Tips for First-Time Visitors to New Caledonia

If you’ve always wanted to visit the South Pacific, you simply have to consider making New Caledonia your destination. Not only will you be able to enjoy great weather and a range of various activities, but you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation. However, before you pack your suitcases, there are some things you should take into account.

Pick the season

Most people like to visit New Caledonia before November, i.e. the start of the wet season. However, you also need to be prepared to pay a bit more money, but it’s definitely worth it, since you don’t want the rain to spoil your holiday. The period between May and October is also perfect for sightseeing, since it allows you to make the most of your trip. Even if you worry about the famous waterfalls being dry before being replenished by the wet season, you can always count on major waterfalls to remain flowing. Finally, that is also the perfect time to go if you enjoy outdoor activities, such as snorkelling. However, if you’re travelling on a shoestring budget, you might want to consider the period between December and February. July and August are the most expensive months.

Accommodation

As we’ve just established, there are two major seasons in New Caledonia: the ‘dry’ (May to October) and ‘wet’ (November to April). The latter is knows for frequent heavy rains, great humidity and even cyclones. Also, you need to bear in mind that there are two holiday peak periods. The first one is between mid-December and the end of January, when hotels and airports are packed with Australians and New Zealanders taking advantage of school holidays, as well as Europeans escaping their winter. The second one is in July and August, when many Europeans flock to New Caledonia and the accommodation prices can be very high. Depending on the time available to you and your interests, you should pick the right time to visit this amazing destination. To make sure you enjoy your stay, contact local experts, such as those from the renowned New Caledonia Travel agency, who know the destination like the palm of their hand, because they can help you find the best accommodation possible.

Beaches and snorkelling

Locals call it the “winter”, but the dry season is the best for visiting the amazing beaches in New Caledonia, even though temperatures can drop to a comparatively coolish 20°C during the day. What is important is that sea temperatures remain relatively stable are rarely go below 22°C in the ‘winter’ months of August and September. The wet season may be more inviting in terms of higher temperatures, but humidity can be really high. Whatever season you pick, don’t forget your sunscreen.

When it comes to snorkelling and diving, it’s enough to mention that New Caledonia boasts the world’s biggest lagoon, which entirely surrounds all the islands, as well as 1,600 km of reefs. There is abundant marine life, underwater caves and coral gardens, waiting to be discovered. However, for the best visibility, we recommend a visit between June and October, since it’s a period less affected by rains, waves and winds.

What to bring

Apart from appropriate clothes for the season, you should also bring at least one pair of sturdy sandals or shoes, which provide good toe protection, but can be used on hikes or while wandering around towns. Some form of sun protection is also necessary, since you want to protect your skin from the adverse effects of being exposed to direct sunlight. When it comes to snorkelling gear, you can rent it out at the resort or at some of the outfitters running tours. Still, make sure there is such an establishment near your location and in case you can’t find any, bring your own.

New Caledonia is really a great place to visit and you’ll definitely be satisfied with the destination. What you have to take into account, though, is the time of the year and your budget, since some months are much more favourable than others.

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