New Caledonia – Tropical Paradise on World's Other End
Maybe you have now opened a world atlas and looked where New Caledonia is. I will give you directions - look for the Pacific, the South Pacific, east of Australia and northwest New Zealand. There are several islands such as Ile des Pins, Loyauté (which are the islands of Ouvéa, Lifou and Maré) and Chesterfield Islands - these are eleven and are not settled.
Although this archipelago is located on the other side of the world, in some sense you are still in Europe for Caledonia is a French overseas territory. It belongs under the administration of France but has its own currency - the Pacific fanc, which is referred to as CFP or XPF. The official language is French and I really recommend you to equip at least its basics - you will not get by in this region only with English.
One of the main reasons why Caledonia is definitely worth a visit is the coral barrier that borders the archipelago. Its length is 1 500 km and the lagoon, which is bordered by this reef, is the largest in the world. In 2008, it was named the Lagoons of New Caledonia and it is listed in UNESCO. The New Caledonia coral reef is the second largest in the Great Barrier Reef near Australia.
New Caledonia was discovered in 1774 by English sailor James Cook. At the orders of Emperor Napoleon III. was annexed by the French Army of Caledonia in 1853 and the area began to use France as a penal colony. At that time, however, it was not a tropical paradise like today - the area was tropically damp, full of mosquitoes and inaccessible terrain.
Caledonia is often called the Island of Eternal Spring which comes from its relatively stable climate. The best weather here is from October to the end of February, when temperatures are around 28 degrees. In January, however, the rainy and cyclone season begins. From December to mid-February there is a high season when children also have their main school holidays and prices are a bit higher than usual in this period.
And that's pretty expensive in Canada, too, that's a well-known thing. For the French, it is just as expensive as at home. A lot of food has to be imported to the island and the local standard of living is high. Maybe that's why most of the vacationers are mostly Japanese, and you can hardly be bothered by the Czechs.
In the next few articles we will discover the beauty of Caledonia. I will take you to Noumea, by boat to Amedée, which is on the UNESCO list, and we will not miss the most beautiful of what Caledonia offers - Ile des Pins Island. The Kanak lands are waiting for us, let's explore it together.
GPS: (international airport) 22°00'53.6"S 166°12'51.1"E
Text and photos: Michal Hejl
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