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New Caledonia

Why holiday in New Caledonia? To be different from everyone else, to enjoy multiple holidays in one and to unravel […]
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New Caledonia

Why holiday in New Caledonia? To be different from everyone else, to enjoy multiple holidays in one and to unravel the mysteries of this unique archipelago protected by the world’s largest lagoon. Hidden in the middle of the Pacific to the east of Australia, New Caledonia is a vast, unique and diverse French overseas territory offering an exceptional variety of landscapes, cultures and activities. Nouméa is a modern coastal capital with lots to offer. The islands are picture-postcard perfect with their paradise beaches. The lush East Coast is alive with the Kanak spirit. The West Coast is an opportunity to explore the authentic Wild West inhabited by “bushmen”. Finally, the Great South is an adventurer’s paradise with its myriad of outdoor activities.

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Fabulously French and terrifically tropical, New Caledonia will keep you on your toes with an exciting choice of fun things to do.

Wondering what to do in New Caledonia? We promise you'll never have a dull moment. New Caledonia has six UNESCO World Heritage sites, all atolls or reefs. It's been a French territory since 1853, so you'll have many opportunities to practice your français. It's home to a fascinating indigenous Melanesian culture that's respected and celebrated. Plus it has some of the most delicious food you'll ever eat on a Pacific holiday. Vive la différence! This tropical holiday is like no other.

Eat at a French restaurant in Noumea: When in French Polynesia, eat like a French person! Many of the best restaurants in Noumea are French, ranging from the relaxed Le Faré du Palm Beach in Anse Vata to the magnificently-located Le Roof, which is in an overwater bungalow-style building off Promenade Roger Laroque. The food you'll discover is prepared and cooked using French methods, but given a twist by the use of delicious tropical ingredients. Bon appétit!

When to go / useful information

When to go

The average monthly temperature in New Caledonia throughout the year is around 24°C in the shade. It hovers between 20-22°C during the cooler months (July/August) and 27-28°C during the hotter months (December/January/February), meaning that you’re very unlikely to need cosy clothing to warm you up during your time in New Caledonia unless you’re staying up in the mountains.

Useful information

Currency: The Pacific franc is tied to the euro at a fixed exchange rate.

Language: French is the official language in common use in New Caledonia although the Kanak languages ​​are also widely spoken throughout the country.  The Kanak languages ​​belong to the Austronesian language family. 28 languages are currently spoken, together with 11 dialects. Most Kanak people still speak the language used in their native region. However, the number of native speakers of any one language varies greatly, and some of these languages are likely to disappear over the coming decades despite determined efforts to keep this precious intangible heritage alive. Only a few dozen speakers s of Pwapwâ (Voh region) and Siche (Bourail/Moindou) remain. On the other hand, some languages are in everyday use by several thousands of speakers: Drehu (Lifou), Nengone (Maré), Xârâcùù (Canala/La Foa/Boulouparis), Paicî (Poindimié/Ponerihouen) and Ajië (Houaïlou/Poya).

What makes it special: The lagoon encircling New Caledonia is the world's largest at over 9,000 square miles. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. The surrounding barrier reef is one of world's largest and the marine biodiversity found here is known to be exceptional.

Weather: Although New Caledonia offers a delightfully balmy semi-tropical climate, experienced hikers know that between June and September you’ll find the perfect seasonal conditions for trail walking, while temperatures in the central mountain range can drop as low as zero at night, so warm clothes are a must! Chilly nights apart, the cool season is the ideal period for setting off to hike along the signposted trails that crisscross the vast nature reserves in both the North and South Provinces of the Main Island.

Social customs: The essential spirit of New Caledonia and the Kanak culture is enshrined in the ancestral rules and rituals of Kanak customary tradition. ‘Coutume’ refers to all the social rules that govern the everyday life of Kanak clans, and it is vital that visitors show their respect for customary tradition when needed and where appropriate. For example, if you would like to enter tribal lands or access places considered to be taboo, you should ‘faire la coutume’ (make the customary gesture) as a mark of respect. A greeting is exchanged and a small gift, such as a 500 or 1,000 franc note, rice, food, a souvenir from your home country or a piece of fabric known as a ‘manou’ (these may be purchased from local stores), is offered.

For the Kanak people, this traditional ceremony of greeting and welcome has profound significance. A customary gesture is a mark of mutual respect, establishing a unique and special bond between you and a community whose social and cultural traditions go back many thousands of years. It's a gesture from the heart.

Many of New Caledonia’s general etiquette rules are quite similar to those you’ll find followed in France or any other French territory. Although many are quite common in most French speaking destinations, there are a few that are quite unique to New Caledonia.

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