When is the Best Time to Visit New Caledonia?
Thinking of holidaying in New Caledonia? Get more from your South Pacific escape by planning your visit around the best time to visit New Caledonia for your needs. Whether you’re looking to stretch your holiday budget further, are chasing the best weather or are looking to get active in the great outdoors, there’s a perfect time to visit New Caledonia for everyone.
When is the best time to visit New Caledonia for the best weather?
If you’re chasing the sun, it’s best to avoid the archipelago’s rainy season, which reaches its peak in February. Although February is often rainier than other months, on average, there are only 20 days throughout the year where the sun doesn’t shine in New Caledonia, so you can just about expect blue skies and sunshine during your visit, regardless of the time of year. For a greater guarantee of fairer weather, plan your visit to coincide with the region’s dry season, which falls between April and May, and September and November.
With an average temperature of 24°C in the shade all year round, and warmer days of 27°C to 28°C common throughout the months of December, January and February, you don’t really need to worry about cold weather in New Caledonia unless you’re planning a stay in the mountains.
When is the best time to visit New Caledonia for outdoor activities?
Wanting to get active and enjoy the best of the great outdoors during your visit to New Caledonia? If you’re thinking of setting out on a hike, enjoying a horse riding adventure or teeing off a round or two of golf, the period between June and September is ideal. During these months, temperatures are still warm, but the humidity is much lower, making getting active and taking part in a variety of outdoor activities more comfortable than at the height of summer. Even during the region’s cooler months, average temperatures continue to hover at around 20°C to 22°C, which is still very pleasant.
When is the best time to visit New Caledonia for the best prices?
As with any destination around the world, travelling to New Caledonia at the right time of the year can help you stretch your holiday budget further. If you’re searching for the best prices for flights, hotels and activities, consider visiting before or after Australian school holiday periods. Typically falling in January, April, July, September and December each year, planning a visit to the archipelago during these months will often see you paying a bit more for flights and accommodation as demand increases.
If you can travel outside of school holidays, the region’s low seasons (November to mid-December and February to April) are still good times to travel. With great weather throughout the year, and fewer visitors during these periods, there’s always plenty to see and do during a visit to this gorgeous corner of the globe.
When is the best time to visit New Caledonia for diving and snorkelling?
Surrounded by the world’s largest lagoon and the world’s second largest barrier reef, it comes as no surprise that New Caledonia and its islands are a much loved destination for diving and snorkelling enthusiasts. Thanks to the archipelago’s great weather year round, you can spend time diving or snorkelling at any time of the year, however, some times of the year do tend to offer better visibility. If you’re seeking better visibility (approximately 30m to 40m) and the opportunity to see whales in the wild, consider planning your visit from June to October, when the wind and rain are less likely to affect your underwater adventure.
With the right gear, you can snorkel and dive in New Caledonia at any time of the year as water temperatures tend to remain quite pleasant all year round. During the cooler months, from July to September, you can expect the average water temperature to sit around 21°C to 22°C, while the height of summer, from January to March, offers very comfortable temperatures of 26°C to 28°C.
When is the best time to visit New Caledonia for lazing by the beach and watersports?
As a sunkissed destination situated in the midst of the South Pacific, it’s easy to understand why holidaymakers flock to New Caledonia’s shores to laze on unspoiled beaches or try their hand at a wide variety of thrilling watersports propelled by the trade winds that blow throughout the year. Whether you’re wanting to have a go at kitesurfing, are eager to learn how to surf or would rather take some time to kickback, relax and unwind, New Caledonia’s warmer months, from December to February offer some of the best conditions. Temperatures sit between 26°C and 28°C during this period, with the water providing a refreshing escape from the warm Pacific sun.
Ready to see the best of New Caledonia? Align your travel plans with the best time to visit New Caledonia for your needs and experience the best of this breathtaking archipelago, from Nouméa and the Isle of Pines to Ouvéa, Tiga and beyond.
8 Best things to do in New Caledonia
New Caledonia is more than your typical beach destination. It offers hiking, camping, snorkeling, diving, amazing french food, mountain chalets and of course paradisiac beaches… In this article we will explore all the best things to do in New Caledonia and why it should be your next travel destination.
New Caledonia is an archipelago located in Melanesia, in the Western Pacific Ocean, about 1200 km East of Australia and 2000 km north of New Zealand. It includes Grande Terre (the main island), the Loyalty Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Chesterfield Islands, the Isle of Pines, and a few remote islets and atolls.
Despite being about 16 000 km from continental France, New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France, speaks French, and has some great French cuisine. Curiously, New Caledonia is the piece of land located furthest from its sovereign country.
