It’s a little pocket of France only a few hours’ flying time from our shores, populated with smiling faces and imbued with a certain je ne sais quoi that’s hard to put into words.

It’s the businessman walking down the street with a suitcase in one hand and a fresh baguette in the other.

It’s the salty sea air that wafts into a beach side restaurant where chic diners enjoy the last rays of sun behind a glistening ocean horizon.

And it’s the traditional grande case (or chief’s huts) that dot the 400km+ island that’s home to a multicultural population and varied landscape.

isle

Rendez-vous 2016 officially kicks off today in Noumea, New Caledonia, bringing together the who’s who of the Australian and NZ travel industry under the one roof to talk business with over 50 local suppliers.

The aim of the workshop is to ultimately create awareness about this undiscovered gem of a destination scattered throughout the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. It’s also intended to help foster commercial relationships between local suppliers and Aussie and Kiwi travel companies.

KarryOn is currently on location to cover the workshop and we’ll being you the full story as it happens – so stay tuned.

But in the meantime, we think it’s high time we sing the praises of this often overlooked island nation and why you should suggest New Caledonia to your clients instead of your usual go-to Pacific destination – not that there’s anything wrong with these other destinations, just that there are other options to consider!

Here are five reasons right off the bat.

 

1. You can dine outside your resort/hotel

food

Unlike other Pacific island destinations, when you holiday in New Caledonia you’re not limited to the dining options available at your hotel or resort.

New Caledonia is home to a diverse culinary scene that’s simply world-class, with an array of restaurants and cafes that are reasons in themselves for a visit, all scattered around the country and within walking distance of most hotels.

Of course, you can still dine in at your awesome hotel, perhaps at Le Sextant at the Le Meridien Noumea, but sampling all the flavours of New Caledonia is actively encouraged. So get out there and taste your way across the country!

 

2. Your own little island escape is just a 5 minute water taxi ride away

duckisland

Even in Noumea, the capital city of New Caledonia, you don’t have to venture far for a little tropical island seclusion.

Duck Island is only a short 5 minute water taxi ride away from the heart of the city. Spend a day there snorkelling through the turquoise water that surrounds the island, and head back to the city just in time for a nice meal at sunset.

In New Caledonia, paradise is always within reach.

 

3. New Caledonia is home to the largest lagoon in the world

lagoon

Keen divers will find themselves in a marine paradise in New Caledonia. The island nation officially has the largest coral reef lagoon in the world, decorated with small lagoon islands each surrounded by soft white sand beaches and coral reefs.

Even if you don’t dive, seeing this magical lagoon from the air is totally worth the trip here.

To sample some of the best underwater life in the country, head to easily accessible Isle of Pines and swim in the stunning natural swimming pool (Piscine Naturelle) – just a short walk away from the equally stunning Le Merdien Isle of Pines.

 

4. You can practice your French just hours from home

french

Who said you need to fly all the way to France to butcher the French language?

Only a few hours from the east coast of Australia with Air Calin, New Caledonia is probably the best place in the world to learn French. Just picture practicing the language at a beach-side cafe sipping on a glass of champagne with relaxed and friendly locals?

As a tourist destination, most people in the travel/hospitality industry speak English anyway, so communication will never be an issue here.

 

5. The best cheese and wine from France is here

wine

Again, there’s no need to fly 24-hours to Europe for French wine and cheese.

Air Calin fly from Australia to Noumea pretty much daily, so get your cheese and wine fix without having to fly half way around the world.

Have you sold New Caledonia recently?