- CFP franc
A tropical oasis brimming with French fashion and cuisine, New Caledonia is the St Tropez of the Pacific – but don’t be fooled, this island offers much more than croissants by the beach.
Noumea is the capital and the region with the greatest French influence. The resort-like atmosphere is peppered with colonial architecture, boutique shops and al fresco dining. Further north on the main island is where you’ll find a completely different New Cal. Go horse riding in the mountains from La Foa, take a helicopter ride over the Heart of Voh, and visit the rural town of Bourail. Known for its cattle stations and cowboys, each August Bourail also hosts its annual Agricultural Fair, featuring a rodeo that attracts a crowd of around 25,000 people.
Off the main island of Grand Terre, you’ll fall in love with the stunning Isle of Pines. Known as the jewel of the Pacific, it was once a French penal colony; these days people wish they could be trapped here.
Of course, the whole shebang is surrounded by a fringing reef that encompasses a 1.3 million square kilometre marine park. If the blue stuff is your thing, you can snorkel, dive, swim, windsurf, stand-up paddleboard and kayak to your heart’s content.