By Guest Blogger, Marie N.
If you’ve been dreaming to take your family for an unforgettable vacation, there might a perfect destination for you. Only two and a half hours flight from Auckland or Sydney takes you to the beautiful archipelago of New Caledonia.
This magnificent place offers something for every family member. Visit remote islands, enjoy sunny beaches, try scuba diving in the crystal-clear water, enjoy local cuisine and admire the local history and architecture. A beautiful mix of Melanesian and French culture and history is the essence of this little tropical heaven.
New Caledonia is a French overseas territory, so visiting this archipelago means you are visiting a French version of a tropical heaven; so, remind yourself and teach your kids some useful phrases in French. Your kids will love trying them out during your visit. Encourage them to engage in a conversation with the cashier in the supermarket, or to have a chit-chat with the waiter while ordering food in the restaurant.
In addition to the language, you can enjoy French food. Enjoy a family picnic close to the sea after you visit a supermarket. There you can find baguettes, French cheese, butter and wine for a reasonable price. If you’re more of a fan of restaurants, you can enjoy in some of many New Caledonia’s French restaurants. Try some of the French-influenced specialties of the archipelago like bougna, stewed shrimp, seafood vol au vent, or bulimes (Isle of Pines’ snails).
Nouméa is the capital city and the first place you will visit when you land in New Caledonia. It is situated on the largest island of the archipelago, Grande Terre. This will be the starting point for your following journeys around the island, so first make sure to pick a relaxing and comfortable Noumea accommodation.
After you find the perfect spot where you can rest and leave your stuff, enjoy your walk to the city center through the palm shady streets that are full of Citroens, Renaults and Peugeots. Remember that you came to a tropical area, so make sure you put on a hat, sunglasses, and a sunscreen.
You will find some interesting sites when you reach the city center. Old buildings will evoke the memory of the old colonial times. You can visit Cathédrale Saint-Joseph de Nouméa not far from the city center. Climb on the top to take in a great view of the city and its surroundings.
While you’re still in Nouméa, make sure to visit Tjibaou Cultural Centre. This impressive piece of architecture is dedicated to the indigenous Kanak people that make around 40% of the archipelago’s population. Here, you can explore their history and art, most notable sculptures of this Melanesian people.
After spending a couple of days in the capital, it’s time to get in touch with a pure beauty of a remote island. Our advice is to take a plane from Nouméa to Lifou New Caledonia; after all, it is one of the archipelago’s most beautiful islands. You can experience many things here: impressive cliffs on the north and the south side, and beautiful beaches on the east and the west side of the island. Spend the day at the beautiful Easo beach and enjoy swimming and snorkeling at the white sandy beach.
But for the real snorkeling experience, visit the Baie de Jinek, a coral-filled bay that offers a beautiful underwater view. You will have to pay 15 AUD $ to access the water, but all the money goes to the protection of the island’s environment and keeping this bay intact.
You have a unique opportunity to understand how people live on such a tiny island in the middle of the ocean. Go for a walk through local villages and engage in a conversation with people. Again, your French language skills will be a great help. The locals are very friendly, and will be happy to present you their culture, folklore and cuisine.
You will spend a couple of days in Nouméa before the departure from this beautiful archipelago. Save this part of the trip as a special surprise for your kids who can explore the wildlife of this Pacific heaven.
The Aquarium des Lagons is a tourist attraction that vividly represent different aquatic ecosystems of New Caledonia. The aquarium is divided into sections, where you can find species from the fresh water of rivers and lakes, then those from the mangroves, lagoon, and from the deep ocean. Kids will enjoy watching many animal species like eels, turtles, fish, fluorescent nautilus, phosphorescent corals, giant shrimps, etc.
Another place that will thrill your kids is the Parc Zoologique et Forestier. It consists of a botanical garden and a zoo. The majority of over 700 animals and 130 species in the zoo are birds, while the botanical park mostly consists of sclerophyllous forest (aka primitive forest), with around 60% of endemic species. You can explore this beautiful place on Segways.
This beautiful archipelago is a great place to spend a vacation with your family. You can browse local culture, cuisine and the history of the urban city like the capital Nouméa, or enjoy the sun, beaches, cliffs, coral reefs and other natural beauty some of the remote islands. Either way, an unforgettable journey is guaranteed.
Tia, and TipsfromTia.com is trying to keep you looking good and
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