The New Island Hot-Spot for Aussie Families
By: Phoebe Ackland, ellaslist
The new tropical holiday hot-spot for Aussie families has been revealed by Flight Centre, who said that it has increased in popularity with Aussie consumers by a whopping 42% in the past year. It's New Caledonia: the South Pacific island paradise-meets-Parisian chic archipelago!
Whilst it's not quite as budget-friendly as its popular Bali and Thailand counterparts, it's cheaper than a trip to France, but with all the fun in the sun thrown into the mix. And, of course, with a few clever tips and tricks, you can definitely make it a great value-for-money break from Sydney's current chilly weather and ever-increasing work and household demands. Cheapflights even named it as one of the 10 most affordable countries for Aussie holiday-makers, and Expedia picked it as one of the leading budget-alternatives to Bali. In just 2.5 hours from Sydney, you'll be in a whole new world.....
The Food Alone Is Worth It
The food scene is one of the biggest drawcards in New Caledonia- it has French influences, as well as inspiration and combinations as varied as the ethnicities of its population. You'll enjoy tropical fruits (passionfruit, pineapple and papaya in particular), seafood such as crab and lobster, baguettes from the many boulangeries, and local foods from the Kanak people such as the popular 'bougna'- a fish or meat filling with yams and sweet potato, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in an earth oven under hot stones. Delicious!
Family-Friendly Stuff To See & Do
A visit to the aquarium called the Aquarium des Lagons Nouvelle Caledonie is a must for families. There are daily shark and fish feeding sessions, natural sunlight streaming through and natural seawater filling the tanks full of brightly coloured fish. Spot Nemo if you can!
Hop on Board: The 'le petite trains' and 'tchou tchou trains' are the mode of transport kids will adore. These cute and colourful mini trains take passengers around Noumea, from the beach to the city centre and to the main sights along the way. It's cheap too!
Aqua fun: the white sand, coral reef-filled beaches are no doubt a highlight of New Caledonia. New Caledonia is even home to the world's largest clear-water, enclosed lagoon (60% of which is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site), so bring your swimmers! Snorkelling is probably the most popular water-based activity due to its lush marine life, as well as kitesurfing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, diving, fishing and stand-up paddleboarding for more adventurous families. There are heaps of islands where water is at the heart of the way of life of the local people, one of the most popular tourist spots being Grand Terre.
Noumea: this popular spot is where you'll get the most out of the cultural experience that New Caledonia has to offer! Here you'll find colonial era style houses, a downtown shopping district, museums (including the Second World War Museum, the Maritime Museum of New Caledonia, the City Museum, and the New Caledonia Museum), galleries, theatres, cinemas, lots of bars, clubs, two casinos, golf courses, tennis courts, and of course, plenty of water. In May, they even have a free community event called 'the night of the museums' where all of the museums in the archipelago stay open after dark for one super cool cultural experience.
Need A Little More Convincing?
Still not sure how New Caledonia is rating against Bali and Thailand for your next family vacay? These fun facts might just tip you over the edge:
- Cruises have become increasingly popular in recent years- it's the perfect, budget-friendly way to see all the islands and get the most out of your trip for your money.
- The sun shines all year round, famous for its balmy nights. The average temperature is a comfortable 25 degrees Celcius.
- Locally farmed blue prawns are a cuisine highlight- they are sought after by top chefs worldwide!
- New Caledonian vanilla is some of the most delicious in the world- so don't leave before tasting some!
- It's so incredibly ethnically diverse: a land shared by the traditional Kanak people, European inhabitants, Indonesians, Japanese and Vietnamese people, as well as other islanders including Tahitians- so expect a range of flavours, colours and vibrant experiences!
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