Gay and lesbian travelers looking for a bit of French glamour with a tropical twist would do well to consider a visit to New Caledonia – to its capital Noumea, the Isle of Pines, and the Loyalty Islands. Each has a landscape and culture that makes them totally unique. While it’s easy to get to New Caledonia, the hardest part is leaving! Hurry to New Caledonia, Noumea, and the Loyalty Islands before time and everyone else catches up!
If you’re wondering about the best time to visit or the best places to stay, then you’ll love what we put together for you here.
Why visit New Caledonia?
- It’s just next door to Australia New Caledonia is Australia’s closest South Pacific neighbor. Less than 4 hours from Melbourne, less than 3 hours from Sydney and under 2 hours from Brisbane.
- It’s a French experience Charming French influence with English commonly spoken in tourist areas. The visitor information centers carry the complete range of touring, day cruise and accommodation options for exploring beyond Nouméa.
- It’s a gourmet paradise The best food & beverage experience in the South Pacific with over 200 restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs in Nouméa alone.
- It’s beach and secluded islands The New Caledonia Islands of Lifou, Ouvéa, Maré (the Loyalty Islands) and the spectacular Isle of Pines are a beach lover’s paradise. The fine white sands are only matched by the crystal clear waters. Islands are serviced daily by local carrier Air Calédonie.
- It’s not touristy New Caledonia is not overrun by tourists. When you visit you’ll be joining the local population and sampling their day to day life. You’ll soon understand why over 80,000 French expats choose to call New Caledonia home.
- It’s a natural wonderland It’s home to the world’s largest lagoon, six parts of which were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2008. With minimal commercial activity, New Caledonia’s reefs boast 146 coral varieties and 9,300 marine species.
- It’s great value The Australian dollar is currently at a high against the local currency. So New Caledonia is a fantastic value for Australian travelers.
- It’s exciting nightlife Exceptional nightlife for a South Pacific destination with a good selection of bars and clubs within walking distance of top hotels and accommodations.
- It’s a safe place A stable and tolerant environment to relax and explore independently.
- And, it’s easy to get there There are departures weekly from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane to Noumea.
Noumea is an emerging gay destination, with a community resource center, gay-owned nightclubs, and waterfront restaurants flying the colors and welcoming visitors to their events.
As the capital of New Caledonia, it is more than a tropical playground than a backpacker’s paradise. It is a dazzling destination, with a diamond-blue lagoon surrounding it. It is a stylish and sophisticated destination with hidden pink bits. It’s a place where everyone is welcome and the joi de vivre is infectious.
Noumea rightfully boasts warm hospitality and European elegance. It’s a gorgeous place to soak up the cultures of its joint Melanesian and French cultures. Because of these attractive elements, Noumea is fast becoming a favorite of gay and lesbian travelers from the world over. Tourism leaders are committed to this concept and gay visitors continue to rise as word gets out.
In Noumea, the fine French restaurants, designer boutiques, and cosmopolitan crowds all proclaim that this is the Paris of the Pacific. It is a small but busy city, a place where chic European decor and sophistication embrace elements of tropical island ambiance.
If your dream stay is more of a tropical resort, the islands of New Caledonia will not disappoint, as many Asian and European gay and lesbians have already discovered.
Isle of Pines
One of the biggest attractions is the Isle of Pines, an easy day trip from the main island of Grande Terre. Whether you want 5-star lodging or to camp out under the stars, this is the place. You can try your hand at snorkeling in a natural aquarium, and take a short walk in the rainforest or eat fresh-caught lobster on the beach.
On the Isle of Pines – just 20 minutes by air from the capital city Noumea – you can:
- relax beachside at a flash resort (3, 4 and 5-star)
- engage with Kanuk culture (bonne cuisine, dancing, craft markets)
- experience a homestay or camping on the lagoon
There are long, gorgeous beaches and tiny islets that attract day-trippers. But if you fall in love with the place and pace, stay for a while and soak up the culture.
Lounge by the turquoise-blue lagoon, walk the rainforest paths or go kite flying or kayaking. Do as much or as little as you want on this stylish, sophisticated and pristine spot in the South Pacific.
The jewel of the Pacific might just be the collection of Loyalty Islands. Travel by air or sea to the charming outer islands named Mare, Lifou, and Ouvea. Each is picture-postcard perfect in its own right, each with its own Kanak Villages and traditions, each open to gay travelers who want a chance to interact with the people and culture.
Memories of Mare, Lifou, and Ouvea will draw you back if you’re a sun and water worshiper that prefers empty, pristine beaches, caves with deep blue holes, shallow dive reefs, and natural aquariums for snorkeling. Not to mention to-die-for lobster, sweet prawns, and other fresh fish from the lagoon every day. Kayaking in the bay at sunset…sailing, and fishing all day long… Even a brief visit to these idyllic islands is something not likely to be forgotten.
Another great way to experience the diversity of the Loyalties and the tribal villages is to island-hop. Whichever island you visit, you can enjoy a taste of local life… from learning about how to build a traditional Kanak hut to casting a net for the fish of the day to tasting bat soup.
- For more information on New Caledonia, check out The official guide for New Caledonia Tourism