The next morning we set off on our short flight from Sydney to New Caledonia. The capitol of New Caledonia is Noumea, a coastal city of maybe 100,000 people and certainly the largest in the country. The airport is a 50 minute drive to Noumea and cost us $35 per person. This was our first sign that New Caledonia was going to be as expensive as we’d been told. It ended up being worse than we’d thought.
We arrived at our hotel, the Ramada Plaza, at one in the afternoon and settled in to our room before striking out in search of food. The room was very spacious and comfortable with a full kitchen, laundry room, and huge ocean view balcony, to boot!
That night we went to a French restaurant near the hotel and had an amazing meal of escargot, duck confit, and filet mignon for the small sum of about $120. As it turned out, just about every dinner was at least $100… it is just a very expensive place even if you’re not eating at a fancy French restaurant. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a grocery store and spent $40 on sandwich and breakfast things, which only lasted us a couple of meals. Does this look like $40 worth of food to you?!
Everyone speaks French in New Caledonia, and it was difficult to communicate most of the time. I definitely should have spent more time brushing up on my French before the trip! That’s what we get for going to a French-speaking country without a solid grasp of the language.
The next morning we hiked up to a scenic viewpoint in the city to look out over the bay and beach. Although it was cloudy, we did get some decent pictures even if they don’t do the brilliant colors of the water justice.
At the very top of this small mountain there still are cannons left by the Australians after WWII. The Americans also had a historical monument in the city, although for some reason we didn’t get a picture of that. Fail.
On our third day there the sun finally came out and it warmed up enough to go hang out on the beach as well as do some snorkeling. Windsurfers were everywhere, and so much fun to watch!
After a lunch of lamb pizza (yum)! We took a taxi boat to Ile Aux Canard (Duck Island) to snorkel. Shortly after this picture was taken, we dropped the camera and the lens wouldn’t reopen so we had to prop it open with a piece of coral.
The next day, Thursday, we went scuba diving and saw giant sea turtles, lesser barracuda, white tip reef sharks and too many beautiful tropical fish to count. Unfortunately, we didn’t have an underwater camera so I have no pictures to share of the experience here.
On our last full day in New Caledonia, we went back to Ile Aux Canard and snorkeled our little hearts out, getting stung by dozens of tiny jellyfish in the process but it was worth it. We flew out on Saturday morning and headed to Auckland to start our journey in New Zealand, which will be the next blog post!
If you would like to see more pictures of our time in paradise, view them here!
Videos from our trip can be viewed here!
If you would like more detailed information on our visit to New Caledonia including where to eat, what to do, and how to get around feel free to email me at MissusMcTraveler@gmail.com