Diving & Snorkelling
New Caledonia has an enormously long barrier reef surrounding Grande Terre, and diving and snorkelling is a popular activity among visitors.
The best places to do it are the outer islands where you can just swim in from the beach and find fine reefs - the barrier reef around Grande Terre is mostly far out and requires expensive boat-charters to reach.
To be honest, I must admit though that compared to more tropical places further North like Papua New Guinea, the Solomons or Indonesia, I found New Caledonia's reefs quite dull, lacking in species diversity. This is no doubt due to the cooler climate here.
Don't be put off though, as most tourists were still very happy with what they saw here!
New Caledonia is home to 19 surviving species of endemic birds, and most of them, including the unique national bird, the kagu, can be seen quite readily if you know where to look.
Most birders only visit the Riviére Bleue park and Mount Koghis to tick off most endemics, but Mount Panié and the North-East in general have an even richer avifauna.
Unlike in Vanuatu or Papua New Guinea, the birds here tend to be relatively confiding and responsive to "pishing"!
The Grande Terre offers some of the best hiking in the South Pacific, with long, marked trails going through mountainous terrain.
Unfortunately, it can be a challange to find trail guides even in French, let alone in English!
Prime hiking areas would have to be Mount Panié for some strenous climbing, or the Riviére Bleue park for exploring the rainforest, but there are many, many more.
See the Sea in a Seadoo!
One of the best ways to explore the magnificent lagoons of New Caledonia is on a Seadoo.
There are companies all along the beachfronts of Noumea where you can rent jetskis and do other watersport activities.
It's best to get up early when there's less wind on the lagoon, and the waters are less choppy.
The lagoon is perfect for a few hours on the Seadoo or a day outing with a break and picnic on one of the little islands nearby.
Regulations are strict in the lagoon so as to avoid mishaps with the swimmers!
New Caledonia Hotels
143 Route de l'Anse Vata, Noumea, Grand Terre, 98845, New Caledonia
Good for: Couples
Kanumera Bay, New Caledonia
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
Paita Rue De Gadji, PAITA, New Caledonia, 98890, N
Good for: Business
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