ROL Cruise recommends...
1. Explore the watery world of New Caledonia
Life in New Caledonia is focused on water. The UNESCO-protected reef which surrounds the largest island of Grande Terre is home to an incredibly diverse marine life of turtles, sharks and rays, while the Piscine Naturelle on the Isle of Pines boasts a natural underwater rock pool filled with thousands of tropical fish. There are also ample opportunities for snorkelling, kitesurfing, kayaking and fishing, while taking water taxis between the islands is a commute like no other!
2. Engage with a unique culture
Visiting a French territory so far from France is a unique opportunity to experience an eclectic mix of cultures and customs. New Caledonia’s population is varied: descendants of European and North African prisoners and settlers, expats from other French regions, and the indigenous Kanak people all live and work on the islands, and their influences filter through.
3. Sample a range of cuisines
With a variety of cultural influences, New Caledonia offers a range of delicious dishes to suit all tastes. The city’s eateries serve up authentic traditional French food, from snails and frogs’ legs to chunks of Brie and fresh baguettes. Dining in New Caledonia also offers chances to experiment with native Melanesian cuisine, like Bougna: a traditional dish made with chicken, fish, bananas, yams and coconut milk, all wrapped in banana leaves and steamed under hot rocks inside an earth oven.
4. Fall in love with the Heart of Voh
Improbably wonderful, the natural heart-shaped tropical mangrove known as the Heart of Voh is on the northwest coast of Grande Terre island. As it’s too big to be seen from ground level, keen visitors can either climb a track up Mount Kathépaïk to a viewing platform, which takes around two hours, or take a helicopter ride to gaze down at the heart from the air. A bonus of choosing the aerial viewpoint is the chance to see giant manta rays swimming in the blue lagoons nearby.