. On the Isle of Pines you can climb Pic Nga for the views or seek out Oumange Grotto for lush ferns, incredible limestone formations and the local legend of Queen Hortense.
3. On a local level.
You can’t truly say you know a place until you’ve spent some time with its people. Explore the beautiful Melanesian culture by visiting local villages, where it’s custom to offer a small gift as a sign of gratitude and respect. Kanaks make up the largest cultural group on the islands, reaching back long before French colonisation. The whole family can homestay in a traditional village hut to share in local stories and customs, as well as the traditional meal of bougna: meat or fish and vegetables wrapped in coconut leaves and cooked over hot rocks.
4. Branch out, fly and flop!
Whether you want to extend the experience to multiple islands or concentrate on Grande Terre, you’re sure to find beauty, wonder, and the chance for adventure in New Caledonia. A luxury holiday for the whole family and a lust for adventure are not mutually exclusive—you just have to know where to go! Try Le Meridien on the Isle of Pines for intimate island adventures, or its sister resort at the heart of all the action at Le Meridien Noumea. Still accessible from Noumea, Sheraton Deva sits slightly further up the west coast, where great surfing, the 18-hole golf course and horseriding with French cowboys in the Bourail region are major drawcards. All 3 resorts provide childcare facilities in case you’re craving some adults-only adventure time. Check out our New Caledonia holiday packages to start planning now!