Best Things to do in New Caledonia
#1 Explore Noumea
Noumea is the capital city of New Caledonia and a city made to roam and explore. Particularly for those who like to immerse in the local culture and learn about its history and heritage. Besides its own attractiveness, Noumea is the best place to stay if you want to do day trips to the pristine islands, to the trails and other attractions spread through Grande Terre.
In Noumea, you can find several museums, art galleries, and theaters making it the true artistic core of the country. There are still some colonial houses like Maison Célières, Château Hagen and the old Nouméa City Hall, which are great sights when roaming around the town.
The Promenade, Sebastopol Street, and Alma Street are the 3 main streets you shouldn’t miss when visiting Noumea, while Baie des Citrons, Anse Vata Bay, the World War 2 museum, and Ouen Toro are the 4 biggest tourist attractions in Noumea.
#2 Hike to Mont Dore
The summit of Mont-Dore dominates the panorama south to Noumea and provides magnificent views of the town, the islands, and the lagoons.
The hike is about 7 km and is fairly difficult mostly because it has some steep parts. You should count with about 4 hours to do this trail. There are several ways up, but the most beautiful is probably the cliff trail.
#3 Discover Mare
It’s difficult to choose the most fascinating island in New Caledonia, but Mare is certainly a great contender. Mare offers its visitors incredible views mixed with an exceptionally rich history and a strong identity.
Despite this, Mare is still a largely wild and untouched island, yet it has many interesting things to do and see. Among Mare’s attractions we need to highligh a few:
- The Shabadran terraces – These are somehow difficult to reach, but well worth the time and effort. They are some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
- Warrior’s leap – a must-see place for anyone going to Mare, these jagged and sharp cliffs are picturesque. The legend says that a warrior jumped these cliffs to escape his enemies. The leap is 5-7 meters wide, it isn’t a good idea to try it yourself…
- Natural Aquarium – a shallow natural pool with emerald water created by coral walls and supplied with a subterranean source. This large and shallow lake is a refuge for turtles and fish. It’s an astonishing place, but note that swimming is prohibited.
#4 Biking, hiking and kayking in Blue River Provincial Park
The Blue river park is easily the most popular park in New Caledonia. This provincial park offers great hiking, biking, and kayaking opportunities.
We strongly advise you to hire bikes in the park and cycle along the paths. It’s a truly wonderful way of getting to know the park. Or on the other hand, enjoy a paddle in one of the kayaks down the sky blue waters of the Blue River.
#5 Go snorkeling on a huge lagoon
The New Caledonian barrier reef is the longest continuous barrier reef in the world and the second largest after the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. With almost 1500km long, it surrounds Grande Terre, Isle of Pines, and a few other smaller ones.
With such a long reef and marvelous beaches, there are snorkeling opportunities spread all over New Caledonia. The water in this enormous lagoon holds an incredible variety of fish and other sea animals in a kaleidoscope of colors and forms that will make your mind blow.
#6 Do a day trip to Amédée Island
Amedee island is a special marine reserve within the 24,000 km² coral reef lagoon of New Caledonia and probably the best day trip from Noumea. The island is home to the Amedee lighthouse, built in 1865 to provide ships with safe passage through a small break in the reef. This is the Boulari passage, which leads to Noumea.
You can take a private boat or go as part of a day tour on the island, with plenty of things to do – look at turtles from the glass-bottomed boat, visit the reef break, swim, snorkel and so on…
However, most importantly you should climb the lighthouse for great views across the lagoon. With 56 meters high, this famous landmark is an imposing attraction, but those views are breathtaking…
#7 Relax in Isle of Pines
It’s difficult to picture a more dreamy place than the Isle of Pines… It has everything you want from a paradisiac island, snow-white sand beaches, palm trees, turquoise lagoons, a coral reef booming with life… and the exotic bonus of pine trees in a tropical island…
The Isle of Pines is very popular as a romantic getaway and sometimes viewed as a honeymoon destination. Well, let’s face it, it is… but it’s more than only that. For us, Isle of Pines is a place where you have time to relax, as a couple or not…
It’s not that you don’t have plenty of things to do… You can go snorkeling or diving in the reefs, hiking in the interior of the island, kayaking, and swimming on the bays, sunbathing in beach and so on… But, it’s the slow pace of the island lifestyle that will make you unwind.
#8 Enjoy the local food
Despite being on the other part of the planet, New Caledonia is part of France, and it’s been part of France for many years now. France’s influence in the cuisine is obvious and everywhere. It’s fairly easy to find French food and French-influenced food like croissants, French cheeses, chocolates, wines.
