New Caledonia vs. Vanuatu

Not sure of where to head on your next South Pacific adventure? It can be difficult to choose between the region’s incredible archipelagos, but we’ve taken care of some of the hard work for you. Discover what sets New Caledonia apart from some of its nearest neighbours, including Vanuatu, below:


1. New Caledonia has modern infrastructure

Home to modern airports and well-paved roads, the infrastructure found across New Caledonia is arguably better than that of many of its South Pacific neighbours, making it easy to navigate and explore. Join a guided tour and learn about the archipelago’s best assets from those who know it best, or hire a car and explore at your own pace. See some of Nouméa’s top attractions while also enjoying the freedom to encounter the rugged charm and authenticity found beyond the city’s edge. However you choose to experience New Caledonia, having the option to explore at your leisure by car, or to island hop with the help of regular domestic flights, allows you to plan a holiday that you’re sure to remember.

Nouméa, New Caledonia

2. New Caledonia is home to a variety of regions so you can have several holidays in one

The islands of the New Caledonian archipelago are nothing short of diverse. The main island, Grand Terre, is peppered by incredibly varied regions, spanning from the cosmopolitan streets of Nouméa to the breathtaking interior, while the islands each offer an experience as unique as the next. With so many different landscapes and local attractions to encounter, it’s easy to feel as though you’ve enjoyed several holidays over the course of a single visit. Spend time lazing along stretches of picturesque coastline, set out on a scenic mountain hike or enjoy a taste of cowboy country in the heart of the New Caledonian bush. Whether you only have time to see the sights of Grand Terre or are wanting to experience more of what makes the archipelago so special, every visit to New Caledonia will feel more special than the last.

Domaine de Deva, New Caledonia

3. Parts of New Caledonia’s lagoon are UNESCO World Heritage Listed

Recognised internationally for their diversity and incredible natural beauty, several parts of New Caledonia’s spectacular lagoon have earned UNESCO World Heritage listings. Home to unique ecosystems and one of the world’s most extensive reef systems, the sites have been formally acknowledged for their significance as habitats for threatened marine species as diverse as turtles, dugongs and whales, corals and more. Hire a snorkel and flippers or join a glass bottom boat tour and see for yourself what makes these corners of the archipelago so special.

Manta rey, Lagoon in New Caledonia

4. New Caledonia can be experienced at any budget

While many locations across the South Pacific may only offer the choice of basic accommodation or expensive high end resorts, New Caledonia is a destination that caters to a variety of holiday budgets, with accommodation spanning from indulgent to modest and just about everything in between. Treat yourself to a luxurious stay in an all-inclusive resort, unwind in a simple beachside bungalow or book a serviced apartment and stretch your holiday budget further by making your own home-cooked meals. Whether money is no object, you’re planning a trip on a budget or comfort is key, it’s easy to find accommodation to match your needs in New Caledonia.

Nouméa, New Caledonia

5. There’s something on offer for everyone

No matter how old you may be or where your interests lie, there’s something in New Caledonia to suit just about every holiday maker. Whether you’re a thrillseeker, travelling with the whole family in tow or looking for the perfect excuse to put up your feet and relax, you’ll find plenty of great ways to while away the hours. Get the adrenaline pumping with skydiving above the lagoon, slip on your walking shoes and tackle world-class hiking trails, or take some time out to please your palate with delectable French cuisine. Spend your days lazing on the water’s edge beneath the warm South Pacific sun or take the time to brush up on local history and culture.

Skydiving in New Caledonia

6. New Caledonia is less than three hours from Sydney!

At around two hours from Brisbane and less than three hours from Sydney, the flight to Nouméa from Australia’s east coast is faster than the trip to Port Vila, Vanuatu’s capital. With less time spent in transit, you’ll have the opportunity to spend more of your holiday sightseeing, relaxing and discovering what it is that makes New Caledonia so special. The shorter flight time is great for families too, with less time in the air helping to make travelling with kids that little bit easier. If total flight time is key in your New Caledonia vs Vanuatu comparison, New Caledonia is a clear winner.

Oro bay in Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

7. New Caledonia has great food and wine

While you may associate dining in the South Pacific with fresh seafood and tropical fruits, there’s more to New Caledonia’s food scene than first meets the eye. The archipelago, thanks to its intriguing history, not only has its own regional specialities, but has become well known for its unique take on French cuisine. Combining local ingredients with unmistakable European flair, you’ll discover all manner of French-inspired treats, from cheeses and wines to baguettes, croissants and other delectable baked goods. Make the most of this unique cultural fusion, dining on French pastries for breakfast and traditional Kanak specialties, such as bougna, for lunch or dinner.

Decided on a winner in the New Caledonia vs Vanuatu comparison? Learn more about the top things to see and do in Nouméa, on the Isle of Pines and beyond today!

French cuisine, New Caledonia