New Caledonia oozes tranquillity and serenity with long white sandy stretches, clear waters and blue lagoons that brim with a marvel of tropical marine life. Head to the outer islands of Ouvéa, Isle of Pines and Maré for the best beaches and to Oro Bay on the Isle of Pines for a natural lagoon surrounded by pine trees.
It wouldn’t be a French colony without beautiful boulangeries for baguettes and croissants. For your dose of decadent pastries, head to Nouméa, and indulge in croissants, eclairs, macarons, baguettes and more.
The haute cuisine in New Caledonia combines French colonial and Pacific Island influences and makes the most of the local ingredients on offer, especially seafood and venison. Some of the chefs hail from Nouméa’s Lycee Professionnel Commercial et Hôtelier Auguste Escoffier, a name synonymous with world-class culinary training.
All meals are best served with at least one very generous glass of French wine. Similar to France, drinking fine wine goes hand-in-hand with socialising and the good life in New Caledonia. Most shops sell fine French still and sparkling wines. Visit Le Pavillon des Vins, Nouméa’s largest French wine shop, and Le Maison Ballande, which offers distinguished brands, including Comtesse du Barry and Bollinger.
Chocolate connoisseurs be warned—the artisan chocolate of Patrick Morand is intoxicating. The chocolatier fuses French technique with South Pacific twists and likes to meld sweet and savoury in treats that tantalise the taste buds in every bite.
New Caledonia’s natural mountainous landscape offers wonderful opportunities to view the beautiful terrain from high above the island. N’ga Peak is the highest summit in the Isle of Pines. It takes about an hour to climb the 859 feet (262m) to enjoy expansive views of the lagoon below.