Honeymooning in New Caledonia
For many, France is one of the most romantic places in the world. However, it’s oh-so-far away. Fortunately, New Caledonia offers a dose of French romanticism closer to home, making it a perfect honeymoon getaway.
Between taking in the luxurious blue hues of the South Pacific sitting perfectly alongside New Caledonia’s swaying palm trees and tropical breezes to experiencing the delicious French and Melanesian gastronomy, pristine beaches and world-class hotels, New Caledonia will sweep you off your feet.
If you’re about to say “I Do” and looking for the perfect place to celebrate, here are a few reasons why New Caledonia should be top of your list…
WHAT TO DO
Enjoy the romantic flavours of New Caledonia:
- Wine: A French passion
In New Caledonia, the taste of wine is synonymous with pleasure and socialising. There are wine shops offering both prestigious French wines, but also more reasonably priced vintages.
- Fall for the chocolate
If you’re a chocolate connoisseur, you won’t be able to resist the urge to sample some made-in-New-Caledonia chocolate. Shops to visit include the workshop of Morand, the master chocolatier and creator of marvels in the Latin Quarter in Nouméa, Uncle Jules and the Golden Caboose.
- Wine and dine
While Paris is home to some of the world’s best restaurants, Nouméa is definitely the haute-cuisine hub of the South Pacific, with over 150 restaurants catering to all tastes and budgets. Noumea’s innovative chefs fuse contemporary tastes to perfection, marrying the richness of French cuisine with the freshness of the local Melanesian fare in a seamless blend of flavours.
Restaurants to try include:
- Au P’tit Café: According to locals this restaurant is “one of the best in town”. The menu changes regularly but serves traditional French cuisine utilising fresh Pacific produce.
- Restaurant Le 1881: A beach-side restaurant that enjoys a rich history - it is located in the grounds of the former penal settlement dating back to the late 19th century. It is one of Nouméa’s most exciting restaurants with an Australian-trained mixologist behind the bar and a former Michelin-starred chef in the kitchen. The restaurant serves modern French-Pacific cuisine and has an extensive wine list.
Visit the stunning Heart of Voh:
Made famous by an iconic aerial shot from photographer Yann Arthus Bertrand, this breathtaking love-heart in the Northern Province of Grande Terre has been formed naturally over time by mangroves. Take a day trip to explore some of the North and the Heart of Voh, with a guided hike or self-drive. Alternatively, take a helicopter flight over the top of Mount Katépei, enjoying spectacular views of the Heart of Voh, lagoon, reef and surrounding mountain range.
Discover La Roche Percée, Turtle Bay and Lovers’ Bay:
Lace up your walking shoes, and enjoy the Three-Bay Trail, one of the most attractive pathways on the Bourail coastline and on the West Coast. As to Lovers’ Bay in particular, its name comes both from a legend about two young lovers from rival tribes and the intimate ambience of the beach. Perfectly secluded from public view, and surrounded by pandan trees, it certainly offers a romantic setting for a rendezvous between lovers!
Spend a moment together, just the two of you…over a picnic:
Nouméa has a great mix of coastal and inland picnic spots to make the most of your holiday. Gather your basket of gourmet food and wine, add a fresh baguette and shake out the picnic blanket. With plenty of beautiful places to enjoy your picnic, you'll get to take in beautiful sights, culinary treats and each other’s’ company, all in one.
- Idyllic islands
Hire a boat, enjoy a boat tour or take a water taxi out to Duck Island (L’île aux Canards). Only a very short distance from Anse Vata, the island is a favourite location for picnics and water sports, such as windsurfing. You can hire deck chairs and snorkelling gear to explore and swim off lunch.
- Tropical beaches
The many beaches around Nouméa make great spots to soak in the tropical atmosphere. To venture beyond the popular Anse Vata and Baie des Citrons, take the local bus or a taxi to Kuendu Beach, in Nouville. A favourite with the locals, it’s a popular spot for picnics and a game of pétanque (boules) on the sand.
- Take in a sunset or two together on New Caledonia’s Loyalty Islands:
In the middle of the South Pacific, off the coast of New Caledonia and far from congested mass tourism routes, lie three hidden pearls of pristine beauty, three islands of legend and tradition…The islands of Lifou, Maré and Ouvéa (indigenous names: Drehu, Nengone and Laii) make up the Loyalty Islands, a trio of islands that lie roughly 190km to the east of the main New Caledonian island of Grand Terre. The Loyalty Islands offer visitors the ultimate luxury: kilometres of beaches with spotless sand and perfect curves, as flawless as ever. The Loyalty Islands are also surrounded by crystal clear water beaches such as Luengoni Beach, Easo Beach (Lifou), Yejele Beach (Maré) and Mouli Beach (Ouvea).
- Each island has its own character:
On Ouvéa, the combined beauty of the sky, the lagoon and the flora have earned it the title of the ‘closest island to paradise’. This is a well-deserved title for the island, which offers a fabulous white sand beach stretching for almost 25km, majestic coconut plantations and extraordinary diving sites, especially around the Pléïades Reef. At the Mouli Bridge, connecting Lékiny to the main island, you can see the spectacle of turtles and eagle rays that move through the channel daily, to the great delight of tourists.
Lifou is characterised by its variety of scenery, combining immaculate beaches, steep cliffs, deep forests and impressive caves. The largest of the Loyalty Islands, it offers a variety of experiences for tourists who come to visit. In particular, Lifou is definitely a paradise for divers and snorkellers. The crystal-clear, fish-rich waters feature a diverse and colourful sea life, including rays and starfish. From beginners to experiences divers, everyone can explore the best diving spots on Lifou with local guides and professional instructors.
As for Maré, the intense, wild beauty of its scenery, and the deep connection that its locals have with it, has given this island a very personal identity. The island will leave a lasting impression on those who take the time to discover it.
The other ‘closest island to paradise’:
Further south, the Isle of Pines is, without question, Ouvéa’s greatest rival for the title of the closest island to paradise! The Oro, Kuto and Kanumera Bays offer an astonishing spectacle of beauty and harmony. And the ruins of a penal colony capture the history and emotion of a bygone age.
WHERE TO STAY
Treat yourself and your loved one to world-class accommodation, amenities and more:
Le Méridien Isle of Pines:
Le Méridien Isle of Pines has undergone a soft refurbishment, with AUD$2.8million being invested in the transformation of their deluxe rooms, bungalow-suites, restaurant, bar and public areas, plus the addition of a new cardio fitness centre. The hotel’s amenities include the Deep Nature Spa, with various wellness packages for honeymooners and special occasions available. The Concierge Service can also help organise tours and excursions including private dives and horse-riding.
Le Château Royal:
The Château Royal is a 4-star Resort, which opened in February, 2011. Sitting in the heart of an extraordinary three-hectare tropical park, the seven-floor and 108-Suite complex is located on the most beautiful beach in Nouméa and faces the horizon for stunning sunsets. The contemporary design of the resort and its variety of services will ensure a unique and unforgettable stay.
L’Escapade Island Resort Nouméa:
Featuring the only overwater bungalows in New Caledonia, the L’Escapade Island Resort Nouméa is true paradise. Surrounded by a natural marine reserve, this hotel has been created in perfect harmony with the environment and follows the natural curve of its long white sand beach. The island and overwater bungalows, the swim up bar, restaurant, and water activities centre provide a unique setting that combines luxury and tranquillity with a tropical backdrop.