New Caledonia

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smit0847

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Air Calin’s (SB) recent launch of direct flights from MEL to NOU has made me consider visiting New Caledonia. They’re doing a LOT of advertising here in MEL. I didn’t realise how close it was to Australia. Some very brief research (including from some members on here) told me mostly negative things – expensive, rude locals, average beaches and the upper class locals treating the lower class locals appallingly. However much of that feedback seemed to be from visits 5 – 10 years ago. I also looked at the SB flight times which are not ideal (afternoon MEL departure with morning NOU departure – wish it was the other way around to maximise holiday time). SB also has very average reviews.

So I passed on NC as somewhere that wasn’t worth visiting.

Then I remembered QF fly there are it’s only 30k USDM miles pp return in J (and a perfectly legit itinerary). I investigated the flight times going via SYD or BNE and they’re actually perfect – early morning Sat departure from MEL via BNE arriving into NOU at lunch time and then afternoon NOU departure via SYD for early evening arrival back into MEL. Swift but comfortable connection times. I’ve got 130k USDM miles to use up with no long-haul travel plans. So essentially the flights would be almost ‘free’.

Then I read this article and became a whole lot more interested. http://www.traveller.com.au/gallic-meets-the-pacific-1yuqa

My partner and I absolutely love France and we also love tropical beaches (we’ve considered RUN before but it’s a REALLY long way to travel). This seems like a really great mix. My partner speaks almost fluent French (we found locals to be really lovely in France given we were speaking French to them). Many of the reviews of NC I have read seem to be the same complaints people have about Paris – you either love it or you hate it (we love it).

I’m looking for any recent experiences in New Caledonia, as a destination, not just a daily stop on a P&O cruise (we are really not 2000+ pax cruise people). I know its going to be expensive but Australia is incredibly expensive and if it’s the same price as DRW or CNS or BME to visit we would much rather go somewhere more interesting overseas. I can’t find that much info on prices – it seems like food is about the same price as Australia, alcohol slightly cheaper, transport more expensive and accommodation about the same.

I understand the best part of NC is Isle de Pines which can be reached by turboprop plane or ferry.


Can anyone provide more information? There are very little reviews of the placed online. Is it worth seriously considering or is the cost just too prohibitive? Are the beaches nice? Is it really like being in France but in the tropical Pacific? If so it sounds perfect.
 
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Geegeela

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I don’t know if this is any value to add to your collection.

I was in Noumea last week and I have an absolute passion for French vanilla ice cream and was drooling at the thought of testing if the local brew was the same as Paris.

After finding an ice cream shop I discovered I only had 340f left of the local currency and the cost of a cone was 380 f.

So in my best pleading composure I explained to the “lady” that all I had was 340 f and could she perhaps give me a smaller one for that price.

I got a very curt NON.

Bloody French
 

russ

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I went there a couple of years ago and had some of the best French food I've ever had. It's also quite amazing to be in a French culture so close to Australia. I think it is worth a visit.
 
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defurax

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There is a lot of nonsense written about NC on travel websites. If your partner is fluent in French you will be able to enjoy the local culture a little bit more. I should really write a trip report on my last visit to Nouméa and l'île des Pins.

If you are visiting off peak I really recommend staying a night or two at Le Méridien île des Pins, but around Xmas time the prices are simply insane!

SB is a great airline.
The food is simply amazing.
The Kanaks don't like people getting naked at the beach (so if your East German it can be problematic :) )

I'll post more info later.
 

lovetravellingoz

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It has been a few years now since I was there. But my family of 5 loved it. Eldest daughter at that time was still as the basic stage with her French (is now fully fluent) with my wife and I knowing only a smattering of words.

Sure it is not cheap. But neither is Australia.

Those that complain about the cost are probably comparing it to Bali or Thailand. Compare instead to Qld or Europe and cost are ok.

If you avoid the flash hotels there are some well priced accommodation. But again this is not Bali, or Thailand!

We drove around the main island after renting a car for a week at a good price. Stayed at family run accommodation at good prices.

In Nouemea at a well located hotel, after finding a good spcial.

At Isle de Pines stayed at a small beach resort in a burre. Hired a car from a neighbouring hotel at a cheap rate to explore the island.

One trap to be aware of is that outside the main centres that the locals shut for a few hours at lunchtime!!! So if you were looking to buy some light groceries, or bakery items you can get caught out if you have not bought by 11am !!
 

Cossie

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A well timed thread, SWMBO had to use a QANTAS credit by the 7th of Nov, so we are off to New Caledonia for the first week in Nov., her in J, me probably in the cargo hold. Does anyone have any recommendations for a hotel in Noumea?
 

Steady

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SB is a great airline.
The food is simply amazing.

I agree, I found SB to be a great airline.
I found the food can be great but can also be quite ordinary, much the same as the rest of the world. I spent 2 years working in NC but it was 2010-11.

Definitely worth a visit
 

DeKa

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A well timed thread, SWMBO had to use a QANTAS credit by the 7th of Nov, so we are off to New Caledonia for the first week in Nov., her in J, me probably in the cargo hold. Does anyone have any recommendations for a hotel in Noumea?

I stayed at the Hilton last November and thought it was good. Nice location.
 
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