Here's what you never knew about New Caledonia
Sitting east of Australia, midway between Brisbane and Cairns, and directly above Norfolk Island, lies New Caledonia, oozing her own unique flavour of island chic. Here, sun-kissed white-sand beaches mix with French sophistication to create a destination unlike any other in the South Pacific.
Strolling along Noumea’s waterfront, you’ll often see locals playing petanque or enjoying coffee and croissants at a café. At night, Baie des Citrons comes alive with diners enjoying lingering meals and fabulous French wines, before hitting the nightclubs.
There is plenty to do in Noumea. You may like to wander through the designer shops, visit the stunning aquarium, enjoy some fabulous French cuisine at one of the many restaurants, take a day tour to Amadee Lighthouse, relax on the beaches, partake in one of the many watersports or visit Le Marche, the local market where you’ll find art and crafts, clothing, baked goods and even the fishermen’s colourful daily catch.
French is the local language and, although not quite as aloof as those in native France, New Caledonians do like it if you at least attempt French. Fear not however, communicating is seldom a problem as most people can also speak English.
Buses and taxis are available in Noumea and shopping areas are within walking distance from the port. However, Noumea is quite a hilly city so if you are wanting to visit more of the sightseeing spots, it’s better to do this by guided tour – unless you’re very fit!
Here are a few quick facts about New Caledonia:
- The Kanak people are the indigenous inhabitants of New Caledonia. Currently approximately 40% of New Caledonia’s population are of Kanak descent.
- The current population is approximately 264,000.
- James Cook was the first European to spot New Caledonia in 1774. The French claimed it in 1853, and New Caledonia is still a self-governing dependent of France, although many would like complete independence.
- Nickel is the main export for New Caledonia. In fact, 25% of the world’s Nickel reserves are found here.
- The total land area of New Caledonia is slightly less than Wales.