Yet, you can also find traditional Polynesian food, which is pretty exotic but delicious. When it comes to local food you should try the Bougna, a dish which combines chicken and fish with bananas, sweet potatoes, yams and coconut milk all wrapped in banana leaves.
However, we believe you’ll find it way more interesting to taste the food that mixes the French technique (and quality) with the exotic touch of South Pacific cuisine and heritage while making the most of local ingredients. Things like: Unicorn fish poached in Malibu and white wine, served with mashed potatoes and saffron scented mussels, asparagus, and broad beans sound pretty good, right?
Best time to visit New Caledonia
New Caledonia has a nice semi-tropical climate, with a hot and rainy season, and a cooler and drier season. The average temperatures go as low as 20º average in cooler months and 28º in the hottest. The Summers are hot and humid and go between December and March, while winters are cooler and drier are between June and September.
You should be aware that cyclones are possible in New Caledonia, usually from November to May, though they are most likely from late December to early April.
The best time to visit New Caledonia is probably during October and November. During this time, temperatures are already going up and there’s little rain yet. During the colder months it may be chilly for sunbathing and swimming and during summers there’s a higher probability of rain…
What to pack when traveling to New Caledonia
When it comes to clothing, it really depends on what will be your activities and mostly when you are traveling to New Caledonia. In the winter (from June to August) you should bring light clothes for the day, but don’t forget long sleeve clothes and possibly a light jacket for the evening; a light raincoat will also be needed. In the summer (from December to February): bring tropics-friendly, loose-fitting clothing, a sun hat, a light sweatshirt for the evening, and even a light raincoat.
Other items you really shouldn’t forget to bring to New Caledonia include:
- – In New Caledonia you are always close to the water so additional protection to your phone is a good idea. – While traveling you may end up without access to electricity for long periods of time, so a power bank will help you make sure you always have your phone and camera working. – Let’s be honest, New Caledonia is pretty amazing but it’s far from everything, even Australia and New Zealand. Your flight will be long, or very long… Check here our full neck pillows buying guides. – You’ll visit wonderful places in New Caledonia and you’ll do some adventure activities. A Go Pro is easily the best way to save those moments forever. – If you are into snorkeling or diving, or kayaking or any water activity then, you really should take a waterproof dry bag. Tip: if you get a bigger one, you may even use it as a day pack on some occasions. – As you already know by now, New Caledonia has some serious snorkeling spots and sometimes they are just off the beach. If you take your own gear you won’t need to rent every time you want to snorkel. You’ll save a ton and it’s much more hygienic. – the reefs are sharp and will cut your feet… it’s so much easier and safer to take water shoes and don’t worry about it anymore… – New Caledonia has some amazing day trips, hiking trips, full-day tours, and so on. We strongly advise you to take a small, light backpack to use on these trips. It’s also very useful if you are going to the smaller islands for the day…
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15 Best Things to Do in New Caledonia On Your First Visit
New Caledonia is a heavenly paradise for travellers seeking peace and calm from the hustle and bustle of the city. The archipelago is home to gorgeous beaches, picturesque landscapes, rich culture and plenty of fun activities for your holiday.
If it’s your first time travelling to this tropical island, we’ve narrowed down our top 15 New Caledonia tourist attractions to include in your itinerary.
15 Exciting Things to Do in New Caledonia
Marvel at the Heart of Voh
The first attraction on our bucket list is a natural wonder that has captivated the hearts of many travellers—La Cœur de Voh. True to its name, this mangrove swamp is shaped like a heart.
The area is best seen by air but you can enjoy the view from Mount Kathépaïk. This mountain has a viewing deck that’s 400 metres tall.
Hiking enthusiasts can go on a trekking adventure to Mont-Dore in the Great South. The summit of this golden mountain stretches 800 metres above sea level. Start your hike from the suburbs for a spectacular view. A stunning panoramic view of Noumea and the Grand Terre awaits you on the summit.
Experience Kanak Culture in Tjibaou Cultural Centre
A visit to New Caledonia isn’t complete without learning about its indigenous culture. A great place to start is in the Tjibaou Cultural Centre. Explore Kanak culture, history and art through the centre’s photographs, paintings, sculptures and other cultural artefacts.
The museum is home to contemporary Kanak architecture that artfully blends with the surrounding woodlands. Explore the rich cultural and natural landscape of New Caledonia with our Ponant – Revealing the Mysteries of Melanesia holiday package.
