New Caledonia is unlike any other tropical destination in the world. This small French outpost in the South Pacific is blessed with some of the most beautiful scenery, yet it is almost completely devoid of tourists. Every few days, a cruise ship will dock at the port in Noumea, but apart from that, you could have the island almost entirely to yourself.
The government of New Caledonia has not done a great job at marketing to the wider world and if it weren’t for the cruise ships, there would be very few visitors. I think that they prefer it that way. This means that the residents of this little South Pacific island get to have it all to themselves. For those intrepid travelers who venture here, they will most certainly be awarded with stunning natural beauty, friendly people and wonderful French cuisine.
On the southern end of the capital of Noumea, lie the quaint suburbs of Anse Vata and Baie des Citrons. These two little areas are right on the water and home to many fantastic restaurants and are the gateways to your fun in the ocean.
The beaches in town are not spectacular. They are quite narrow, but if you take a boat ride through the turquoise waters to the two islands off of the coast, you will find yourself on your own private South Pacific paradise. Ile aux Canards and Ilot Maitre are not but a few minutes off of the coast of Anse Vata beach, but feel like a different world. You could spend all day relaxing on the dazzling white sand. Bring a picnic and venture further around the islands and you have an entire beach to yourself. In the shallow waters, you can watch sand dollars and star fish scuttle about. Don’t be surprised if you come across sea snakes languidly cruising about. Although very poisonous, these beautiful creatures are some of the shiest of animals on the planet.
Renting your own car and driving north into the interior would give you the perfect opportunity to see the rest of the beautiful island. There are many secluded coves where you could stop to have a swim. Île des Pines can be reached via boat or by small aircraft. It is definitely worth a visit.
Pack some sunscreen, a few good books and you will be ready to unwind in this little slice of South Pacific heaven.
Written by Joseph Ramsey for The Essential Destination