New Caledonia: Holidays and Events
There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date, but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. The Corpus Christi festival is celebrated on the 2nd Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. The Protestants celebrate Reformation Day on October 31. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.
|January 1st||New Year|
|1st of May||Labor Day|
|July 14th||Day of the storm on the Bastille|
|15th of August||Ascension|
|September 24th||National Day of New Caledonia|
|November 1st||All Saints Day|
|November 11th||Armistice day|
Regular cultural events
|middle of March||Yam FestivalA Kanak festival that is celebrated at the beginning of the yam harvest.|
|March April||Giant Omelette FestivalAround 7,000 eggs are processed into an omelette 3.5 m in diameter.|
|May||Avocado FestivalThe end of the harvest is celebrated on the island of Maré.|
|August||Live en AoûtJazz Festival in Noumea
Foire de Bourail
Agricultural fair with rodeo and horse racing
|September||Journées du Patrimoinehistory days of the individual provinces|
|October||Foire Agricole et Artisanale de KoumacAgricultural
fair with rodeo and horse races Biennale d ´Art contemporain de Noumea
Exhibition of contemporary art from the island, which takes place every two years, in rotation of even numbers.
|October November||Music and light showThe popular festival with a duration of 2 weeks takes place in Fort Teremba near La Foa.
Pacific Art Festival
New Caledonia: climate
New Caledonia has a climate whose seasons are not very distinctive.
December, January and February are the hottest months of the year and August is the coldest.
There is no pronounced dry season, but with five to eight rainy days, October, November and December are the least rainy.
The hurricane season runs from November to March.
The best time to travel to New Caledonia
The best time to travel to New Caledonia in terms of the climate is from September to November.
Tropical cyclones are to be expected in the months of November to March.
|Month||Average number of rainy days||Mean maximum temperatures in (°C)||Mean minimum temperatures in (°C)|
New Caledonia: national customs
The natives of Kanak traditionally use shell money. The money is kept in a container called a house. Shell money is still used today and is of great value.
Tapa, Grand Case
The chief’s house or Grand Case is the largest house in the village. First a huge tree trunk is erected as a central support. This symbolizes the chief. You enter the house through low openings that are decorated with wooden carvings. Inside the house is clad with wood, which forms the ceilings and walls and is knotted to the main structure with lashings. The roof is crowned with a spear-like carving intended to provide a home for the ancestors of the tribe.
New Caledonia: Sightseeing and Sports
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The Lagoons of New Caledonia (The Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems)
New Caledonia belongs to France and is located in the Pacific about 1,300 km northeast of Australia. The protected area consists of 6 lagoons with coral reefs. The species richness of marine animals is very large. Turtles, manatees and many species of fish live in the sea there. Mangroves grow on the coast – these are lignifying salt plants – there are jungle, savannas with niaouli trees (myrtle family with a eucalyptus-like smell), waterfalls and rivers in the area.
This coral reef is one of the largest coral reefs in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The reef has a total length of 1,500 km and covers an area of 24,000 km². Most of the individual reefs are in good condition, however some eastern reefs have been damaged due to nickel mining on Grand Terre. The lagoons of New Caledonia were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2008.
This lighthouse in Nouméa is now a popular destination for tourists. However, it is inadvertently in Nouméa because the lighthouse was actually supposed to be delivered to Martinique.
The mine was once the largest chrome mine. There you have the opportunity to take part in a sightseeing tour. This takes about three hours.
The Lapita site near Koné was the starting point for the Lapita theory, on the basis of which the migration movements of the Melanesian peoples are constructed. This is done by means of pottery finds, which can be found scattered with certain patterns in Melanesia.
In New Caledonia there are around 600 places with rock carvings, so-called petroglyphs. The origin of the stone carvings has not yet been scientifically clarified. It is believed, however, that these were made by the Melanesians around 300 AD. But there are also opinions that the stone carvings are older.
Mainly geometric shapes such as circles, spirals, stars and flowers are shown. Animals and humans are very rare. The carvings are up to five cm deep. Tourists can visit the petroglyphs at the following places:
at Col de Katiramona, about 20 minutes drive from Noumea. The most important site is at Montfaoué at Poya. 156 large motifs are distributed over a length of 200 m. More petroglyphs can be found on the Bogota Peninsula near Canala, about 5 km from the beach.
Museums and galleries
Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center
The Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center, 12 km northeast of Noumea, offers first-class modern architecture. The building was built in 1994-1998 by the Italian architect Renzo Piano. Traditional architecture can also be seen in the open air. The cultural center of Kanak culture is therefore not only a must for every visitor to New Caledonia because of its exhibitions and events. The modern architecture of the building is also worth a visit.
Musée de l’Histoire Maritime
Avenue James Cook
Route de Nouville – Nouméa
Tel: 00 687- 26 34 43
Museum of New Caledonia/Nouméa
Petroglyphs and traditional houses can be visited in:
45, Avenue du Maréchal Foch
Shell money and Kanak art can be viewed in:
42 Ave du Maréchal Foch – Nouméa
The church was built in 1860 on the Île de Pines on Vao.
Université de la Nouvelle-Calédonie
The University of New Caledonia was founded in 1987 as the French University of the Pacific. After a division in 1999, it bears its current name. The campus is located in Nouméa. At the moment there are around 3,000 students studying at the following faculties:
Lifou Island is the largest atoll on earth.
New Caledonia is also often referred to as the “ship graveyard” because there are tons of shipwrecks there. Due to the surrounding coral reef and strong currents, there are around 216 shipwrecks in the surrounding waters. Most of the wrecks are on the west coast.
You can surf in two places:
In Ilot Ténia, which is located near Moindou, about an hour’s drive from Noumea and Bourail, or at Roche Percé, which is about two hours by car from Noumea.
The needle reef in Prony, in the south of the main island, is unique in the world. The underwater formation comes close to a pyramid, the base of which is about 15 by 15 m and tapers up to 5 m.
The reef starts 35 m below the water surface and ends 6 m below the water surface. The formation is peppered with bell-like bulges through which fresh water at a temperature of approx. 33 °C penetrates. The minerals of fresh water form stalactite-shaped structures.
In the film “Atlantis” by Luc Besson, the needle reef is shown.