Visit the Mwa Ka Monument
The Mwâ Ka is a hallmark of Kanak’s rich culture. Erected in 2014, the totem pole is 12 metres tall and has 8 different levels representing the 8 regions of the archipelago.
The monument celebrates the unique Kanak identity and its multiple ethnicities. You can find the famed landmark right across the New Caledonia Museum.
Learn History in Fort Tereka
If you’re a history buff, don’t forget to add Fort Tereka to your list of must-visit places. Once an abandoned 19th-century military port, it is now one of the most famous landmarks in New Caledonia.
Learn about the history behind this fortress on foot or by bike. Explore the canons, lookouts, tunnels and gunpowder holdings inside this mighty fort.
Study the Fishes in Aquarium des Lagons
Families with young children can enjoy an educational trip to the Aquarium des Lagons Nouvelle Noumea. Meet the sea creatures living in the waters of New Caledonia, such as sea snakes, sharks, stingrays and giant clams. Watch out for the beautiful nautilus and the iridescent flashlight fish hiding behind colourful living corals!
Experience the Serenity of Amedee Island
The tropical beach of your dreams lies in the coral atoll close to Noumea Island. Enjoy a swim in the ocean or snorkel with thousands of offshore fish.
The tall white lighthouse is a historic landmark that has been around since 1865. Be amazed by the sweeping ocean views when you reach the top.
Surf in the Anse Vata Beach
Let Anse Vata Beach feeds your adventurous spirit with its breathtaking cerulean waves. On a breezy day, you can enjoy kitesurfing and windsurfing.
Try water sports activities like snorkelling by the pier. Then after a long day at the sea, sit back and admire the sunset across the horizon.
Snorkel in the Ile aux Canards
When visiting Anse Vata Beach, you can’t miss out on the nearby Ile aux Canards. This idyllic island is home to the best snorkelling spots in New Caledonia. Follow a trail of buoys under the sea and spot bright-coloured corals along the way.
The island’s beach is charming, so feel free to stroll along the golden beach. Or better yet, soak in the Pacific sun while sitting on a beach chair.
Explore the Wonders of Aquarium Naturelle
The Aquarium Naturelle in the south of Tadine isn’t your typical aquarium. Instead of huge tanks, a landlocked swimming pool awaits.
This natural wonder is tucked between staggering cliffs and turquoise seas. Keep an eye out for turtles, Napoleon fish and other sea creatures swimming along the clear waters.
Traverse the Grotte de la Reine Hortense
Embark on an adventure in the mystical caves of Grotte de la Reine Hortense. Reach this cavern by taking a short hike through the deep woods and lush tropical gardens. This cave will welcome you with a large opening adorned by stalactites.
Here’s an interesting tidbit of info about the cavern: it once sheltered Queen Hortense, the wife of a local chief, during an intertribal conflict in 1855.
Go Cycling in the Blue River National Park
The Blue River National Park is another must-visit place in the Great South. It’s home to stunning Grand Terre natural attractions, such as the Sunken Forest, Giant Kaori and the Blue River. It’s also a hotspot for Kagu birds and native kauri trees.
The best way to explore this provincial park is by bike, but feel free to explore the park on foot.
Explore the Place des Cocotiers
After a long day of sightseeing, unwind in the Place des Cocotiers. This city plaza is home to surprises and lies in the heart of the capital of New Caledonia.
Take a romantic stroll along the square’s wide walkways until you reach the top. At the peak, you’ll find the majestic Band Rotunda, a pavilion built in the late 1800s. Take your nature walk further and visit the lush botanical garden nearby.
Savour New Caledonian Cuisine
This Pacific gem takes you on an extraordinary culinary journey you’ve never experienced before. You’ll never run out of things to dine on in New Caledonia because of its traditional meals and fusion dishes. You can even participate in food festivals!
For an authentic local culinary experience, sink your teeth in traditional bougna. It’s a Kanak dish filled with yams, sweet potatoes, coconut milk and pieces of chicken, fish or lobster wrapped in a banana leaf.
Shop at the Port Moselle Market
Before you leave this tropical paradise, drop by the street markets in Port Moselle at least once. It’s easy to spot because of its bright blue roofs and hexagonal structure.
You’ll have plenty of options to choose from, including stalls selling fresh produce, stylish French patisseries and chic souvenir shops.
Visit New Caledonia for Your Next Holiday
New Caledonia is brimming with natural wonders and fun experiences for first-time travellers. Whether you’re a history buff or a nature lover, this Pacific sanctuary has a place for you.
Make your dream tropical holiday come true with us. Check out our New Caledonia holiday packages today.