Oceania’s Well Kept Secret
Rarely in life can we get a chance to visit some place that is yet untouched by the waves of tourists and magnificent all by itself. Most of the beautiful destinations, especial the exotic ones, have been turn to endless rows of luxury resorts, as soon as their tourism potential is discovered. In my search for a destination that escaped such fate or successfully reduced it to a minimum, I have bumped into Oceania’s well kept secret – New Caledonia. And what a great find it was. I am not saying that there are no luxury hotels there, but they are not outshining the rest of this area. Not only this piece of heaven is rich with dazzling nature, but its unique blend of Melanesian and French culture is intriguing. What do you say, are you willing to take this journey with me? All aboard!
A Walk through Noumea
When I first came to New Caledonia, I have landed and stayed in Noumea. This charming capital is the lifeblood of the area, and visiting it was a truly unique experience. First thing I have noticed are the extraordinary clean streets, yachts at the marina, and later wealthy suburbs. The Place of Cocotiers is a true wonder with its massive trees and an open air chess board. The centre of the capital is full of old colonial buildings, most of which are abandoned. I carry my fondest memories from the city market where I had the chance to see the liveliness of the city and buy some amazing handmade jewelry (shell and coral). Some other interesting things to see are the graffiti in South Pacific Street, Lemon Bay, Tjibaou Cultural Centre and the Cathédrale Saint-Joseph de Nouméa.
Lifou Island or My Search for Paradise Has Ended
Remember the story on the beginning of this article, about searching for a place that has avoided the fate of being turned into endless rows of resorts? Well, I have finally found it, and it was just as I have pictured it. There are no expensive resorts waiting for tourist on this island, only basic traditional accommodation, for those who decide to stay overnight. The welcome of the locals is amazing – a friendly combination of home cooked meals, traditional clothes and handmade souvenirs. Although it would be obvious that my favorite thing about my fab New Caledonia travel are the pristine beaches, Lifou’s Easo among them, it was actually the atmosphere of the area what made me fall in love.
The Isle of Pines – Oh Look another Paradise
And just when I thought it could not get any better, I have visited the Isle of Pines. It is the most perfect reflection of everything South Pacific is – sunny climate, turquoise water, lush tropical vegetation and very friendly and welcoming locals. This island is home to a certain number of resort, especially because it is a honeymooners favorite, but fortunately, they are not to conspicuous. Now, besides enjoying on the beach, there are plenty of other things to see on Isle of Pines. My favorite place is definitely the grotto of Queen Hortense and the legend of this daughter of a chief. If you are not a fan of the “horror” tours I would recommend to avoid the prison ruins near the Wero village, but if you are interested on the island’s past, why not? St Joseph’s Bay, on the other hand, is a beautiful place to see, with its mesmerizing water and fabulous display of the traditional outriggers. A fabulous stretch of sand, dotted with tiny coral islands, is the best place to relax and forget about the rest of the world.
Let me tell you a secret…
This was just a small part of the beauty this tropical paradise has to offer. To truly feel New Caledonia, in all its glory, you will have to actually travel there.
About the Author: Roxana Oliver
Roxana is a travel enthusiast and lifestyle consultant from Sydney and she loves to write about her adventures. She is all about the healthy lifestyle, loves to run with her husband and dogs and has fun cooking exotic meals for her family. Being a typical Aussie, she often hits the waves and loves beaches and sunshine! You can find out more about her writing on her websites HighStylife.com and UpUpAndaBear.com. Also be sure to follow Roxana on twitter.