Perched overlooking the life-filled reefs of Noumea Lagoon, Noumea is the vibrant and colourful capital of New Caledonia. Catch some shade in the city’s centre, below Coconut Palm Square, and absorb the vibrant fusion of French and Kanak cultures. Or take a leisurely open-air stroll along the waterfront, where white boats bob and jostle on the lapping waters. Bring your tongs - the local word for flipflops - there will be plenty of time to swim, sunbathe and leaf through paperbacks on dazzling beaches.
Noumea is a perfect jumping-off point for serene island adventures too. Enjoy a voyage to the island paradise of Amedee Isl - a tiny green land with a narrow historic lighthouse rocketing up from its centre. Climb 247 steps for the stunning view of the blotchy blue waters all around. Or, explore the waters to swim among turtles and orange clownfish. Set among the New Caledonian barrier reef, there are incredible diving opportunities, and glass-bottom boats offer you a dry window into the underwater world. Kick back on some of the softest sands imaginable and enjoy glorious sea views from the inviting shade of coconut palms.
More island jaunts like Illot Maitre - which translates as the Master Isle – tempt, where you’ll find idyllic strings of stilted bungalows laced across the crystal-clear, shallow waters. Swim in the sparkling sea, and sprawl across the white sand beaches that are waiting. Back in the city, try soft coconut crab, following a starter of New Caledonian prawns. Bougna is the traditional Melanesian meal of choice, and a social experience where locals share a mix of vegetables and chicken in coconut milk, slow-cooked for hours in a bed of banana leaves.