Travel is back with a vengeance and what better way to celebrate than by exploring a brand new destination? A hidden gem in the Pacific, New Caledonia beckons with its unspoilt beauty and diverse landscapes. Much like Singapore’s own multi-cultural backdrop, the French territory offers a mosaic of European, Polynesian, and Asian cultural influences.
If you’re eyeing an escape from the big cities and busy capitals, this charming territory comprises dozens of islands across the South Pacific, each one with its own unique experiences.
Here’s why we’re adding it to our 2023 travel wish list:
There’s direct flights from Singapore
As of July 1 this year, twice-weekly direct flights have been launched between Singapore and New Caledonia on its national carrier Aircalin. As of now, travellers only need to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination upon boarding and be tested two days after arrival, making it a breeze to plan a trip there.
It’s a holy grail destination for scuba divers
Surrounded by over 1,600 km of coral barrier reef, New Caledonia’s main island Grand Terre is a major destination for scuba divers and free divers alike. There’s over 9,372 recorded species including corals, fish, nautiluses, whales, dugongs, as well as lush mangroves and coastal species. Prized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the lagoon is dotted with white sand beaches and idyllic islets great for water sports and other activities.
The unspoilt nature and landscapes
If you love all things nature, you’ll be in for a treat at New Caledonia, aptly christened as “le Cailou” (the rock) by locals. Best seen on foot, the main island has more than 18,000km of unspoilt landscapes that are home to a large diversity of species, of which 75 percent are endemic. Take yourself on a hike and you might just see the red soils of the south, the blue waters lapping the main island, as well as attractions like the Isle of Pines and the Loyalty Islands.
There’s a wonderful mix of cultures
Singaporeans are bound to appreciate the exciting mix of communities in New Caledonia, from the native Melanesians (Kanak), European (French) to Polynesians and Asians. During your stay, be sure to check out the local fairs and festivals, which showcase the gourmet food, art, and lifestyles of the locals. Highlights include the ancestral traditions of the native Kanak people, the “caldoche” bush cowboy culture handed down by early settlers, as well as convict farmers and their rodeos, hunting, and stock-breeding.
Find out more here.