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New Caledonia

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Oceania : Melanesia : New Caledonia
Flag
Image:nc-flag.png
Quick Facts
CapitalNoumeaNoumea
GovernmentNA
CurrencyComptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (XPF): per US dollar - 96.04 (2004), 105.66 (2003), 126.71 (2002), 133.26 (2001), 129.43 (2000)
Areatotal: 19,060 sq km
water: 485 sq km
land: 18,575 sq km
Population207,858 (July 2002 est.)
LanguageFrench (official), 33 Melanesian-Polynesian dialects
ReligionRoman Catholic 60%, Protestant 30%, other 10%

New Caledonia (French:Nouvelle-Caledonie) is a dependent overseas territory of France lying in the western Pacific Ocean, in the Coral Sea, to the east of Australia and west of Vanuatu. The territory consists of the main island of Grand Terre, the archipelago of the Loyalty Islands (Iles Loyaute), and numerous small, sparsely populated islands and atolls.

New Caledonia offers stunning beaches, mountaintop fondue in chalets, camping, amazing snorkelling and diving, and fabulous French food.

new caledonia Travel Guide :

New Caledonia

Regions

Map of New CaledoniaMap of New Caledonia
Map of New Caledonia

New Caledonia includes:

  • Grand TerreGrand Terre - The main island. It is one of the largest islands in the Pacific. The barrier reef lying off New Caledonia is second only to the Great Barrier reefGreat Barrier reef in size.

The main tourist destinations are:

  • Île de Pins - Was one of the few places in the Pacific with trees tall and sturdy enough to provide replacement masts for ships.
  • Loyalty IslandsLoyalty Islands (Iles Loyaute)
New Caledonia

Cities

  • NoumeaNoumea is the capital city.
  • Hiéngène, on the Grande TerreGrande Terre
  • BourailBourail is the farmer town.

Ports and harbors

  • MueoMueo
  • ThioThio
  • Port BousiePort Bousie
New Caledonia

Other destinations

  • North province
  • South province
New Caledonia

Understand

The people of New Caledonia are split into three major groups:

  • the native Kanaks
  • French citizens working in Noumea
  • descendants of French prisoners

There is a general move towards independence in New Caledonia and it was decided in the Nouméa Accord that the territorial Congress will have the right to call for a referendum on independence after 2014, at a time of its choosing.

New Caledonia

History

Settled by both Britain and France during the first half of the 19th century, the island was made a French possession in 1853. It served as a penal colony for four decades after 1864.

The islands have been an overseas territory of France since 1956.

The 1988 Matignon Accords grant substantial autonomy to the islands; formerly under French law. Agitation for independence during the 1980s and early 1990s seems to have dissipated. A referendum on independence was held in 1998 but did not pass; a new referendum is scheduled for 2014.

National holiday 
Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
New Caledonia

Climate

Tropical; modified by southeast trade winds; hot, humid. The islands are subject to tropical cyclones, most frequent from November to March.

New Caledonia

Geography

The main island of New Caledonia is one of the largest in the Pacific Ocean and its terrain consist of coastal plains with interior mountains.

highest point 
Mont Panie 1,628 m

Grand Terre is rich in minerals, and is an important source of many ores. There is a mountainous interior green with subtropial foliage. The outlying islands are coral based, and have stunning white sand, and sport palm trees.

New Caledonia

Economy

New Caledonia has about 25% of the world's known nickel resources. In recent years, the economy has suffered because of depressed international demand for nickel, the principal source of export earnings. Only a small amount of the land is suitable for cultivation, and food accounts for about 20% of imports. In addition to nickel, the substantial financial support from France and tourism are keys to the health of the economy. The situation in 1998 was clouded by the spillover of financial problems in East Asia and by lower prices for nickel. Nickel prices jumped in 1999-2000, and large additions were made to capacity. Strikes in the building industry in 2001, which lasted four months, adversely affected many other sectors of the economy. French Government interests in the New Caledonian nickel industry are being transferred to local ownership.

New Caledonia

Get in

New Caledonia

By plane

Air France provides direct flights from Paris. Regular flights from Tokyo, as New Caledonia is very popular with the Japanese. Flights from various Pacific nations, New Zealand, Australia, and SouthEast Asia. There aren't many flights, so beware of availability and there is little or no competition on routes, so be very wary of high flight prices.

New Caledonia

By boat

Noumea is a popular port of call for people sailing around the Pacific. Though most dare not sail during cyclone season.

