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    Family fun in Noumea

    Family fun in Noumea

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    So close to Australia, yet so different, with the laidback vibe of a relaxed tropical island and the food and flair of a little piece of France, the baguette-shaped island of New Caledonia is a great option if you’re looking to take the family somewhere different for their winter escape this year. Here are our top five reasons to experience this often-overlooked Pacific gem for yourself.

    1. Location, location, location

    Brisbane is closer to Noumea than it is to Adelaide, and even from Sydney the flight takes less than three hours, so you’ll be poolside, sipping your first cocktail while the kids cool off, in no time. The tropical location means you’re pretty much guaranteed balmy temperatures, but its shape and its remoteness from other landmasses mean there’s usually a sea breeze to keep the temperature bearable.

    1. Food, glorious food

    Whether your preference is for fresh local seafood, traditional French fare or kid-friendly pasta and pizza, you’ll find plenty of choice. Be aware that many restaurants, especially in the hotels, don’t open until seven for dinner, so if you’re travelling with smaller kids who can’t wait that long, venture along the waterfront at Anse Vata or Baie des Citrons to find more casual dining options that open a little earlier. One of our favourites is the Beach Rock Café at the Baie des Citrons; if your timing is good, you could make your small people very happy by scoring the table that used to be a pink Cadillac.

    1. Sweet nothings

    Pains au chocolat, mille-feuilles, macarons… Noumea is truly a piece of French foodie heaven when it comes to finding delectable treats that the kids will love. Whether your chosen indulgence is a flaky, buttery pastry, still warm from the bakery and with chocolate oozing out at every bite, or a locally-grown pineapple that’s zinging with freshness, it’s not hard to find something to keep even the fussiest eater happy. Our particular favourite is the French gelato chain, Amorino, which has locations in both Baie des Citrons and Anse Vata: their beautifully-sculpted gelato roses, served in waffle cones, are possibly the most photogenic ice creams you’ll ever see. We highly recommend the mango sorbet!

    1. Boredom busters

    When the kids tire of the pool and the beach (which should take at least a couple of days), take them for a ride on the “Chou-chou”, a miniature road train that will tootle around for a couple of hours so you get an overview of the city while the kids are fooled into thinking that it’s all about them. You have the option of disembarking at the Place des Cocotiers in the centre of town (great if you fancy wandering around the central markets to pick up fresh fruit and souvenirs) or back at Anse Vata where the tour started. When the temperature has the kids starting to wilt, head to the Aquarium which is located between the two main beaches (Anse Vata and Baie des Citrons). They’ll see turtles, dozens of different varieties of tropical fish, and even that most New Caledonian of creatures, the tricot rayé sea snake.

    1. Watery fun

    Depending on the ages of your children, there are all sorts of ways you can get your kids wet and having a good time. Take a water taxi to Duck Island (Ile aux Canards) for some snorkelling, a day trip to Phare Amedée lighthouse to look for turtles, or let them try their hand at kitesurfing, windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking…

    To start planning your family holiday in Noumea now, you can contact your local personal travel manager here.

     

    Image Copyright © Terres de lumière / NCTPS

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