New Caledonia can boast having the world's largest coral lagoon and the second-longest barrier reef. The lagoon measures 24,000 square kilometres and the reef is 1600km long. Approximately 2000 varieties of fish, including 200 unknown species, live there.
As Kelly Landry discovered, it's the ultimate boating playground and just 1500km east of Australia.
New Caledonia has the second-highest number of boat owners on the planet, so they must know something! You can join a Dal'Ocean Charter and enjoy everything the area has to offer, with locals who know all the nooks and crannies.
Dal'Ocean offers one- to three-day cruises of the lagoon. Book the whole catamaran or just one cabin for the ultimate sailing holiday. Sit back and enjoy the soft, sunny climate and be cooled by trade winds, or hop in and help hoist the sails.
Skipper Sebastian Dallo and his crew will suggest places to see and things to do, but if you have your own ideas, that's fine with him.
Known as "Paris of the Pacific", there's plenty to choose from. New Caledonia all made up of islands the main island, Loyalty Islands, Isle of Pines, Belep and about 400 islands within easy sailing reach.
Kelly's first destination was the uninhabited Signal Island, a protected area with a reef teeming with fish. It's quite common to see turtles and baby sharks there, and plenty of other sea creatures happy to share their home with you.
Duck Island is not far from shore and has popular beach and water activities. It's an excellent snorkelling site, with underwater interpretive signs throughout the marine life. The island's leisure hut hires equipment, deckchairs and umbrellas and the cafe serves light meals and drinks. Duck Island is reached by water taxi from the capital Nouméa, or by boat, yacht or windsurfer.
New Caledonia has an incredible mixture of ethnic groups with their own traditions, customs and cultures. The blend of Melanesian and French, enhanced by Polynesian and Asian ethnicities means you will meet some fascinating people on your visit.
New Caledonia in the South Pacific's Melanesian area.
New Caledonia Holidays Dal'Ocean three-day/two-night South Island Cruises are $629 per person twin share in a private double cabin with ensuite. All meals and snorkelling equipment are included. Valid for sale until June 30, 2009, and for travel until March 31, 2010. A minimum of four passengers are required.
Prices correct at June 4, 2009.
For further information
New Caledonia Holidays
Ph: 1300 886 363
94 Avenue du Général Du Gaulle
Ph: +687 961 131
Fax: +687 276 418
Visas: A visa is not required for citizens of Australia for a stay up to 90 days.
Electricity: 220V at 50Hz using two round-pin plugs.
Time zone: GMT +11.
Currency: French Pacific franc.
International dialling code: +687.