Name : New Caledonia
Nickname : “Le Caillou” = “The stone”
Emerged area 19,100sqkm
Lagoon area : 24,000sqkm
Population : 250,000 inhabitants of Melanesian, European, Polynesian and Asiatic origins
Capital city Noumea
Language : French and 30 Melanesian dialects
Currency : Pacific Franc (XPF)
Change rate : 1 Euro=120XPF (119;33174 XPF)
Country code : + 687
Highest mountain : mont Panié at 1628m
Climate : tropical oceanic
Average yearly temperature : 23°
Time difference with Paris : +10h in winter and +9h in summer
with Sydney : + 1h
with Auckland : 2h
How to get there : Tontouta international Airport.
Situated 45 minutes from Noumea, the capital city, do not forget the XPF 150 road toll upon entering Noumea.
Formalities: Passport essential.
Drawing money: it is easy to withdraw change almost anywhere in New Caledonian localities. You can rely on your Visa, Master Card and American Expres cards.
Health: No vaccination, no dangerous animals.
Power : 220volts. Electric plugs are of the French type.
New Caledonia is centred on Grande Terre, the main island. It also has several groups of smaller islands, the Belep islands north of the main island, the Isle of Pines, further south and the Loyalty islands to the east (Ouvéa, Lifou, Tiga, Maré)
The mainland is far larger than all the other islands. The Loyalty islands, Lifou, Maré, Ouvéa, Tiga are situated at a about a hundred kilometres away. On an area of 18,575.5 sqkm, the main island stretches north west- south east over about 400km and between 50and 70km across. It is covered over its total length by a mountain range, of which the highest point, Mont Panié, is 1628m high(5341 feet)
The Caledonian lagoon covers a total area of 24,000sqkm, which makes it one of the largest in the world. It is surrounded by a 1,600 km long coral reef, situated between 10 and 50km from the coast. Water temperature varies between 22 and 30°C
On July 7th 2008, a great part of the lagoons of New Caledonia was registered on the UNESCO world heritage. It is the 33rd site registered on the world heritage for France, and more particularly its second natural site after the gulf of Porto (registered in 1983) and the first overseas.
New Caledonia offers a fairylike, authentic and preserved environment where amateurs of sporty full nature excursions will be able to fulfil their passions
Caledonian table d’hôtes
Table d’hôtes are everywhere in New Caledonia. It is around those tables that the Caillou’s gastronomy is most evocative of its multiple cultures. Bougnas, sweet pork, bami, vegetables in coconut and many other marvels are awaiting you on those numerous tables. Booking is compulsory for an unforgettable meal.
Tjibaou cultural centre
The Tjibaou cultural centre is an unavoidable visit while you are staying in Noumea. You will be able to immerse yourself in history and richness of Caledonian Melanesian culture, called “Kanak”.
Discovering the magic of the site with specialized guides.
For an hour and a half, a guide will make you discover the Tjibaou cultural centre and share with you several anecdotes about the centre and Kanak traditions, architecture, vegetal milieu, tales, myths and customs.
Opening hours :
Guided visits are offered without prior booking in French, English and Japanese at fixed hours all along the week:
For further information:
www.adck.nc/ (Kanak Culture Development Agency)
City centre Thursdays
The city centre Thursdays are an excellent opportunity to discover the know-how of a region of New Caledonia
Every Thursday from 5pm to 8pm, the city of Noumea organizes events by subject around features of a locality or an island or a sport or cultural activity. Place des cocotiers = coconut trees square gets alight and swarms with stands of artefact, food and various hustles and bustles.
For further information :
The program is available on the site of the tourism office : www.office-tourisme.nc.
Noumea offers a variety of night activities. The restaurants al fresco, bars and cafes are essentially concentrated in Baie des Citrons and Anse Vata Bay. Some hotels, such as the Meridien and the Surf Hotel organize theme evenings on weekdays.
Noumea’s two casinos will satisfy gamblers. And for those who rather fancy more cultural evenings, they can attend a theatre play or watch a movie.
For further information
What to bring home from New Caledonia ?
Besides thousands of breathtaking scenery pictures and strange encounters, you will have the opportunity to discover Caledonian art in the various art galleries.
For more information : www.art-nc.com/
Niaouli essential oil
Niaouli essential oil is really New Caledonia’s perfume. It is a 100% natural and Caledonian product.
To discover it, a visit to the distillery in Boulouparis is a must (village’s northern outlet). The distillery produces niaouli essential oil and all its derivates (beauty products, balm, tonic water, herbal teas). It also produces a variety of spirits, brandy and liquors)
Guided visits are possible between 8 am and 6 pm every day except Mondays. Contact phone: 35 19 08
New Caledonia offers a wide range of hotels, from the most luxurious to the very plain and most typical like the Melanesian guest lodge or accommodation in a tribe. Here, we have chosen to present you the typical accommodations of New Caledonia.
The guest lodge
The Caledonian guest lodge defines itself as a family welcoming structure, and accommodation will generally be in a bungalow. It is furnished without kitchen equipment. You will be greeted warmly and if you wish you may follow the family occupations.
The guest loge organization of New Caledonia rules over the classification in numbers of coconut trees.
Accommodation in a tribe
If there is a discovery accommodation, it is the tribal accommodation. You will be immersed in the Caledonian world with its uses and customs. You will share unique cultural moments with the guest families.
The Melanesian hut is the place where you will be sleeping. Commodities are often outside.
That type of accommodation is offered in furnished units or in bungalows. They may be fitted with a kitchen. Guest rooms are in town and with locals. You will be able to share meals with the owners.
Most international car rental companies operate in New Caledonia. The road network is developed. It is however strongly recommended to rent a 4WD for trips in the bush, as a number of roads are dirt roads.
Air Caledonie is the only airways company serving the whole of the domestic network of New Caledonia. For information concerning their program, please consult www.air-caledonie.nc
The SUDILES company provides several weekly round trips to the Loyalty islands with “NGV BETICO” a fast catamaran with a capacity of 366 seats in three classes: 256 in economy class, 90 in comfort class and 2 lounges with 10 seats.
Cruising time is 3h45 for Maré, 4h45 for Lifou, 2h15 for the Isle of Pines
The public transportation network offers 8 lines including the green line which allows you to get from Kuendu Beach to the city centre or to the beaches and the blue line which can bring you to the Tjibaou cultural centre.