The French claimed New Caledonia in 1853 and their influence has led to the country’s unique identity today. Often described as a slice of Paris in the South Pacific, travellers to New Caledonia find themselves in a climate and location that is definitely tropical, yet the main language is French and the shopping, restaurants and nightlife feel distinctly European. The Indonesian and Javanese immigrants who came to work in New Caledonia's copper, cobalt and nickel mines, add another ingredient to the cultural mix.

New Caledonia is made up of the main island, La Grande Terre, and several offshore islands, including the unspoiled Loyalty Islands to the north-east and the Isle of Pines to the south. New Caledonia's cosmopolitan capital, Noumea, is located on the south-east of La Grande Terre and is famous for its French ambience and fine cuisine.

Population

250,000

Capital City

Noumea

Climate

Moderate and sunny with two distinct seasons:
December to March: Warm and humid with moderate rainfalls; average temperature 25.5ºC.
April to November: Cooler and drier. Average temperature drops to 20ºC in July and August.

Time Zone

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) + 11 hours.

Animal Emblem

Cagou (bird)

Major Attractions

Noumea, Southern Province, Isle of Pines, Northern Province, Loyalty Islands, Snorkelling, Diving, Horse Trekking, Walking.