Please welcome our dear bloggy bud Andi of My Beautiful Adventures! Andi explores the world and writes about her travels…Does that sound like a dream job or what?!?
My first foray into the South Pacific was to an archipelago that is unknown by most. While New Caledonia is less than a 5-hour plane ride away from Australia, it is like stepping into another world and a surprising one at that, because physically it could not be more any more exotic, however it is a French territory and has a distinct French feel. The national language is French, the currency is the Franc, and the cuisine has a strong French influence; making this a dream-come-true for francophiles. It is an extraordinary mix of cultures!
To get to New Caledonia, one must fly into the capitol city of Noumea. Noumea is considered to be the most westernized capital in the South Pacific. Although Noumea is incredibly charming, the real New Caledonia exists in the outlying islands. Since I only had a few days to explore, I chose to visit Isle of Pines, which is only a 25-minute plane ride away.
Isle of Pines is often nicknamed l’île la plus proche du paradis, or the closest island to Paradise. I know that too often travelers claim that they have found “the most beautiful place on earth” and that phrase has now become cliché. Fortunately, sounding cliché does not bother me in the least bit, thus without hesitation I can confidently say the same about this 8-mile long island.
The best place to stay is Le Meridien and to call it a luxury resort is an understatement. It is nestled amongst a tropical lagoon and has private access to a glorious part of the New Caledonia Barrier Reef.
Isle of Pines gets its true name from the fact that it is saturated with pine trees. The rich smell of pine in the air is intoxicating, especially while floating in the tranquil warm water of the ocean.
I spent most of my time snorkeling and simply just soaking up everything that the island had to offer. Time truly stops when you are there.
I sincerely hope that everyone reading this is able to make the long journey there someday, as I promise it is worth it. As the French say, “Bon voyage!’