Nothing rekindles romance like a cruise through the South Pacific. Long balmy days, hot sultry nights, endless white sandy beaches and calm blue seas offer endless romantic possibilities.
There is even a touch of French flare to be found in the New Caledonian port of Noumea. Here the local language is French and the history is very French – so think fresh croissants and baguettes, French Perfume and that famous French flair for love. This is a must-do destination for couples who like to indulge in local culture and culinary attractions.
Don’t be put off by the bustling industrial port as you cruise into the dock. Outside the port you will find an island with plenty of character and many quiet beaches that are ready to be explored. You just have to scratch the surface and discover the countless options available to day cruisers. And, with eight hours to spare you have plenty of time to explore.
1. This town is easy to get around on foot and there are plenty of shops to peruse selling everything from imported French fashions to colour Moo Moo dresses and fine French wine and delicious chocolates. The heart of the city centres on Place des Cocotiers, a sort of town square where the locals meet and chat. It’s a great place to sit and enjoy a coffee while you people watch.
2. If you like to wander the local markets head to Port Moselle on the south side of the town. It’s an easy 10-minute walk from the Place des Cocotiers. Here you will find stalls selling delicious croissants, coffee, fresh seafood, local crafts, jewellery, fresh flowers and much more. The markets are open from early morning till 11am.
3. If you love your food and wine make sure you sample some of the local French cuisine. The locals are drawn to food. For a fine-dining experience try Le Chaumiere (13 Rue du Docteur Guégan) or the pretty beachfront restaurant of Le 1818 (98 Ave James Cook), both deliver exquisite French cuisine.
4. For delicious mouth-watering crepes drop into Le Creperie Bretonne (5 Rue Ange Berlioz) and chocolate lovers can get their fix at Chocolats Morand in the Latin Quarter (13 Rue Porcheron). The chocolate chef/owner is classically trained in artisan chocolate making and has more than 200 different flavours to tempt your taste buds. There is also an impressive selection of cakes on display.
5. After lunch, head to the island’s answer to the French Riviera where you can swim off the extra few pounds gained over lunch in the sheltered waters of Lemon Bay (Baie des Citrons) or Anse Vata Bay. The local bus is easy to catch or hop in a cab. Anse Vata is busier than Lemon Bay but both offer bars, restaurants, cafes and lovely beaches.
6. If you prefer to take an organised tour there are plenty to choose from but one of the most popular for couples is Amedee Island where you will indulge in immersive adventures in one of the globe’s most secluded destinations. Just a short boat trip from the port of Noumea, the island of Amedee is a tropical haven of white sandy beaches, colourful soft coral reefs submerged within the cleanest and clearest turquoise waters in the pacific.
7. Whether you are looking for a relaxing day lazing on the beach under a tree in paradise or keen to make the most of your day there is something for everyone on this island. Slip on your snorkelling gear and join the vibrant array of tropical fish dashing in and out of the vivid coral or meet one of the local sea turtles as you explore the coast on a paddleboard or kayak.
8. An outing on the glass bottom boat is a must and make sure you take a walk up to the grand Amedee Lighthouse. This imposing lighthouse is constructed entirely of metal and was built in Paris before being transported, piece by piece, to the island in 1862. The 360-degree view from the top of the lighthouse is extraordinary and it takes in the tops of lush green palm trees strewn across the island to the breathtaking lagoon and its colourful coral reef and on to the deep blue horizon.