New Caledonia Travel Guide
Welcome to New Caledonia
A French-speaking oasis in the heart of the South Pacific, New Caledonia is an archipelago filled with Kanak culture, jade jungles, and barely inhabited islands.
Whether you’re the type to sip cocktails on your five star resort’s private beach, or you prefer to hike, snorkel, and explore while living in indigenous huts, New Caledonia is the perfect escape from your daily life.
New Caledonia Travel Guides
Check out our epic travel guides to help you plan the best trip possible. Find out the best time to visit New Caledonia, as well as things to do and where to stay.
Things to Do in New Caledonia
You won’t run out of exciting activities and new places to see in New Caledonia. You’ll want to make the most of your trip and see as much of the country as possible.
This means getting out of Noumea, the capital, to explore and experience all the raw and epic things to do in New Caledonia. Check out this guide to all the best places to stay and hotels in New Caledonia.
1. Isle of Pines
Isle of Pines, aka Ile Des Pins, is an easily accessible island just off the coast of the main Grand Terre. It is a paradisiacal place where the clearest waters encapsulate untouched pine forests.
One of the top attractions in New Caledonia is La Piscine Naturelle, found on the popular Isle of Pines. This is one of the best snorkelling spots in the world, plus it is safe for beginners.
Besides the Natural Pool, Isle of Pines is home to some of the best beaches in New Caledonia. Including the stunning Kuto Bay and Kanumera beach, each of which are within walking distances of the other.
The country’s capital, Noumea is a hub of French culture, shopping, food, and most importantly, beaches.
Pick up all your souvenirs in the city centre, before packing a picnic at a French bakery and hopping on a boat to one of the stunning islands just off the coast for a day trip. Duck Island and Ilot Maitre are popular spots.
If you have limited time, Noumea showcases a bit of everything New Caledonia has on offer.
Check out this 4-hour tour to Signal Island from Noumea to swim with turtles.
Neighbouring Grand Terre and the Isle of Pines, Lifou is the destination for travellers looking to get off the beaten track, without having to camp in a secluded forest. Despite having roughly 10,000 inhabitants, the people who live here are predominantly indigenous, Kanaks.
The island and it’s coast equals Isle of Pines, but it tends to be less crowded and less popular.
If you have the time, fitting a few of the Loyalty Islands into your New Caledonia itinerary is a great idea.
4. Experience Kanak Culture
Kanak’s are the indigenous, Melanesian inhabitants of New Caledonia. The account for 40% of the country’s population, and are the original founders of the country. As such, you should find some time to learn about them and New Caledonia’s history.
Tjibaou Cultural Centre is the perfect place to learn about the Kanak people. It is a museum of Kanak history, art, culture, and knowledge. Perhaps the best part of the visit will be seeing the beautifully designed structures that house the museum’s exhibitions.
It is a great idea to rent a car and visit the Tjibaou Centre yourself, but if you have limited time, then this tour to the Tjibaou Cultural Centre is a great option.
5. Enjoy the French Cuisine
As a French speaking country colonised by France, New Caledonia and France have a lot of things in common. Firstly, the currency is the Franc (albeit a different currency). Everyone here speaks French.
Most importantly, however, is the prevalence of delicious French cuisine. Creperies are common in Noumea, as are French bakeries and fine dining restaurants. Supermarkets are well-stocked with French wine, cheeses, breads, and cured meats.
Best New Caledonia Tours
The best New Caledonia tours include booking with your cruise, through a group tour, or on Get Your Guide. Here are our top choices:
New Caledonia Travel Tips
All the things to know before visiting New Caledonia, from the currency to the language and visa requirements.
Currency: South Pacific Franc (XPF)
Electricity Socket: 220V AC electricity. Plug type F.
New Caledonia Visa: Visas are not usually required for short visits to New Caledonia.
Safety: New Caledonia is a very safe country to visit. Of course, always be cautious as crime can happen anywhere.
Spoken Language: French. English is not commonly spoken.
Religion: Christianity, predominantly Catholic.
Banks & ATMs: All ATMs in New Caledonia are safe to use. They are very common in populated areas such as Noumea. Use a Transferwise Mastercard to reduce your transaction and exchange fees when travelling.
Sim Cards: Grab a Visitor Sim from BlueSky for $49. It includes 3GB of data and is the only operator on the island. Service can be sketchy. Stores in Avarua or the Airport.
Water: Tap water in New Caledonia is chlorinated and safe to drink. If you are ever unsure about water safety, boil water before drinking.
Best Time to Visit New Caledonia
The best time to visit New Caledonia is during the shoulder months of October and November. Temperatures are warm, sunshine is abundant, and rainfall should be light.
Weather in Cambodia
The dry season runs from June to October and offers the best underwater visibility. The wet season runs from November to May, with heavy rainfall around December to March. Temperatures sit between 22 and 30 degrees celsius year round.
Flights to Cambodia
The cheapest flights to Cambodia are likely to be found outside of the busy tourist seasons. Specifically, avoid the mid-year holidays for the Northern Hemisphere, around July, and the end of year holidays for the Southern Hemisphere, around December and January.
Of course, you should also book as far in advance as possible and compare all flight prices on Skyscanner.
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