New Caledonia with Aircalin - Exploring Bourail & Noumea

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BOURAIL - New Caledonia

Last month we had the pleasure of visiting New Caledonia with Aircalin (the countries national Airline), where we spent 5 days exploring the best part of Bourail and a couple of days in Noumea (the countries capital city).

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE GOING to New Caledonia

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  • French is their national language as the country is French colonised. I recommend learning basic French words, especially for when you are dining out.

  • The seafood is some of the freshest and best in the world! Mmmm I would return just for the seafood!

  • There are plenty of incredible hikes so don’t forget to pack your walking shoes!

  • Most businesses are shut on Sundays so don’t plan your time in Noumea around a Sunday.

  • It is right hand drive.

  • There are only 2 seasons. Summer (wet season) November - February & Winter March - October

ABOUT AIRCALIN AND OUR FLIGHT

To our surprise, a flight from Brisbane to Noumea was only 2 hours. Which left us wondering why we hadn't thought of visiting earlier! AIRCALIN operate 22 international flights to 11 destinations from Noumea: Tokyo, Osaka, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland, Port-Vila, Nadi, Wallis, Futuna and Papeete. Find more information on booking details and the airlines services through this link.

It was our first time flying business class during this trip which was utterly enjoyable and relaxing! Will definitely find it hard flying economy now haha :(. The airline service was amazing with incredibly friendly staff, tasty food, the finest champagne and inflight entertainment.

bourail

Bourail is situated 2 hours North of Noumea; and has recently become a hot spot for tourists, especially after the Sheraton Deva estate was built. We were completely blown away by the beauty of this region and highly recommend traveling North to escape the city and immerse yourself in nature. My favourite part about Bourail is the world heritage reef that lies within the biggest lagoon in the world. The water clarity and intense aqua colour is honestly jaw dropping.

where we stayed

Sheraton Deva - This property is the hottest and newest property in New Caledonia and is located right on the worlds biggest world heritage listed lagoon. I honestly could have stayed for weeks enjoying overly relaxed and peaceful I felt.

The resort offers unique bungalow rooms, a large stunning pool area, a beach front restaurant offering local fresh produce and fresh local fish, an extensive dinner buffet with huge selection, a classy chilled bar with live music some nights and water activities out on the lagoon. You would be silly not to stay!

what to do

  • Hike the three bay trail from La Roche Percee beach to Turtle Bay - Our first day in Bourail we spent the afternoon hiking and exploring the beauty of Turtle Bay. If you visit Turtle Bay at low tide you will experience the natural rock pools that appear as the tide goes out. Be careful though, as it can get dangerous swimming their with the tides. I would recommend timing your visit to the turtle hatchling season during the month of December and January in hope to see the baby turtles hatch and make their way to the ocean. La Roche Percee is located at the beginning of the south end of the trail where you can visit the ‘gentlemans hat’; a huge rock formation that is said to look like a gentlemans hat. More info about the three bay trail here.

  • Hike the Deva Domain trail and witness the best views in the region. Here you can stand tall and look down over the vast beauty of the lagoon and the unique surroundings of the Sheraton. Easy hike, only takes 15 minutes to reach the top.

  • Explored the world heritage reef and sea life of the lagoon from a glass bottom boat tour. I highly recommend adding this to your list of activities during your stay in Bourail! The tour takes you to a turtle breeding area where you can spot dozens of giant sea turtles, eagle rays and other exciting sea life. The guide will also explore the reef through the glass bottom boat and explain a little bit about the corals and sealife. After that, there is time to go snorkelling (about 40 mins), so don’t waste any time, jump straight in and enjoy the world heritage reef! Snorkel gear is provided and you can get picked up out front of the Sheraton or at Poe Beach.

  • Take a scenic light aircraft over the lagoon from Poe beach. This was by far my favourite activity during our stay in Bourail and I highly highly recommend booking a tour! Safe to say it has been one of my favourite experiences this year! As you begin to take off, adrenaline kicks in and before you know it you are high above land looking over the the lagoon of Poe Deva, Turtle Bay, la Roche Percee, Green Island, Secret Passage, the Coral Reef and Shark Passage. The shallow waters of the Lagoon give the lagoon the most intense aqua, blue and turquoise colours. A heart stopping sight. More information and booking enquiries here.

Mermaid life at Turtle Bay
TURTLE BAY ROCK POOLS

TURTLE BAY ROCK POOLS

Views from the top of Deva Domain walking trail

Views from the top of Deva Domain walking trail

Snorkeling on the glass bottom boat tour

Snorkeling on the glass bottom boat tour

Views over Sheraton Deva

Views over Sheraton Deva

Scenic flight over Poe Lagoon

Scenic flight over Poe Lagoon

Flight views over Green Island
THE INCREDIBLE PATTERNS OF THE LAGOON

THE INCREDIBLE PATTERNS OF THE LAGOON

Sheraton Poolside

Sheraton Poolside

Beachfront lunch at the Sheraton

Beachfront lunch at the Sheraton

NOUMEA

As we spent most of our time exploring Bourail, we were only left with one day on the itinerary to explore Noumea. During our two nights and one day in Noumea we managed to eat at some epic restaurants, and explore an island far off shore on a catamaran.

WHERE WE STAYED

  • Le Meridien (higher price) - Located at the oceans doorstep, this 5 star resort is perfect for any type of travel, whether it be couples, families, business or solo! The property is simply stunning, with beautiful lush gardens, a leisurely swimming pool, fully equipped gym, relaxing bars, ocean front restaurant, large room with comfy beds and a huge breakfast buffet.

WHERE WE ATE

  • Le Roof - Jutting out on stilts along the esplanade, this restaurant is hard to miss. Le Roof is one of Noumeas top restaurants in fine dining. It is famous for its unique interior of a bottomless floor in the middle of the restaurant allowing customers to view the ocean and sea life.

  • Le Marmite - Our favourite restaurant! This restaurant offers some of the best home cooked French cuisine, and at an extremely reasonably price of $50AUD for a two course fine dining meal. Be sure to make a reservation though! I highly recommend ordering the yellow fin tuna for your main. My mouth waters even reliving this sensational meal.

what we did

As we only spent one full day in Noumea we didn’t get to tick a lot of the list. We spent an entire day sailing the seas on a catamaran to a distance tropical island that we had all to ourselves. After about 3 hours sailing North-East of Noumea, we arrived and enjoyed a delicious lunch of Tahitian salad, fresh fish and fresh fruits. We then spent the next hour or so exploring the island we had arrived to and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon, flew the drone, snorkelled around the reef and soaked up the sun as the hours passed.

SAVE TO PINTEREST

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ALL PHOTOS EDITED WITH MY CUSTOM MADE LIGHTROOM PRESETS

Hayley AndersenComment