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New Caledonia An Uncharted Gem

Apr 17, 2008
New Caledonia has become a peaceful and tranquil land where different ethnic populations live and grow side by side : Melanesians, Europeans, Wallisians, Futunians, Polynesians, Asians, Indonesians and West Indians.

Today this ethnical blend is the wealth of the archipelago and contributes to its extraordinary cultural diversity. To discover New Caledonia you need firstly to meet its inhabitants and learn about their traditions. In the tribes, kindness and hospitality is more than a reality, its a way of life. This philosophy is acted out on a daily basis with the custom, a solemn moment, or the sharing of a meal around the fire embers.

Close to nature, the Kanak people know all the secrets, fables and legends which are only revealed to attentive ears. Elsewhere, life in the outback commands admiration and respect; a hard but privileged lifestyle, based mostly on agriculture and cattle breeding. Land as far as the eye can see, cattle rounded up on horseback, bivouacs in the moonlight. These stockmen are the kings of the plains.

The astonishing beauty of the New Caledonia landscapes inspires sculptors, painters and engravers. Writers and photographers also fall under its charm. Dance and music, universal languages in the Polynesian and Oceanic cultures, provide the archipelago with its most beautiful quality.

Peaceful yet dynamic. Designated as a natural port in the 19th century, Noumea has become the economical, administrative and cultural capital of the archipelago. Boutiques, restaurants, cinemas and theatres rub shoulders with the city's gardens and parks. The colonial houses of the first European settlers and the dressed stone buildings, vestiges of the pioneer years, blend harmoniously with the modern architectural style of the city.

In the heart of Noumea, Coconut Square with its music kiosk surrounded by numerous shops, is a meeting place for the local population. In the Latin Quarter, Port Moselle is home to the colourful and popular Noumea markets and is the departure point for pleasure craft sailing to the many surrounding islets.

Located opposite Citron Bay and Anse Vata Bay, renowned for their popular beaches, are numerous hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and casinos. But Noumea is also the Tjibaou Cultural Centre and city museums, showcasing different cultures but bringing together a common past.

The temperate climate, diverse landscape and numerous infrastructures in New Caledonia provide a vast choice of activities whether it be for leisure, sport, or pure relaxation on the magnificent beaches. Hiking or horseriding trails across the mountain chain, along the riverbanks or in the middle of the vast plains are operated by experienced guides who provide a fascinating insight into the New Caledonia flora and fauna, the tribal traditions and the relics of the past.

The high standard of the road network facilitates an island tour by car or by motorbike. During your voyage, a kaleidoscope of landscapes will pass you by; the crossing of the La Ouaieme river on a ferry will be one of those unforgettable moments. Use of a 4WD is advisable on dirt tracks. For energetic travellers, a quad or mountain bike will satisfy your adventurous spirit.

Water activities are just as abundant above or below the surface of the lagoon or canoeing or canyoning on the many rivers. Paragliding, microlite, flying or parachuting for those who prefer the skyline to the waterline and if you still have time to spare, play some golf, cricket or tennis !
About the Author
Gordon Warre writes about cheap homes in bulgaria and New Caledonia
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