Why New Caledonia deserves a spot on your bucket list

Apr 19, 2019
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The Heart of Voh is one of the many wonders of New Caledonia. Source: Getty

If you want to experience a Mediterranean-style getaway, but don’t actually want to fly all the way to Europe, then New Caledonia should be high on your list of places to visit.

This hidden gem in the South Pacific has become a popular destination for its culture, white sandy beaches and fascinating history. New Caledonia is located approximately 1,200 kilometres off the east coast of Australia, but is actually a French territory.

So if you’ve been wanting to explore this region’s many wonders, here are five spectacular suggestions.

Lagoon in New Caledonia

A trip to New Caledonia just wouldn’t be complete without a visit to its world-famous lagoon. Known as the largest lagoon in the entire world, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is celebrated for its deep beauty and marine life. For the best views of this extraordinary site take a seaplane out from either Poé Airfield or Sheraton Deva Beach, or explore the lagoon by boat for a chance to see marine life including turtles, dolphins, saltwater crocodiles and dugongs.

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Heart of Voh

The unofficial symbol of New Caledonia has to be this natural, perfect heart which has grown in a mangrove swamp near the township of Voh. It first came to the world’s attention when it graced the cover of renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s Earth from Above. The beauty of the Heart of Voh is best captured from the sky so consider booking a scenic flight to absorb the majestic view from above.

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New Caledonian Barrier Reef

Australia might have the largest reef in the world, but the second-largest can be found just a few hours away in stunning New Caledonia. The double-barrier coral reef surrounds Grande Terre, New Caledonia’s largest island, and several smaller islands. If you’re one for adventure, go on a snorkelling trip and explore this reef that is home to thousands of marine species.

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Isle of Pines

The Isle of Pines, also known as ‘the Jewel of the Pacific’, is one of the most spectacular islands in the region. Captain James Cook, on his second voyage to New Zealand, gave the island its name after seeing the tall native pines for which it is famous. And the island isn’t just known for its spectacular deserted beaches, it is also full of history. In 1872 the island became a French penal colony and was made home to more than 3,000 people from Paris. There are still remains from those days with a water tower, which was built by the prisoners in 1874, still standing in the village of Ouro.

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Madeline Falls

Madeline Falls, located in the Plain of Lakes near Yate, a South Province commune in New Caledonia’s Grand Terre Island, is one of the coolest travel spots to visit. At five metres tall, the block-type falls are not very high, but the contrasting colours of the surrounding scenery makes up for it. While swimming below the falls is prohibited, there are many decks nearby to explore the falls close-up.

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Have you been to New Caledonia before?

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