New Caledonia offers a choice of top things to do, from sailing, scuba diving and kayaking to hiking scenic forest trails.
Discover a choice of sea- and land-based activities in New Caledonia – just perfect for active couples enjoying a honeymoon or romantic getaway holiday.
Grande Terre offers some of the best hiking in the South Pacific, with a choice of marked trails through forest, valleys and into mountainous areas where native plants and birds flourish. Be independent or join a guided walking tour along ancient Melanesian trails.
Explore the rugged red landscapes of the Yaté district, see waterfalls and cool off with a refreshing dip in a swimming hole at Blue River Provincial Park; hike past giant kaori trees in the Dumbéa Valley to reach Mount Koghi and be rewarded with breathtaking views of Nouméa and the lagoon.
Meet local Kanak tribes on Mount Panié, learn about their ancient traditions, then join cowboys in the Caldoche.
Dive the biggest lagoon in the world at 24,000m2 and explore a 1600km-long barrier reef that is home to nearly 2000 different varieties of fish and more than 6500 different molluscs.
Nouméa has some of the best dive sites, including the Amédée Lighthouse Reserve, which often includes shark feeding; the wreck of La Dieppoise, a navy patrol boat sunk in 1988; and Ilot Maître.
Elsewhere, try the Prony Needle in the south; the Tenia Horn near Boulouparis; the Fault near Poé; the Gorgonia Valley and several freshwater caves around the Isle of Pines; the Gazelle Pass to the north; and the Hienghène Reef to the east.
Many other dive sites exist around the Isle of Pines and Lifou Island in the Loyalty Islands.
Several PADI-approved diving centres offer beginner, training and certification courses as well as night and photo dives.
Snorkelling is excellent everywhere in the lagoon but is best for beginners at Ilot Canard just off Anse Vata and for everyone else at Aguille de Prony, a fabulous underwater structure south of Nouméa.
New Caledonia’s network of rivers, streams and lakes offer a range of great kayaking and canoeing experiences. Don’t miss Dumbea, Tontouta or Blue rivers as well as Yaté Lake and around Lindéralique.
Try underwater spear fishing off Nouméa reef or hook up a charter to chase tuna, marlin and snapper offshore. If you prefer freshwater fishing, check out Yaté Lake during the season from January to October.
For the best windsurfing conditions head to the Bay of Anse Vata and Côte Blanche, both in Nouméa, where you can watch some of the world’s top competitors during international competitions such as the Trophée des Alizés.
Experience New Caledonia’s beautiful countryside on a horseback excursion of two-hours or on a trek lasting several days. Cross mountain ranges, muster cattle and camp overnight.
Horse trekking is easily arranged from Nouméa, Dumbea, La Foa, Bourail and Thio.
Tee-off from one of New Caledonia’s three 18-hole golf courses: Dumbéa Golf Club, Ouenghi Golf Club and Tina Golf Club. Lessons and equipment are available for hire.
Explore the cascades, forests and villages of New Caledonia on a mountain bike, including the Dumbéa valley, the Dzumac Mountains and the River Blue Park.
Or cycle Nouméa’s scenic bays including Baie de la Moselle, Baie de l’Orphelinat, Baie des Citrons and Anse Vata.
Spot humpback whales in the bays of the southern lagoon and Lifou Island during the mating season from July to September.
Cruise the lagoon in a glass-bottomed boat to see colourful marine life flittering around coral reefs.
For French designer labels, browse the chic boutiques around the Place des Cocotiers or head over to the Noumea Market at Port Moselle for a selection of local arts and crafts.
Consider planning your honeymoon or romantic getaway to coincide with one of New Caledonia's major festivals.
(Mid-March) – Watch the most important event in the Kanak calendar at the sacred Festival of the Yam, which marks the beginning of the yam harvest.
In New Caledonia, the yam is treated with the respect usually saved for an ancestor. The yams are blessed the following day by the priest then distributed among the villagers.
(April) – New Caledonia's Giant Omelette Festival at Par Fayard takes place around Easter, during which a dozen chefs make a huge 3.5m diameter omelette using around 7000 eggs.
The festival dates back to the time when Napoleon ordered the townspeople of Bessieres to create a giant omelette for his soldiers. Today, this unique festival is celebrated in five French-speaking cities in France, Canada and New Caledonia.
Latest update: Things to do in New Caledonia: 27 April, 2022