5 New Caledonia hotspots

5 New Caledonia hotspots
By admin


NOUMEA

The shore is the star attraction of Noumea, a small city built around the natural delineations of bays, beaches and inlets. Even the most dramatic man-made attraction in the capital aims to channel nature. Tjibaou Cultural Centre was designed by architect Renzo Piano and the 10 scaffolded wooden peaks represent a traditional hut sliced through the middle to take advantage of natural breezes off the sea. It provides an insight into indigenous Kanak culture and other Oceanic cultures and it is one of the finest cultural facilities in the South Pacific.

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YATE

Locals know that you have been to the southernmost province of Yate long after you have left. The red soil marks anyone who dares to wear open shoes. Sailors in Noumea tell of passengers who have set foot down south and left a trail of ochre stains that took much elbow grease to remove from their boats. The metal oxides that dye the soil create a contrast that makes for a captivating landscape. The Blue River Park of Yate is a 9000 hectare sanctuary that harbours endemic flora and fauna such as the flightless cagou. The showstopper of the park is Yate Lake. The dark water burrows into countless inlets and stark bleached trees rooted in the lake are a phantom-like presence.

ISLE OF PINES

James Cook discovered this stunning island that straddles the Tropic of Capricorn in 1774 and named it after the tall pines that distinguish it. This tiny island is defined by its coastline. Fortunately, native pine trees run along the coast, meaning you can disregard the map and make for the lofty trees if you wish to find the seashore. Vao is the only village on the island and it is built around a church that stands at the end of the road. A concealed path behind the church leads to a miniature chapel with a stunning view over the island.

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LA FOA

An ideal stop on a self drive itinerary, La Foa is just over 100 kilometres from the capital Noumea. Situated by the coast and behind the mountains, it offers the best of land, air and sea activities. There is horse trekking, hiking and hunting on land; skydiving and light aircraft flying above land; and surfing, diving and kite-surfing by sea. La Foa is a cultural destination with a calendar offering a film festival, book festival and water festival. In the centre of town, a public park contains tall indigenous sculptures and endemic palm trees. Locals gather to have a picnic or watch football in the neighbouring sport field.

THE LOYALTY ISLANDS

The Loyalty Islands are governed by Kanak custom and provide an ethical and engaging tourism experience for visitors. The sixty tribal villages across the islands are administered by a chief. The islands are also imbued with cultural lore that has spanned centuries. Melanesian legend has it that the island of Ouvea is a mammoth eel that was hacked in two. From the moment you arrive on the Loyalties you will feel relaxed by immaculate views and a culture that has withstood Western influences.

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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