Expedia’s South Pacific Market Manager Charlotte Le Den knows New Caledonia like the back of her hand. Here’s her guide on how to spend a few days in paradise.

People often ask what to do in New Caledonia so I’ve set up a standard 5 days trip to the islands that gives you a taste of everything this beautiful spot has to offer.

Day One: Noumea

Most of Expedia’s Aussie travellers fly into Noumea for a few days before heading out to the islands, or they drop in for the day on a cruise ship. Whether you’ve got a few hours or a few days, make time to explore this vibrant city.

Go for a walk in New Caledonia’s main city, soak up the atmosphere and dust off your French skills. Drop by the fish and vegetable market, have a poke around the cathedral, do a spot of shopping in the city centre and have lunch in town.

In the afternoon, stop by the Aquarium des Lagons for a sneak peak at a few of the fish you’ll see when you head out for a snorkel. Once you’re ready for a dip, just walk across the road. Pop on your togs, and go for a snorkel along the beach in Anse Vata. You’ll see most of the sea life you were just looking at in the aquarium!

For dinner, try the 1881. It’s a little outside the city but the setting and tapas are very good! For a family friendly spot to stay, check into the Nouvata Hotel.

Day Two: Further afield

Hire a car and drive to the Fort Teremba, about two hours north along the eastern coast of the island. Stop by the road side “shops” locals have set up along the way – you’ll get some of the best fruit and vegetables in the island and at a better price than in the supermarkets!

The road to Fort Teremba will take you through some of New Caledonia’s smaller cities such as Paita, Bouloupari, Moindou and La Foa.

The Fort itself was once a prison and has been restored into a museum explaining the history of the island. Open every day, the fort is an interesting piece of New Caledonia’s penal colony history. English guided tours available, just ask reception.

Once you’re back in Noumea, go for a dip at Kuendu Bay, which is quieter than the other beaches but still has stunning corals and fish.

After a day of adventuring, treat yourself to crepes at Le Rocher. Splurge for the night on an over water bungalow at L’Escapade îlot Maître.