Described as a haven for divers, New Caledonia's extensive coral reef is home some of the most incredible diving sites in the planet. This dependent overseas territory of France lying in the western Pacific Ocean is situated to the east of Australia and west of Vanuatu. New Caledonia is not only home to spectacular beaches and offers great diving, it is also houses fantastic historical jewels as well.
Kick-start the trip by heading over to Noumea, its dynamic capital. Some of the attractions worth visiting are: Museum of New Caledonia (collection includes Kanak and Melanesian art and cultural items like spears, huts, weapons, decorations and boats), City of Noumea Museum ( houses many displays about living in Noumea during various historic periods), Michel Corbasson Zoological and Forest Park (also referred to as the Parc Forestier; houses a small zoo as well as offers nice forest strolls), Aquarium des Lagons (fantastic collection of Nautilus, well as great insight about the local marine life of the island).
Once the tallest in the planet, Amedee Lighthouse was built in Paris. Later after completion, the iron tower was sent to this island in pieces. Do climb the 247 steps to relish the panoramic vistas. Lying 70 km (45 miles) off Grande Terre, one can take a trip to Ile des Pins, which was found by Captain Cook in 1774. This gorgeous and exquisite island is home to a plethora of pristine white sand beaches, turquoise lagoons, lush rainforests, pines, orchids and ferns not to mention archaeological remains.
Fringed by coral reef barrier, 1,600 km (994 miles) long, New Caledonia exhibits the biggest lagoon in the planet. Apart from premium swimming and scuba diving available, one of the most incredible ways to navigate is by the kayak. Those who are of the adventurous kind can enjoy some snorkelling, diving in marine reserves and around sunken shipwrecks. Some of the incredible sites comprise of bays off Noumea, the Amedee Lighthouse Reserve (including shark feeding), La Dieppoise (Royal Navy shipwreck), Ilot Maitre and the peaceful Prony Needle.
When it comes to shopping, be on the lookout for French merchandise such as perfume, jewellery and footwear, and silk scarves, sandals and handbags. As for cuisine, do indulge in their local fare such as Mangrove oysters, salads of raw fish marinated in lime juice and Bougna (fish or chicken wrapped in banana leaves and cooked on hot stones covered with sand).
The stay options in New Caledonia are abundant with the best luxury hotels, cheap accommodations and rental apartments available for the tourists to decide which kind to opt for depending on their budget and taste.
New Caledonia experiences warm and subtropical climate. The best time to visit would be from April to August when it is the cool season as the temperatures are pleasant.