New Caledonia is a captivating island paradise that does not get nearly as much credit as Tahiti, Bora Bora or New Zealand. This is a real shame because it has so much to offer to any seasoned globe-trotting traveler. If this dreamy archipelago is an obscure location for you, here are 7 awesome reasons why you should travel to New Caledonia.
1. The culture
New Caledonia boasts a peculiar and eclectic mixture of two very distinct cultures. On the one hand, you have Melanesian roots of the local residents, who have inhabited the islands of the South Pacific thousands of years before Europeans set foot on them. On the other hand, since the archipelago of New Caledonia was a French Colony and it remained under protectorate as a dependent French territory, there are also very distinct and undeniable echoes of European architecture in the buildings as well as the influences on the language of the locals. After all, French is the official language of the collective.
2. The Melanesian heritage
Still, the deeply-rooted influences of the local Melanesian culture have never been erased and, in fact, there is a great cultural monument and a museum raised near the New Caledonia’s capital of Noumea, which is meant to keep the stories and traditions of this culture alive. A captivating set of buildings is known as Tjibaou Cultural Centre and one can remain immersed in the rich heritage, items and stories kept in this art installation of an architectural project for days on end.
The delicious cuisine of New Caledonia has embraced the best out of both French and Melanesian influences. In other words, expect French recipes with tropical ingredients and extremely healthy dishes with strong tastes. There’s hardly anything better than that. Plus, pretty much all the restaurants and food joints have fairly reasonable price ranges.
The capital of New Caledonia is a wondrous little urban gem packed to the brim with interesting details, sumptuous buildings erected during the colonial period and a number of interesting points of interest, such as the famous Tchou Tchou train, which is an excellent opportunity to have a charming tour of the city’s highlights. You will find exquisite Noumea accommodations quite easily as the city is fairly small, but it has a solid, reliable infrastructure, and all the amenities one spoiled tourist can desire.
If food facts about New Caledonia sound too good to be true, wait till you meet its people! The residents of New Caledonia mostly speak the local dialect and French. English is usually out of the equation but they surely make up for it with their welcoming spirit, big smiles and friendly demeanor. Don’t be surprised if the complete strangers from New Caledonia greet you as you pass by them in the street – this is customary and it tells you something about the friendly nature of their culture.
Nature is New Caledonia’s pièce de résistance – the staggering collection of irresistible bucolic sites, diverse topography and lush flora. The main island of Grand Terre is a beaming playground for all the nature lovers, avid hikers and adventure-seekers. You can even rent a horse and go on a galloping escapade across the expansive plains of the main island or hop on a ferry and head to New Caledonia’s dreamlike Isle of Pines or the Loyaute islands – the true tropical paradises.
7. Aquatic activities
Of course, you have not come to the grouping of islands in the middle of Pacific to stay on land the whole time! Since New Caledonia is a beloved but not overhyped destination, you can enjoy every aquatic activity you desire. Beaches are never crowded, so it’s quite a pleasure to simply hang out in the shallows and swim around, but you can also go snorkeling or deep diving with professionals to witness the otherworldly beauties of the local barrier reef.
These 7 reasons for visiting New Caledonia should give you all the information you should know if you are tempted by the photographs of its gorgeous beaches and lush nature. Of course, since we are graced with the immense power of the internet, you can do an in-depth search of the archipelago’s numerous aspects. In fact, this list can serve as a perfect “introductory” greeting with its enticing aspects, and if any of these awesome reasons intrigued you, you will definitely discover that there is much more to this island grouping than meets the eye.