New Caledonia for families
As a destination blessed with beautiful beaches, great dining options and stunning landscapes, New Caledonia is a definite must see for adults, but it’s a bit of a secret that it’s a great place for younger people too.
The capital, Noumea, offers a lot for families starting with a visit to the morning Port Moselle Markets, where the French and local Kanak cultures meld together in colourful, and tasty, displays of fresh produce.
Next, head off to the stunning aquarium (Aquarium des Lagons) with affordable family ticket prices and fantastic aquatic displays containing a rich variety of local sea life, some not seen anywhere else in the world. Be sure not to miss: the fish and shark feeding at 1pm, daily.
Le Tchou Tchou Train will not only capture the fascination of the younger members of the family, but is also one of the cheapest means of Noumea-based transportation. This handy miniature train completes a fun and informative guided tour which takes in the main sites of the city, with refreshments and stops to take some snaps. At around two hours long, this pint-sized train tour is the perfect fit for families.
The train also heads to Parc Zoologique Forestier where restless legs can stretch and run around and eager eyes can get a glimpse of New Caledonia’s flightless national bird (the cagou), the horned parakeet, monkeys, lizards and fruit bats. The forest park offers fantastic spaces to roam, with views over the lagoon and the island's southern coast. And the English-language signs are a great help with species identification.
Nothing beats a lazy day by the water, and Noumea has plenty of swimming beaches to choose from with lots of calm water and shaded spots. Duck Island, Anse Vata Bay and Kuendu Beach are a few names to keep in mind.
Dining in New Caledonia really is a picnic!
Grab a baguette – or deux – from one of the many boulangeries or from the supermarket, where you’ll be tempted to spend hours at the cheese section. And don’t forget to pick up enough tropical fruit (try papaya, passionfruit, green coconuts) for all and some pâté, to go with your fresh bread.
Families will love
Scenery - New Caledonia is incredibly lucky to have such a grand position in the middle of the sea. Most places you look will be like something out of a post card. White coral beaches fronted by candy blue water, and cushioned behind by forest.
Water sports - kids especially will love the bountiful fruits of the ocean that New Caledonia is riddled with. Snorkelling, and windsurfing are popular, and there are fantastic diving opportunities for those with credentials.
Outdoor activities - Noumea is particularly well-situated to offer adventurous families a holiday hiking in scenic mountains and lowland valleys. The Blue River Provincial Park, 45-minute drive south of Noumea, offers 9000 hectares of untouched wilderness, endemic plant life, rivers, swimming sites, waterfalls and fresh water lakes. If you're lucky you may also see New Caledonia's rare national bird, the Cagou, in the wild.