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New Caledonia Travel

One of the closest Pacific island nations off the coast of Australia and New Zealand is New Caledonia. Its name was coined by Captain James Cook in 1774 because the terrain reminded him of the highlands of Scotland, which the Romans called "Caledonia."

New Caledonia Travel

This country's unique blend of Melanesian and French influences is apparent in nearly all of the names of its islands and cities. With the sophistication of France and the laid-back lifestyle in the Pacific, New Caledonia is one of the few destinations in the South Pacific with an advance sense of national identity combined with Pacific pride.

Like most of the Pacific islands, New Caledonia was first populated by Lapita hunters and gatherers who came from Vanuatu over 3,000 years ago and were the original ancestors of the Melanesian and Polynesian people. Between the 11 th and 18 th centuries, Polynesians migrated to New Caledonia. Yet only in the late 18 th century did the country experience the first taste of Western life. By the mid-19 th century, New Caledonia was colonized by France and has remained a French colony ruled by European laws ever since.

All travelers begin and end their trip to New Caledonia in Noumea. This cosmopolitan city located in the southern province of the largest island of Grand Terre has dozens of gourmet restaurants serving French cuisine with a Pacific flair as well as trendy boutiques and stores. This will be your only taste of metropolitan life before entering the natural beauty of the country's lush river valleys, steep mountains, waterfalls, rain forests, and rugged coastline.

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