New Caledonia - 21 Fascinating Facts, Climate, Geography, and Location

New Caledonia is indeed a true melting pot of cultures and diverse experiences. It was first settled by Kanak people around 3000-years ago. The stunning island was annexed by France around 1853. French culture is a clear influence on the island, but there’s a strong Melanesian presence. Different cultures also have moved towards New Caledonia, including groups from Asia (Indonesia, Japan, and Vietnam) as well as other islands (Tahiti, Wallis, and Futuna as well as Reunion Island). All of the communities have left their mark on the New Caledonian society and brought with them food and cultural pleasures of their home countries. The beautiful landscape or the perpetual springtime, whether something is appealing to people from all walks of life within New Caledonia. It truly is an island that needs to be explored by all!


A subtropical climate with the possibility of rain throughout the year. Rainstorms are commonplace on the east coast in higher elevations; greater than 120 in (3,000 millimeters) rain could occur annually. The west coast is where rainfall is typically lower than 40 inches (1,000 millimeters). The time from December through March is especially rainy due to the presence of equatorial depressions that can cause frequent tropical Cyclones (typhoons). Another heavy rain season is observed in August and July, and the driest months fall from September to November. 

The winds that run from northeast to southeast, and even trade winds, dominate throughout the year and help reduce temperatures during the summer that begins in November. Cyclonic winds are often seen at the end of the hot season. The annual mean temperature at sea level is 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit (22-24 degrees Celsius). In the southern portion of the island, there are days where temperatures rise over 86 degF (30 degrees Celsius). The lowest temperature reached in Noumea is around 55 degF (13 degC); however, further to the north along the west coast, temperatures as low as 41 degrees (5 degC) are common.

Geography And Location

New Caledonia lies in the subregion of Melanesia, situated only 2 hours to the east of Brisbane, located to the south of Equator and the west from Fiji, as well as Vanuatu. It’s about one-fifth the area of Taiwan and covers an area of 18,575.5kms and comprises three major sections: the mainland; the Grand Terre; the limestone and coral Loyalty Islands; and several smaller islands scattered across the Coral Sea, including the Isle of Pines.

The geography of New Caledonia is one of the main reasons people visit it. It was named after Captain Cook because of its apparent resemblance to Scotland. The French South Pacific area offers everything. A breathtaking blue-green lagoon encircles the entire island and houses one of the most beautiful natural aquariums. More than 60 percent of the lagoon in New Caledonia is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The country has a territorial sea area of 22km offshore and an exclusive fishing zone that extends for 370km.

An incredible mountain range dominates Grand Terre. A lush grassland and forest dotted with paperbark trees is part of the range, which serves as the refuge for a unique ecosystem. The animal and plant life found in New Caledonia is rarely seen elsewhere. This island group has been one of the only stable ones in the volcano-prone Melanesian region. Nature reserves and hiking trails show off and preserve the unique geography of New Caledonia. The mountain ridges extend out to wild coastlines, so no matter where you travel, you’ll look around and enjoy the very best from both!

21 Fascinating Facts

James Cook, a British navigator, found New Caledonia in 1774. The hilly landscapes on the main island reminded him of his home country, Scotland. This led him to call it New Caledonia, and so he did that.
Melanesians lived on the island at the time. Most likely, they came from Papua New Guinea as well as Polynesia when they first came to the island.
Before 1840, Europeans didn't pay much attention to the area. Sandalwood traders came and changed that. It was on September 24, 1853, that the French took over New Caledonia.
Even though the Kanak people don't like it, it would still be a French Overseas Territory. Port-de-France, which is now Nouméa, was built in 1854 as the country's capital.
In 1864, Napoleon III founded a prison colony in the French territory of New Caledonia. As long as the prison colony was in place, the French sent people to the island. At this time, over 40,000 criminals, as well as political prisoners, came to New Caledonia from all over the world.
There were a lot of Melanesian uprisings at this time. The most important happened in 1878.
During WWII, New Caledonia supported the Allies. In 1942, the United States set up shop in Nouméa, the capital of the South Pacific.
Dancers from Melanesia show off their moves in Noumea, New Caledonia. 272,000 people are thought to be living in New Caledonia. Kanaks make up 39% of the people in the world (Melanesian). 27 percent of the people who live on the islands were born in Europe. Some of them have mixed ancestry, come from countries outside of Europe, or are from somewhere else in the world.
In terms of culture, there is a big difference between the Kanaks and the Europeans. The Kanaks have traditionally desired independence from France. The Europeans, though, want to remain loyal to France.
There are a lot of examples of French architecture in the capital city. Contrary to common opinion, French Caledonians really aren't exclusively Eurocentric. Because they live in a more rural area, they like county fairs and rodeos.
Because New Caledonia is in the tropical climate zone, the temperature stays warm all year. There is an average temperature of 24 degrees in this place. The temperature will fall to between 20 and 22 degrees in the winter, but it won't be cold.
Summer temperatures will be around 28 degrees, but with a lot of humidity, they could be as high as 35 degrees.
The month of February is both the wettest and the hottest of the year. People should visit New Caledonia in the spring when it is most beautiful from September to December. In the summer, the humidity can be too much.
It might be better for hikers to go during the milder winter months. The ocean is clearest between April and November. Scuba diving is at its best at this time of year, so take advantage of it while you can.
People who live on the main island have a lot of different types of places to live, from steep mountains to misty jungles to beautiful beaches. Grasslands that are good for cycling, as well as horseback riding, can be found on the west side of the island, whereas dense woods can be found on the east.
There's always something intriguing to do when visiting New Caledonia, and there's no shortage of places to stay. You can stay at a luxury resort, on an island, or in a simple hut.
Golfers may choose from four 18-hole courses on which to practice their swing. There are many stores in Nouméa that have a lot of French glitz for people to buy. Delicious pastry shops and French clothing stores are competing for customers' attention. Restaurants serve delicious French food with a little bit of the Caribbean.
New Caledonia is rich, with one of the highest per-capita incomes in the area. It is only Australia as well as New Zealand that have a bigger GDP than the United States of America does, though. In order for the country to be successful, it needs to have a lot of nickel and other minerals. Nickel is made in the country at quite a rate of 10% of the world's total output.
One of the most interesting things about New Caledonia is that three referendums have been held to decide the question. No one has yet achieved independence as a result of any of them.
To the Kanak, family and ancestral ties are more important than anything else in the world to them. They put their own wants on hold in favor of their group. When tribes lived together, they ensured that everyone in the group was fed and had a place to live.
Kanak culture is very much shaped by music and dance. People use musical instruments like conch shells, drums, and bamboo flutes. At festivals and other events, Kanaks dance the conventional Pilou dance. A lot of thought goes into the dance, and it has been around for a long time.