So, New Caledonia!
I bet like me, you went, ‘where’s that now?’
Based in the southwest Pacific Ocean, east of Australia, this archipelago of islands is a special collectivity of France.
Now, if you’re reading this from Europe, I’m sure you are dreaming of warmer climes after the great ice grip that even the UK is experiencing. So, naturally, my thoughts turned to the Pacific Ocean where I could laze on golden sand beaches of the Pacific Islands. Hell, I’d even go back to Fiji like a shot. But you know I love discovering new places, I looked elsewhere and that’s when my eyes landed on New Caledonia.
As I’m intrigued what it could be, I asked Roxana of HighStylife.com to give me her personal experience of the islands she loved travelling in. Here it is:
The moment I arrived at Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia, was the moment I fell in love with this amazing place. I cannot even decide what I liked the best, whether those were New Caledonia’s beautiful sandy beaches, nature, its culture, people, its traditional cuisine or something else. In order to bring this unforgettable experience to you, I’ll describe my adventure at this authentic tourist destination.
What did I see?
The answer is: “Paradise!” The place that left the strongest impression on me was the landmark of New Caledonia, the Heart of Voh, which is a name for a perfectly shaped heart formed in a mangrove swamp. I took a short plane trip from Noumea since I was told that the best way to see it was from the air. Although, this is probably true, there is another, more budget-friendly option, and that is by car (4×4) to Katepai Mountain. I strongly recommend the second option, since it’s important to budget accordingly due to the high-standard of living there, which reflects on the prices as well.
Another great destination was Aquarium des Lagons, the place I will never forget. Learning about the ocean was a fun voyage of discovery, which ended at Aquarium’s theatre where I watched an amazing documentary about New Caledonia’s marine habitats. Not only did I have a great time, but I found this place very affordable; so, I would recommend it to everyone.
After I discovered the ocean, I decided it was time for me to discover the forests of New Caledonia as well. This is why I headed to the Blue River Park, a huge reserve of various endemic bird species. Here I spent the whole afternoon relaxing and connecting with my inner self.
What did I do?
My first adventure was snorkeling at the Barrier Reef, the second-longest double-barrier coral reef in the world. At first, I was worried since this was my first time snorkeling. However, with the help of professionals, I jumped into a whole new dimension of beauty and perfection.
Then, I immediately headed to the Bourail’s Lagoon where I was astonished to see dolphins peacefully and freely swimming in the ocean. This was the first time I saw them outside a zoo and it was amazing!
After these crazy adventures, I stayed for a couple of days at the Isle of Pines just relaxing on its sandy beaches soaking up the sun. This experience made me feel reborn and ready for some more action. So, I went for an amazing New Caledonia golf experience on the beautifully arranged golf courses with picturesque sceneries.
My encounter with New Caledonia’s culture
I met this amazing culture through dances and food. During one of the hot summer evenings, I was lucky to witness one of the most popular customs of the local Kunie people, the Olobath, their traditional dance. The thing that delighted me most and warmed my heart was the happiness on their faces while dancing.
My second encounter with the culture happened in a small restaurant in Noumea. Here I tried some of their best traditional seafood dishes prepared by experienced local chefs. Aside from this, one of New Caledonia traditional specialties I strongly recommend you to try is Bougna dish, a feast dish of the Kanak people whose ingredients (yam, sweet potatoes, bananas and pieces of chicken, fish, or crab) are cooked wrapped in banana leaves. This was a unique experience for all my senses.
Although delicious New Caledonia food is worth every penny, I advise you to be careful when choosing a place to eat. I always checked the prices before ordering, since Noumea is quite an expensive city. However, you can find many amazing places with affordable prices, which only testifies that New Caledonia is a place where you can have a budget travel in style.
I hope that you will also have an opportunity to experience everything that I did at this wonderful place. New Caledonia just proved to me that nothing can enrich someone’s life more than travelling.
Thanks Roxana for writing this. You can check out her site at https://highstylife.com