New Caledonia

Get around

New Caledonia

Rent a car

Cheapest are:

  • Red point (requires drivers above 24 years of age)
  • Loco-a-choc
New Caledonia

Catch a bus

The buses aren't too bad and go pretty much everywhere, but they aren't frequent.

New Caledonia

Hitching

It is possible, but I wouldn't advise it. Around celebrations there are many drunk drivers on the roads.

New Caledonia

See

  • The Jean Marie Tjibaou Center The center was a gift from the French Government. The architect was Renzo Piano, an italian architect.
  • Botanical garden
  • Wandering along the waterfront in Noumea - Baie des Citrons and Anse Vata.
New Caledonia

Do

  • Snorkelling, diving, windsurfing
    • Îlot Canard just outside the Anse Vata is a good place for beginners
    • Aguille de Prony is an amazing underwater structure in the Prony bay south of Noumea
  • relaxing, tanning, and generally doing nothing
    • Baie des Citrons and the Anse Vata are common beaches at the Noumea peninsula
    • Îlot Maitre has a resort. This can be reached by taxi boat from the Anse Vata, and by boat from the Baie de Mouselle
    • Numerous other tourist resorts can be found throughout the Grande Terre and Île des Pins
  • eating French and local cuisine
  • hiking, camping
    • Parc Rivière Bleu in the Yaté region south of Noumea
    • Joining a hiking group is generally a good idea, since you then can really enjoy the great scenery without fear of getting lost, or having to stick with conventional tourist spots....
New Caledonia

Talk

The official language is French, and it is difficult to find English speakers outside of Noumea. In Noumea, French, English, and Japanese are widely spoken at hotels, restaurants, and shops. To enjoy a place like this, you should really endeavour to learn some French.

New Caledonia

Buy

The cartoon series La Brousse en Folie and Le Sentier Des Hommes by Bernard Berger will give you an insight in the local culture and tradition. The comics are written in French, the former imitating the local accent and grammar (or lack thereof)

Other than that, plenty of conventional souvenirs shops may be found throughout Noumea.

New Caledonia

Costs

New Caledonia is very expensive, since much of the food needs to be imported. There is no culture of bargaining either and attempting might cause offence.

New Caledonia

Eat

  • Bougna, a traditional meal among the native Melanesians, which consists of some form of meat, pork, chicken, fruitbat, crab, etc, along with roots such as yams and sweet potatoes. This is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked under hot rocks heated in a fire.
  • Coconut crabs
  • Fruitbats
  • All fruits here seem to taste very good

Buy food from local markets, which are common to almost every town.

Restaurants are expensive. You can eat quite well for about 10EUR at a couple of joints opposite the library in town. For travellers on a budget, you'll need to observe what the Kanaks do for the best deals.

New Caledonia

Drink

Try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kava

You can recognise a Kava bar by a red light outside and dim lighting inside.

It is about 100CFP compared to 500CFP for a beer, so about a fifth of the price.

You drink the Kava immediately once you've purchased it and then go off to a dark bench to chill.

New Caledonia

Sleep

There is only one affordable hostel in town.

New Caledonia

Learn

New Caledonia

Work

New Caledonia

Voluntary service

Volontariat Civil à l'Aide Technique (VCAT (http://www.outre-mer.gouv.fr/outremer/front?id=outremer/a_votre_service/volontariat_civil___l_aide_technique_1045663353938/publi_P_vcat_remise_en_forme_1084201024219)). Conditions: you must be French or from another EU-member state or a country belonging to the European Economic Area. You must be over 18 and under 28 years old (inclusive). You must not have had your civic rights revoked by a court or have been convicted of certain offences.

New Caledonia

Stay safe

New Caledonia is fairly safe.

  • When snorkelling, one should avoid direct contact with poisonous sea urchins, as well as avoid sustaining scrapes from coral structures, which tends to cause irritations and swelling.
  • A seasnake known locally as the Tricot Rayé has a potentially lethal venom, but the snake is not aggressive when left alone, and only attacks when threatened.
  • There are sharks, though rarely Great White Sharks. They can be quite big mind and you basically avoid shark attacks by:
    • Not having caught (bleeding) fish near yourself
    • Facing the shark, so to the shark you look large, vertical and difficult to bite
New Caledonia

Stay healthy

Iodine or a similar disinfectant is invaluable to fight off small infections, which quite commonly occurs in most sores and scratches.

Some mosquitos carry the dengue virus, if you are close to areas with many mosquitos, use mosquito repellent (stuff with lots of DEET). Consult the nearest tourist information office or medical clinic (dispansaire) for more information.

New Caledonia

Respect

New Caledonia

Contact


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