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New Caledonia

New Caledonia Travel Guide

New Caledonia and Dependencies, as its officially known, are oceanic islands which have a total area of 19,000 square kilometres and are found within the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia. There are around 222,000 people living in New Caledonia, all of which are mainly of Melanesian and European descent and predominantly of a Roman Catholic religion. The inhabitants speak French and when it comes to making money, agriculture and nickel mining are their main profit makers, trading mainly with New Zealand and Australia.

During the 1800’s, both the French and the British occupied New Caledonia but by 1853, the French won the island over, with the area becoming a penal colony by 1863 and remained that way for forty years. By the 1980’s and early 1990’s the island caused a lot of noise for independence, which today has dissipated.

Entering into the islands capital of Noumea, an area of 9.3 miles, travellers will come across an area containing a harbour holding a few fancy yachts and cruise liners. Further west, there is an old penal colony to look round and to the east wealthy waterside environs. Visitors should avoid the north of the capital though, as it is an area of not much interest, used mainly for industry and is filled with residential houses and industrial fringes. Getting out of the capital and down to the ocean, visitors will find an array of water sports to enjoy including diving, due to the island having the world’s second biggest coral reef and snorkelling with the oceans clear blue waters and colourful sea life. Back on land, hiking, caving and horse riding can be enjoyed especially on the island of Grand Terre.

Travelling from island to island is done via plane, which takes its passengers to each and every island. On the island of Grande Terre, visitors can get about via the local bus service, whose central depot is in Noumea. The other way to travel is by hire car, withal car hire companies being located in Noumea, prices are high, but will provide the visitor with much more flexibility. Drivers should travel with extreme caution at night, due to the frequent amount of wild animals on the islands’ roads.

To get a direct flight to New Caledonia, visitors will need to either fly from France, North America or Australia, with other folk having to connect in the appropriate cities associated with the above countries. The only time when people may not want to visit New Caledonia is from November through April, as there could be a possibility of a cyclone during those months. The weather is hot all year round and any festival lovers should get down here late May, late August or October, when the festivals run riot throughout the islands.

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