Introducing New Caledonia
There's no better place to experience the Pacific with a taste of France than New Caledonia, where Melanesian tradition blends with French sophistication. This mix of the chic yet casual, très French but ultimately Pacific comes together with peerless élan in Noumea, the cosmopolitan capital. Dining out and shopping run the gamut from gourmet restaurants to humble roulottes, from Chinatown's colourful shops to the expensively elegant, air-conditioned boutiques on rue de Sébastopol. When you leave the capital, the urban scenery gives way to a wealth of changing landscapes - the rolling plains of la brousse (the bush), lush river valleys, steep mountains coursed by tumbling waterfalls, cool rainforests and wild coastlines.
Grande Terre is the main island with rugged mountains, waterfalls and the world's largest coral lagoon. To the Southeast, lies romantic Île des Pins with its slender pines, white-sand beaches and emerald lagoon. To the east, life proceeds at a leisurely pace in the relaxed Loyalty Islands: Maré, steeped in Kanak culture, Lifou and Ouvea.
New Caledonia is surrounded by the world's largest enclosed lagoon, where marine treasures of all shapes and sizes lie waiting to be discovered - canyons and caves, exquisite coral, the smallest of tropical fish, turtles, sea snakes and sharks. Dolphin and whale spotting are other delights in store, or simply the luxury of total relaxation on the soft, warm sand of a deserted isle.
Best places to stay in New Caledonia
South Pacific travel guide
The South Pacific isn't just a homogenous spread of palm trees and warm ocean - escape your resort and you'll find cultures and experiences as rich as coconut cream.
Vanuatu & New Caledonia: travel books to read before you go
This excerpt from Lonely Planet’s Vanuatu & New Caledonia guide provides a selection of travel literature to get you in the mood for your trip. South Pacific Literature: From Myth to Fabulation by Subramani covers regional literature and includes work by ni-Vanuatu and Kanak writers...
Vanuatu & New Caledonia travel guide
Tropical weather brings light and life to sandy beaches and azure waters. Throughout the islands, strong communities show off their country’s attributes to a soundtrack of drumming and dance.
South Pacific phrasebook
OK, so you can get around on lots of the Pacific islands with just English or French, but pack a little of the local languages and you'll be able to go beyond the 'one umbrella or two?'. Covers Fijian, Hawaiian, Maori, Samoan, Tahitian, Tongan and...
Vanuatu & New Caledonia - New Caledonia (Chapter)
New Caledonia is dazzling. There’s a charming mix of French and Melanesian: warm hospitality sitting beside European elegance, gourmet food beneath palm trees, sand, resorts, bungalows, concrete, bamboo. Natural wonders and manmade delights are...