Kiteboarding over the beach in Noumea, New Caledonia
Noumea has every water sport imaginable. Head on over to the Bay of Anse Vata to speed across the water with a kitesurfing lesson. From Anse Vata Beach, catch a water taxi to Duck Island ("Ile aux Canards") and snorkel in the majestic underwater world.
The face of a grey kagu bird from New Caledonia
Stretch your land legs and take a tour around the Michel Corbasson Zoological and Forest Park. Full of lush greenery and unique species of fauna native to New Caledonia, the park lets you catch glimpses of giant geckos, flying foxes and exotic birds, including New Caledonia's national bird, the kagu.
Although New Caledonians speak French, their native culture is called Kanak. The Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre is a spectacular feat of architecture that celebrates Kanak culture and educates visitors on its core beliefs. Check out traditional Kanak totems and artifacts, as well as recreated traditional huts.
Discover the abundance of French-influenced food found on Noumea. Head to Baie de Citrons to find the best restaurants, bistros and bars. Cruise to Noumea and sample French classics like slow-cooked lamb shanks and escargots, or experience island-inspired twists on Old World cuisine, like choucroute (a filling platter-style meal typical in Alsace) with sweet potato, cabbage, papaya and pumpkin. And look out for the bakeries — they stock bread worthy of a Parisian cafe.
There are two main shopping attractions in Noumea: grocery stores and open-air markets. Head to the Casino (a grocery store) and indulge in the array of French goodies — pick up some hard-to-find French wine to take home. At the market, you'll find local spices, including regionally produced vanilla, alongside Kanak artifacts. For souvenirs, browse the market for Melanesian masks or tribal turtle sculptures.
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