New Caledonia

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New Caledonia is a dependent overseas territory of France lying in the western Pacific Ocean, in the Coral Sea, to the east of Australia and west of Vanuatu. The territory consists of the main island of Grand Terre, the archipelago of the Loyalty Islands (Iles Loyauté), and numerous small, sparsely populated islands and atolls. New Caledonia offers beaches, mountaintop fondue in chalets, camping, amazing snorkeling and diving, and fabulous French food.

Population: 264,022 people
Area: 18,575 km2
Highest point: 1,628 m
Coastline: 2,254 km
Life expectancy: 77.13 years
GDP per capita: $37,700
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Cities

  • Metropolis over 100 hotels
  • Big city 50-100 hotels
  • Medium city 20-50 hotels
  • Small city 5-20 hotels
  • Village below 5 hotels

Points of Interest

  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
  • Interesting place Interesting place
  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

About New Caledonia

History

Settled by both Britain and France during the first half of the 19th century, the island became a French possession in 1853. It served as a penal colony for four decades after 1864.

The islands have been an overseas territory of France since 1956.

The 1988 Matignon Accords grant substantial autonomy to the islands; formally under French law. Agitation for independence during the 1980s and early 1990s seems to have dissipated. A referendum on independence was to be held in 1998 but eventually cancelled, as the Noumea accord decided ; a new referendum is scheduled for after 2014.

In New Caledonia, as elsewhere in France, the national holiday is Bastille Day (14 July).

Climate

New Caledonia has a semi-tropical climate, modified by southeast trade winds. It is often hot and humid in January and February. The islands are subject to tropical cyclones, most frequent from November to March. During winter (April to August) the daytime temperature is around 22 degrees. The water may still be warm, but it often feels too cool to really want to go swimming.

Geography

The main island of New Caledonia is one of the largest in the Pacific Ocean and its terrain consist of coastal plains with interior mountains. The highest point is Mont Panie (1,628 m).

Grand Terre is rich in minerals, and is an important source of many ores, mainly nickel and chromium. There is a mountainous interior green with subtropical foliage. The outlying islands are coral-based, and have stunning white sand, and sport palm trees.

Activities

  • Snorkeling, diving, windsurfing
    • Îlot Canard just outside the Anse Vata is a good place for beginners
    • Aguille de Prony is an amazing underwater structure in the Prony bay south of Noumea
  • relaxing, tanning, and generally doing nothing
    • Baie des Citrons and the Anse Vata are common beaches at the Noumea peninsula
    • Îlot Maitre has a resort. This can be reached by taxi boat from the Anse Vata, and by boat from the Baie de Mouselle
    • Numerous other tourist resorts can be found throughout the Grande Terre and Île des Pins
  • eating French and local cuisine
  • hiking, camping
    • Parc Rivière Bleu in the Yaté region south of Noumea
    • Joining a hiking group is generally a good idea, since you then can really enjoy the great scenery without fear of getting lost, or having to stick with conventional tourist spots

Food

  • Bougna, a traditional meal among the native Melanesians, which consists of some form of meat, pork, chicken, fruitbat, crab, etc, along with roots such as yams and sweet potatoes. This is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked under hot rocks heated in a fire.
  • Coconut crabs
  • All fruits seem to taste very good

Buy food from local markets, which are common to almost every town.

Restaurants are expensive. You can eat quite well for about 10EUR at a couple of eateries opposite the library in town. For travellers on a budget, you'll need to observe what the Kanaks do for the best deals.

French food is (obviously) a specialty, but the range of foods available can be a little limited.

Drinks

Try kava. You can recognize a Kava bar by a red light outside and dim lighting inside. It is about 100CFP compared to 500CFP for a beer, so about a fifth of the price. You drink the Kava immediately once you've purchased it and then go off to a dark bench to relax.

Shopping

The cartoon series La Brousse en Folie and Le Sentier Des Hommes by Bernard Berger will give you an insight in the local culture and tradition. The comics are written in French, the former imitating the local accent and grammar (or lack thereof)

Other than that, plenty of conventional souvenirs shops may be found throughout Noumea.

Costs

New Caledonia is very expensive, since much of the food needs to be imported. There is no culture of bargaining either and attempting such might cause offense.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article New Caledonia on Wikivoyage.

Cities in New Caledonia

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Noumea is the largest city in and capital of New Caledonia, lying on the main island of Grande Terre. One of the most westernized capitals in the Pacific Islands, it features beautiful beaches and colonial mansions and is not yet a heavily touristed destination. Where metropolitan French will hear a bad ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Place des Cocotiers
  • Noumea Harbour
  • Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center
  • Noumea Zoo and Botanical Gardens
  • Noumea Cathedral
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Île des Pins is in New Caledonia.

Interesting places:

  • Kuto Beach
  • Kanumera Beach
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Interesting places:

  • Cape N\'Dua Nature Reserve
  • Yate Beach
panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners

Points of Interest in New Caledonia

  • Tjibaou Cultural Center, a gift from the French Government. The architect was Renzo Piano, an Italian architect.
  • Botanical garden
  • Wandering along the waterfront in Noumea - Baie des Citrons and Anse Vata.

Place des Cocotiers - Noumea

Kuto Beach - Isle of Pines

Noumea Harbour - Noumea

Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center - Noumea

Kanumera Beach - Isle of Pines

Noumea Zoo and Botanical Gardens - Noumea

panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners
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