In the southwest, Nouméa, the economic hub of New Caledonia concentrating population and economic activity, is a European city in Melanesia. Pavement cafes, luxury boutiques and beaches shaded by palm trees give the city a French Riviera feel, while its relaxed atmosphere and wide blue skies add a touch of the Pacific.
Explore vibrant neighbourhoods, beautiful bays, various museums... Nouméa offers many activities to visitors wishing to enjoy themselves, to learn or to relax.
Savour the culinary experience of every meal. Foie gras, soft cheeses, real “café au lait”, fresh baked “viennoiseries” and baguettes each day – a gourmet tour de France is on your doorstep, wherever you dine.
The West Coast
New Caledonia offers large open spaces such as the vast plains of the West Coast, shaded in purple at dusk. Protected from wind by the central mountain range, they offer views of the savannah with thriving “niaoulis” trees with their fragrant leaves and paper-like bark.Explore Bourail and the Deva Domain, but also the La Foa/Sarramea/Farino/Moindou district, where soft peaks and plateaus covered with dry forest lead to the foothills of the central range. The mines have left deep scars on the mountain slopes, giving the landscape azure and blood colouring.
On the coastline, mangroves dominate with their tangled roots where a unique ecosystem flourishes. Immortalized by the famous photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the “heart of Voh” formed within the mangroves is located on the northwest coast of New Caledonia.
The East Coast
Exposed to prevailing winds and therefore more humid, the east coast of the main island presents landscapes of luxuriant forests along a narrow coastal strip inserted between the mountains and the ocean. This is an opportunity to take an extraordinary stroll to meet the Kanak people. The route from Koné to Tiwaka connects the West Coast to East Coast passing through the Amos pass. Bamboo forests on a river bend and majestic tree ferns dominate the route. The population, largely Kanak, lives in the heart of a tropical setting with successive luxuriant valleys and waterfalls, where large estuaries and rivers are everywhere.
Authentic and undeveloped, the coastline called the New Caledonian corniche is a series of small villages, each with many tribes whosetraditional huts, with pointed roofs emerge from the vegetation.
Beautiful sites, the Ciu waterfall between Canala and Nakety or the majestic one at Tao and the unavoidable “Hienghène Hen”, a city on the shore of the estuary known for its cliffs of black limestone formations of which most famous are a hen and a sphinx.
The Great South
At the other end of the “Grande Terre”, at is southern end, the colour palette changes to red due to the oxidized metal-rich soils of the Great South, where unique vegetation thrives. Explore this pristine and unspoiled vegetation.
Sparsely populated but very large, the town of Yaté should not be missed. Its mysterious desert-like and almost lunar landscapes host a series of natural sites. The most spectacular is undoubtedly the Blue River National Park, covering over 9,000 hectares that can be explored on foot or by bike, and discover a fauna and flora of remarkable diversity and richness. From the height of its corolla, the thousand-year-old tree, the great “Kaori” with its trunk of nearly three meters in circumference, watches wisely over this preserved environment. The biggest reservoir of freshwater in the area, the Yaté lake, is home to an astonishing drowned forest in the heart of the Plain of Lakes and echoes the roar of Madelaine waterfall.
Visit the old mining village of Prony and the remains of the penal colony. While returning to Nouméa you can stop at the Plum mineral water source and replenish your bottles.
Ile des Pins
At twenty-minute flight south of Nouméa, this island concentrates all the beauties of the Pacific. Untouched and breath-taking nature exposesdeserted beaches lined with small trails shaded by banyan and columnar pine trees.
Dominated by the Nga peak (alt. 262m), Ile des Pins emerges from the lagoon, listed among the World Heritage Sites by Unesco, whose waters are of a blue that almost hurts the eyes. The natural pool of the Oro Bay is unquestionably the best illustration of this beauty.
Be a Robinson Crusoe for a few hours spent on the Nokanhui atoll and then indulge with a grilled lobster the feet in the sand.
Loyalty Islands: Lifou, Mare, Ouvea
The original geology of the Loyalty Islands gave birth to surprising terrain, particularly on the coasts where blocks of coral reefs, raised over the years, form impressive cliffs that plunge into the roaring ocean.
Elsewhere, the calm waves of the lagoon teaming with fish break on the white sand beaches. With a 28 km long beach, the atoll of Ouvéa contains landscapes of unparalleled beauty.
Emerald surrounded by blue ocean, Maré, the southernmost isle, is known for its agriculture while Lifou, an ancient atoll, is home to a broad central plateau, set in the midst of a ring of cliffs.