New Caledonia: Isle of Pines

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There’s no better time to share with you the highlight of our trip around New Caledonia.

It’s a bit cold down here on the south of New Zealand at the moment so thinking about the Isle of Pines makes me feel a lot warmer. Oh, what a beautiful place!

You can get to the island by catamaran or by plane. We took a plane from Noumea and got there in less than 30 minutes. It was a short but nice flight across the lagoon, window seat is what you want.

If you want to go with the catamaran remember to book your ticket as soon as possible.

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Here are top things to do on the Isle of Pines.

Enjoy beautiful weather and be lazy at the white sand beach

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Kuto Beach

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Rent a scooter for a day

A perfect way to stroll around the island is on a scooter. We rented it for a day and it was enough to do a few rounds around the island.

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Taste fresh food

As soon as cruise ships arrive food stalls are at the Kuto Beach. From fresh juices to traditional dishes – this is where you can choose to taste something delicious.

Snails are specialty.

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Walk to the natural pool

The natural swimming pool is an enclosed lagoon located in Oro Bay on the northeast side of the island. Take your snorkeling gear with you.

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Wake up with this view

For us camping is the best way to experience beautiful mornings. There’s nothing better than waking up just a few steps from the sea…

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Trip to New Caledonia won’t be complete if you don’t visit at least one of the islands so make sure to include them in your travel plans. It will make your trip a bit more expensive but it’s definitely worth the money…

 

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What’s your favourite place?

Spring.

It’s been almost a year and a half since we moved to the far south and I have definitely found my favourite place here.

I really enjoyed capturing how this beautiful Invercargill’s park changes with the seasons.

Queens Park is 81ha of stunning gardens in the city centre. You need a few hours to explore it and still everytime I go there for a walk I find something I didn’t see before.

Tree lined walkaways, bush paths, winter garden, bird aviary with colourful parrots, Japanese garden, museum and a cafe will keep you here for hours.

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Summer.

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Autumn.

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Winter.

 

New Caledonia: Things to do in Bourail

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After a few days in Noumea we rented a car and headed up north. The plan is to drive along west coast to the northernmost point and then down the east coast back to Noumea.

Renting a car in New Caledonia is easy and the price is around $60 a day. Remember, they drive on the right side of the road.

The difference between renting a car in New Zealand and here is in insurance. You can’t get full insurance in New Caledonia, there is always an excess fee you have to pay in case of accident. Another thing to note are kilometres which are limited for every vehicle. For unlimited km you’ll have to pay more.

What also surprised me is internet data. There is internet coverage almost everywhere on the island but there’s no pre-paid sim cards with available data. You can buy a sim card but you can use it only for calling and sending texts. If you want to use data you have to take a monthly plan.

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Being without internet made this trip different. We are all used to using GPS, booking accommodation while on the road and checking out some of the spots to visit while we are driving around. This time we had the map and that’s it. I loved it! Let’s turn right here, let’s go left there without knowing what to expect, awesome! Camping sites are well signed so it wasn’t hard to find a place for a tent.

Our first stop was Bourail, about two hours north from Noumea.

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Here are some tips on what to do while you are here:

If you like long white sand beaches (Poe is 17km long sand beach), hiking, horse riding and wandering through nature reserve you will enjoy this place. Some parts here look like deserts and we did feel some of the highest temperatures here, it was around 40 degrees.

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Poe Beach

One of the most popular sights is Deva Domain, which is among the most ancient archaeological sites in New Caledonia.

For those who like to indulge in some of the great activities this domain has 80km of mountain biking tracks, 25km of walking paths and 12km of horse riding trails.

We climbed a hill to check out the view of so called ‘Sharks Fault’. As you can see a deep blue line makes a notch in the lagoon. This former river bed forms into canyon, a place for strong currents and many different species.

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You can take a walk around the resort located at the domain.

One more site worth a visit is Turtles Bay protected site and second best place in the Pacific for turtles to lay their eggs.

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A taste of travel

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Something sweet is always on the menu!

Is there anything better than traveling and tasting the food along the way in different countries? Hmmm, I don’t think there is!

I don’t know about you but I always remember the food I tried somewhere, I would even try and make it on my own when I return home.

Tasting local food and drinks of a destination makes the travel experience complete, especially for a foodie like me.

You have to agree, food and travel is a perfect match!

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Baklava in Sarajevo

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Belgium waffles in Bruges.

