New Caledonia

Travel Guide
New Caledonia featuring general coastal views
Take a trip to this sparking archipelago and uncover a thriving cosmopolitan culture, beautiful scenery and a fascinating past.

Swim, kayak and sail in the vast, shimmering lagoon of New Caledonia. Visit colorful markets and oceanfront restaurants or hop between islands of tranquil rainforests and secluded beaches.

A dependent French colony since 1853, this archipelago holds an indigenous population who live alongside expats from Europe, Africa and Polynesia. Ethnic diversity is particularly prevalent in the capital Noumea on the main island Grande Terre. Eat the finest fish available at lavish Western-style restaurants and peruse the Market near the marina to barter for exquisite arts and crafts, fresh fruit and homemade bread. Swim at sheltered Baie des Citrons or Plage de l'Anse Vata. Rent a kayak to venture farther out or glide through the spray in a two-person dinghy.

Drive three hours north to reach quiet towns, stunning clifftop views and plunging waterfalls or go southeast to the former convict center of Prony, surrounded by woodland and a gateway to the island’s best natural reserves. Pic Du Pin nearby offers exceptional hiking with Blue River National Park beyond sheltering kauri trees, many more than 1,000 years old. Don’t miss the drowned forest where tree trunks rise from the silky, turquoise water.

No trip is complete without a visit to some of the smaller, neighboring islands. The eastern Loyalty Islands of Maré,LifouandOuvéa each combine modern hospitality with outstanding untouched scenery. Find your own private beach for the day or explore rocky caves and crevices. A shorter ferry ride south takes you to the Isle of Pines with its idyllic beaches and resorts set around the ghostly remains of a 19th-century prison.

New Caledonia is in the western Pacific Ocean east of Australia. Fly to Tontouta Airport from New Zealand, Australia or Japan. A tropical climate makes New Caledonia a good choice year-round although temperatures can feel uncomfortably warm during January and February. Noumea has the biggest concentration of accommodations. Staying on the smaller islands is generally confined to more expensive private resorts.

Popular cities in New Caledonia

Noumea featuring a beach
Nouméa
Known for Dining, Beach view and Islands
Escape to romantic Nouméa! Enjoy its beaches, food, and oceanfront.

Reasons to visit

  • Aquarium des Lagons
  • Place des Cocotiers
  • Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center
Lifou showing colorful reefs
Lifou
Known for Snorkeling, Swimming and Islands
Escape to Lifou! Enjoy its snorkeling, culture, and beaches.

Reasons to visit

  • Lifou Island
  • Jinek Bay
  • Jokin Cliffs
Kanumera Beach featuring rugged coastline and swimming as well as a large group of people
L'Île-des-Pins
Known for Beach view, Islands and Relaxing
Experience relaxing L'Île-des-Pins: its island views, beaches, and more!

Reasons to visit

  • Grotte de Hortense
  • Notre Dame de l'Assomption
Bourail
Bourail
Known for Relaxing, Beach view and Golf
Trip time! Discover the seaside, beaches, and golf in relaxing Bourail.
Poum
Poum
Head to sights like Plage de Kejaon and Lagoons of New Caledonia as you discover Poum.
Koumac
Koumac
Explore attractions like Koumac Caves and Plage de Pandop as you discover things to see and do in Koumac.

New Caledonia

Choose one or more items to build your trip:
Choose one or more items to build your trip: