The French Riviera of the Pacific: New Caledonia

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New Caledonia is a beautiful tropical destination that is very popular with Australian visitors throughout the year. Not only is it very close, but it is also a fascinating destination that combines the tropical vibe with a strong French influence. If you like the sound of that, here is an overview of what to expect.

A Very French Feel

New Caledonia is known as the ‘French Riviera’ because it is a special collectivity of France. You will immediately notice when you arrive in New Caledonia that it has a very French feel to it in many ways. Whether you eat French cuisine and sip on a bottle of fine French wine in one of the many excellent restaurants, or you go shopping in the fashionable shops in the centre of Nouméa, or you simply listen to the French voices around you, the French influence is everywhere.

Of course, you can also lie on a tropical beach in the afternoon and snorkel around some spectacular coral reefs, which you would not be able to do in France.

Explore Your Surroundings

Spend some time exploring Nouméa when you arrive. Visit some of the bars like La Bodega del Mar and L’Etrave, or head to a nightclub like Cort’o Maltese. Alternatively, go for a stroll around town, visit La Place des Cocotiers and see the bandstand and the beautiful gardens, or visit Chinatown or the Latin Quarter and see another side to the city.

You should also put aside some time to relax on the beach. You will find beautiful beaches throughout New Caledonia, but even in Nouméa you will find a number of bays, of which L’Anse Vata and Baie des Citrons are the most popular. Go windsurfing, swimming, cycling, or snorkelling, or just chill out and listen to the sound of the waves.

See All the Highlights

People often first discover New Caledonia as part of a cruise operated by known companies such as Princess lines. However, you may also want to fly here and spend a few weeks experiencing it. Either way, you will find plenty to do to keep you busy.

One of the most popular attractions is the New Caledonia Barrier Reef. This is the second biggest reef in the world, and it surrounds Grande Terre. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is not to be missed.

The Tjibaou Cultural Centre is another top attraction in New Caledonia. It houses an important collection of Melanesian art, and you will be able to find out all about Melanesian culture here. Other cultural attractions include the Museum of New Caledonia, the Maritime Museum and Nouméa Museum. St Joseph’s Cathedral is also worth a look.

Experience New Caledonia for Yourself

With so much on offer for visitors, it is hardly surprising that New Caledonia is one of the most popular destinations in the South Pacific. Whether you stay here for a few weeks or stop off for a day as part of a cruise, make sure you enjoy all of the highlights of this beautiful tropical country during your stay.

Ryan Posa’s work as General Manager of Cruise Republic has allowed him to indulge his travel bug. When not aboard cruise ships, he enjoys discovering the most exotic and beautiful destinations in the world. Follow Ryan on Twitter here.