New Caledonia is a surprisingly close destination to Melbourne that many people have never heard of. It is Australia’s closest Pacific neighbour, making it an ideal destination for Australians looking for a holiday with a difference, without the distance.
My husband and I enjoyed our Honeymoon in New Caledonia last month and it is an amazing spot to visit.
Noumea (the capital) is a three and a half hour flight out of Melbourne. New Caledonia is a former French colony (now classified as a special collectivity of France). There is a distinctive European influence, particularly in Noumea. We had great fun practising our French, and most locals seemed to enjoy humouring us.
We chose to stay at the Chateau Royal Beach Resort and Spa, located right near the Anse Vata district. The Chateau Royal is literally right on the beach and has an amazing spa facility, three restaurants, a bar and a beautiful swimming pool (with a pool bar). The rooms are self-contained and incredibly spacious. There is a reason why this resort has a Certificate of Excellence on Trip Advisor, and if you’re willing to spend a bit extra it is well worth it!
The ocean views are spectacular, and the islands have some of the most breath taking snorkeling and scuba diving spots I’ve even seen.
There are also a variety of other water sports to try, such as paddle boarding, jet skiing and kite surfing.
Top 4 places to visit in New Caledonia
This is one of the first places you should visit. It gives you an insight into the reefs around New Caledonia (and is a glimpse of what to expect if you snorkel!)
It costs 1000 xpf (approximately $14) for adults, and 500 xpf (approximately $7) for children.
Also known as Duck Island to the English speakers, this little island is about a five-ten minute taxi boat ride from Anse Vata beach (there is a small hut there where the boat leaves from).
The island is beautiful and the snorkeling is amazing. It can get pricey to hire lounge chairs and an umbrella (there is minimal shade on the island), plus snorkeling gear and food though, so I would recommend bringing your own food and equipment if possible. It’s also important to wear practical shoes because the beach is made up of broken coral. That aside, be prepared for some of the clearest snorkeling of your life!
Amédée is another island that is worth a day trip to see the picturesque lighthouse and to have a snorkel. MaryD offers a fantastic day trip out to the island on a glass-bottomed boat – it is a little pricey, but worth the money!
A great highlight is seeing the sea turtles.
I may be prejudiced because we stayed there, but I absolutely loved the spa at the Chateau Royal. If you have been to the Hepburn Springs spas and enjoyed that, you will probably enjoy an afternoon in this spa.
Most of all, take your time in New Caledonia! Enjoy the beautiful beaches and chat to the locals. We sampled a variety of restaurants, and the easiest option to find the best spots to eat are to follow the residents.
It is a beautiful part of the world to visit, and very close to home.
Definitely a spot I would love to go back to.