New Caledonia is the third largest island in the Pacific after Papua New Guinea and New Zealand and is located only 1,500km off the coast of Australia. New Caledonia is so named by the British navigator James Cook because it reminded him of his homeland of Scotland.
With an extraordinarily diverse landscape, the main island of New Caledonia is divided coast to coast by a mountainous range stretching down the middle of the island. The bush is home to large empty plains used for breeding this moves into lush river valleys, steep mountains, cool rainforests and wild coastlines. This itinerary takes you all around the main island so you will get to witness this fascinating country for yourself.
You'll be greeted at the airport and taken by shared transfer to your hotel in Noumea.
The rest of the day is yours to explore the capital city of Noumea at your leisure. With its cosmopolitan community, picturesque bays and plenty of restaurants and shops, there will be plenty to explore this afternoon.
After breakfast, make your way to the lobby of the hotel where your hire car will be dropped off. Once all the paperwork is sorted jump in the car and get on your way!
Today is the longest driving day and the whole journey will take almost 3 and a half hours, but why rush? This region is the home to the Caledonian farms, managed by the ‘broussards’ (bush locals); with their whips and cowboy hats they wouldn’t look out of place in an Western! These large, open plains are stunning at dusk when the land becomes shaded purple.
Today you cross the middle of the country to the east coast of New Caledonia and the village of Hienghene. Hienghene is one of the most famous villages in New Caledonia with its spectacular rock formations, many waterfalls and the highest peak of the Caledonian chain.
Here you can meet the locals and learn about tribal life, or walk the hiking trails to discover breath-taking scenery. Keen divers couls also dive the Great Barrier Reef from here.
Today is a short drive down the east coast to Poindimie, considered the 'capital' of the east coast. The humid climate on this coast produces lush vegetation and is a fantastic backdrop for hiking or horse riding and there are also some stunning waterfalls to visit in the valleys of Napoemien.
Today you can travel further down the east side of the island before heading inland to Sarramea. Set in a valley, Sarramea is the perfect setting for relaxation and a good starting out point for walking or riding in the forest.
You will travel right down to the southernmost point of New Caledonia today, to Port Boise. From July-September it's possible to see whales off the coast from here.
Today is free at leisure.
Today is your last day of driving, as you head back to the capital city of Noumea. Set off early so you can get to Noumea and make the most of a day in this city which is like a slice of France set in the Pacific. Noumea has a French Riviera atmosphere with plenty of luxury boutiques and little restaurants to enjoy.
The afternoon is free at leisure.
Your time in New Caledonia has come to an end and you will be collected from your hotel and taken to the airport for your onward journey.
New Caledonia has a temperate climate with two main seasons, cold and hot. Cold season runs from June to August and hot from mid-November to mid-April. In the cold season temperatures are approximately 24c during the day and 15c at night, for those wanting to hike this the perfect time to visit. For travellers wishing to lie in the sun the hot season temperatures are between 26c and 30c. Cyclone season is between January and March. Overall the best time to visit is between September and December.
Our itineraries are tailor-made to give you an idea of some of the possibilities in this diverse country! For you this means there are no date or time restraints as you are travelling independently. We have the flexibility to tailor your trip around exactly what you enjoy so let us know your dates, what you like doing and where you like staying, and we will do the rest!
8 nights in 3/3.5* standard accommodation. Hotels in this category include:
Le Chateau Royal Beach Resort & Spa, Noumea
Hotel La Nea, Kona