Ip­swich Trip Ad­vi­sor

QT Magazine - - TRAVEL -

Former QT jour­nal­ist Helen Speli­tis, from Bras­sall, vis­ited Noumea, the cap­i­tal of New Cale­do­nia. She shares her tips on the French ter­ri­tory.

Who went on your hol­i­day and where did you go?

My­self, my part­ner and two girl­friends packed our bags and en­joyed a week in Noumea, New Cale­do­nia.

Where did you go and how did you get there?

New Cale­do­nia is a French ter­ri­tory in the South Pa­cific. We flew Air­calin from Bris­bane In­ter­na­tional Air­port, the flight time was just two hours. We picked up the car from the air­port and drove straight to our ac­com­mo­da­tion. Driv­ing can be stress­ful at first as they drive on the other side of the road but it didn’t take long to ad­just. Dur­ing our seven-day stay we popped over to an is­land called Ile aux Ca­nards, or Duck Is­land. It was easy, we just hopped on a wa­ter taxi that took less than 10 min­utes. The lit­tle is­land was amaz­ing, with breath­tak­ing snorkelling among a healthy coral reef. Deck chairs are laid out with um­brel­las and a restau­rant of­fers beau­ti­ful food and drinks, so it was a per­fect day’s ac­tiv­ity.

What were you first im­pres­sions?

A laid-back, sim­ple trop­i­cal paradise but with a price. Noumea is not cheap and most things cost a lit­tle more than they do in Aus­tralia, al­though the things I wanted were cheaper - food and wine. Think cho­co­late eclairs, fresh baguettes and the most de­li­cious cheeses you’ve ever had, paired with the per­fect wine, at an af­ford­able price.

How did you plan ahead?

I searched for ac­com­mo­da­tion on Airbnb and made sure we would be staying close to the nightlife area. The most important part of plan­ning our trip was or­gan­is­ing car hire. A car is the best way to get around on this trop­i­cal slice of French-speak­ing paradise, where the bulk of tourism comes from cruise ships. We waited un­til we got there to choose some of our ac­tiv­i­ties but the car gave us free­dom to ex­plore at our own pace and leisure. I also brushed up on my French to en­sure we could com­mu­ni­cate eas­ily but if you don’t speak French, that’s OK. A lot of work­ers in restau­rants and bars speak English, some even have stick­ers out the front to in­di­cate which lan­guages staff speak

What would you do dif­fer­ently?

Not take a veg­e­tar­ian. No, just kid­ding - I’m stoked my friends came but I did feel bad for my bestie when there weren’t many veg­e­tar­ian op­tions eat­ing out. Seafood is in abun­dance, so this was of­ten of­fered as a meat al­ter­na­tive, how­ever, my friend doesn’t eat meat at all. She ba­si­cally lived off fries, bread, and salad (which was some­times just a bowl of let­tuce). If you’re a veg­e­tar­ian but still want to go, don’t panic. You can al­ways buy what you want from the su­per­mar­ket, or fresh from the mar­kets, and cook for your­self. If I went back, I would save a lit­tle ex­tra cash so we could spend a few days on the Loy­alty Is­lands, these are well known for their nat­u­ral beauty and idyl­lic re­sorts.

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