New Caledonia is an island paradise and one of Australia’s closet neighbours.
Here are some things that might surprise you:
- It’s a 3.5 hour flight from Melbourne, making it closer than Fiji and Vanuatu.
- Being a French territory, the currency is French Pacific Franc (XPF)
- Outside of Australia, it has the largest UNESCO protected coral reef in the world.
- They have a newly elected woman president.
- The population is a mix of Kanak people (the original inhabitants of New Caledonia), people of European descent (Caldoches and Metropolitan French), Polynesian people (Wallisians essentially), and Southeast Asian people.
So what does all of that mean essentially?
You can be in France in four hours experiencing pristine beaches, speaking French and eating French food. Who knew?!
Aircalin now fly direct from Melbourne, which means that you can leave Friday afternoon and be there by sundown for cocktails over a lagoon.
There is of course much more to experience in New Caledonia, and over the course of the week I’m going to share what I got up to when I travelled there recently as a guest of the New Caledonian Tourism Board and Aircalin.
In the meantime, I think these pictures taken on the Isle of Pines should give you a pretty good starting point of what to expect…