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Caramelized nuts in Sweden.

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Fluffy doughnut in New Zealand.

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Cinnamon bun in Gothenburg.

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Fresh local fruit in New Caledonia.

Bon appetit!

Sun is shining in Noumea

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Want to wake up here and have this view right in front of you? You just need to visit New Caledonia!

As a special collectivity of France in southwest Pacific Ocean this small island is a true piece of Europe in the middle of nowhere.

Hot summers with a sea temperature of around 26 degrees was one of the reasons why we chose this place as our holiday destination.

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Another thing I liked while reading about New Caledonia is that it’s not so crowded as other islands around here. In a way it’s not discovered yet and that’s what made it so attractive.

We flew from Auckland and it took us two and a half hours to get there, how great is that! We landed in Noumea, biggest town on the island. And I have to tell you it’s much bigger than we expected.

It took us around 45 minutes to get to the city centre from the airport. I’m going to give you one advice now – don’t take ‘Arc en ciel’ shuttle bus. There is a public transport which cost 280 XPF. It was Sunday evening when we got there and we had to take that shuttle which cost us 3000 XPF one way per person! More than ten times higher price!! Crazy, but we didn’t have a choice.

Many tourists in New Caledonia spend most or all of their time in Noumea (don’t do that). It is a great place, with beautiful sandy beaches, bars and restaurants along the coast and many places to visit on a day trip.

Duck Island.

A few things to note; New Caledonia is not a cheap place to go to. It depends a lot what kind of traveler you are. In Noumea we stayed in a backpackers and while traveling around the island we were camping so for us the accommodation wasn’t expensive. Interesting thing is that there is only one hostel in Noumea and there’s no camping grounds in the vicinity so our options were limited for the time spent in the city.

The view from our room in the backpackers. Beautiful!

When it is about buying a food, prices in supermarkets surprised me a lot. It’s more expensive than here in New Zealand. It’s almost cheaper to eat in a restaurant than to buy a meal for two in the supermarket. Other options for a quick delicious (cheaper) meal are small shops called Snack. You will see during lunch breaks in Noumea how busy those shops are when everyone rush there to grab a bite.

One thing I like to do when visiting other countries is stopping by at the market. The market in Nouma is open from Tuesday to Friday from 5am to midday. You can buy there delicious local fruit and veggies. It is located beside the marina at Port-Moselle.

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City centre is very busy until early afternoon. Everything close early in Noumea and everyone move from hot sunny streets to the beach. In case you are planning some shopping do it in the morning.

There’s not much going on in the centre in the evening, all the happenings are at the Anse Vata beach. It is the most vibrant part of Noumea and everyone is there.

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Place des Cocotiers (Coconut Square)

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City centre Christmas Festival at the Coconut Square.

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Anse Vata beach.

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One of the resorts in Noumea is called Le Meridien and you can walk there from Anse Vata beach. Great thing about the resorts in New Caledonia is that you can use their facilities even though you are not staying there. This resort has a great bar on the beach under the palm trees, perfect to hide from the sun a little bit.

Many day trips are available from Noumea, a lot of them go from Anse Vata. With a taxi boat you can get to the small islands close to town or you can take catamaran to the Amedee Lighthouse. There are only one or two companies which offer this trip to the lighthouse so you need to pay the whole package (from 15000 XPF), you can’t just pay for the boat ride.

We went to the Duck Island, it is just 10 minutes with a taxi boat from Noumea. It is a nice place for a half day trip. People come here to snorkel and gear is available for rent but it’s better to bring your own. There is an underwater trail you can follow to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Have in mind that there’s no a lot of shade on the beach.

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Ile aux Canards (Duck Island)

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First three days in New Caledonia went fast and it was time for us to hit the road around the island. More tips in my next post!

Happy traveling!

Travel to: New Caledonia

Bourail, New Cledonia

Hey guys!

It’s been a while but here I am back from the trip around New Caledonia. It was perfect! When deciding where to go during Xmas holidays this small Pacific country popped up and there we were standing on those beautiful sandy beaches, strolling around small villages and amazing islands for two weeks.

New Caledonia is still not crazy popular tourist destination and that’s a huge plus. It wasn’t hard to find unique, silent places with beautiful views of the lagoon.

When to go, where to go, how to travel around and what not to miss while in Nouvelle Caledonie you will read here in my next posts.

Happy travels!