This blog on New Caledonia is for those of you who ever wondered what life on a tiny island in the South Pacific might be like. Tired of bracing winter winds, the stress of an inner city or simply dreaming of a life change? This is a blog about what happens when, in the words of Yogi Berra, "you come to a fork in the road, [and] take it".

Showing posts with label New Caledonia resources. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Caledonia resources. Show all posts

04 August 2012

New Caledonia Today

We've just landed in New Caledonia again after 5 years in Europe. This blog recounts our adventures in New Caledonia from 2005 to 2007 - a wonderful time. It is full of fantastic photos, tales of sea snakes and island life.

For more up to date information on life in New Caledonia, see New Caledonia Today. We hope to keep you as entertained and informed with our new blog as we did just years ago! 

28 November 2007

New Caledonia Newcomer's Guide: 2008 edition

If you are looking for good, solid information on moving to and/or living in New Caledonia, I highly suggest the New Caledonia Newcomer's Guide. This free 26-page guide was updated, researched and compiled by a team of local English-speaking expatriate contributors. The guide touches on such topics as:
  • Recommended Reading
  • Getting Around New Caledonia
  • Driver’s Licence
  • The Magnificent Mobilis (mobile/cell phones)
  • Learning French
  • Do’s and Don’ts
  • Carte de Sejour
  • Finding a Place to Live
  • Health Concerns
  • Medical Care
  • Childcare
  • Culture Shock
  • How To Handle Culture Shock
  • Shopping For Food
  • Recommended Pastry Shops
  • Shopping For Home
  • Shopping For Clothes
  • Saving Money
  • Local Expressions
  • Useful Tips for Tropical Transformation
  • Creepy Crawlies and Other Tropical Delights
  • Poverty
  • Hobbies and Clubs
  • Places to Volunteer
  • Fun Places to Spend the Day
  • Vacations
  • Who Succeeds Abroad?
A 1997 Newcomer's Guide also exists, but this 2008 edition is a much-needed addition to the limited information you will find on living in New Caledonia (many thanks to Jo Ann for sharing this!).

Happy reading!

21 October 2007

New Caledonian Music Featured on "South Pacific Islands"

For those of you who are wondering what New Caledonian music is like, I'd highly recommend "South Pacific Islands", a Putumayo World Music compilation.

The three New Caledonian songs featured on the CD (Nengone Nodegu, Co Era So, and Watolea) are those you hear frequently on the radio in New Caledonia and they are certain to get you up out of your chair away from your screen, or at least a toe-tapping.

For a snippet of these songs, go to the Amazon site and click on one of the songs under "Listen to Samples".

Added bonus: "Co Era So" is available as a music video on the album: you can get a glimpse of our local culture.

I do recommend buying the CD - not only for the New Caledonian music, but the other music from places like New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. On grey days, no matter where you are, this CD will brighten your day.

*My thanks to Caitlin for sending this to me in Paris ... we listen to it nearly every day!

30 July 2007

New Caledonia's Online Phonebook

A resource we use all the time here in New Caledonia is its phonebook. It contains helpful maps that show all of Noumea's one-way streets (no other maps seem to do so!), restaurant advertisements (it is hard to know about them otherwise, strangely enough) and of course professional addresses, like doctors and dentists.

I had never been much of a phonebook user (I seem to look everything up on line), but moving to New Caledonia changed things. New Caledonians are from the old offline world - and living here one realises how much faster a simple phonebook is (find it, open it up, figure out the French for "doctor" - medecin- and away you go).

As our phonebooks are packed up and on a slow boat to China (they make great souvenirs - and serve as proof that we were here!), I am now using the online version of the phonebook. Though helpful, it is somehow not as good.

With a paper version, you can see tangential and yet relevant companies and services. Online, you have to know the name of the company or the category -- and the categories are bizarre here. I can never seem to get my category right. Plus, you cannot type in an address to find a company (which is very useful as you may know the street but not the company name).

Maybe the online version just isn't user-friendly enough yet - or maybe I expect too much.

In any case, if any of you are looking for friends, family or companies in New Caledonia, go to, right-hand side.
  • If you are looking for a person, type in the last name under "nom", the first name under "prenom", select the city and click on "rechercher".
  • If you are looking for a company, click on "pages professionelles" and you will be taken to a page where you can type in the name of the company, or a category and the city.
Have fun - and let us know if you find the online version easy or not.

27 July 2007

Rock of Contention: Free French and Americans at War in New Caledonia, 1940-1945

For those of you interested in the American influence on New Caledonia (which was, in truth, a bone of contention with the French government), I recommend Kim Munholland's "Rock of Contention: Free French and Americans at War in New Caledonia, 1940-1945".

The following excerpts are from a review of the book by Robert Aldrich, University of Sydney in H-France Review Vol. 6 (April 2006), No. 47:

Rock of contention

"The Americans, under the command of General Patch and then Admiral Halsey, overwhelmed New Caledonia with their men and machines. The presence of tens of thousands of soldiers and their matériel, the demands they made on local accommodation, the largesse of American dollars and the military exigencies they imposed all grated on the French. De Gaulle and his comrades in London reacted angrily to what they saw as the bossiness of American officers and to what they feared was Washington’s aim of taking over the French colony at the end of the war.

The French governors, in the American perspective, placed obstacles in their way, even to the point that an American official thought that one governor ought to be charged with abetting the enemy.

The French, on their side, sometimes said that the Americans posed more of a threat to New Caledonia than did the Japanese.

In fact, as Munholland justly points out, two priorities clashed: the American determination to take whatever measures necessary to win the war in the Pacific, the French determination to keep control over New Caledonia and to retain sovereignty over their overseas empire."

The American influence on the ground

"The American presence could not but bring great changes, at least temporarily, to New Caledonia. 'One might have said the Martians had landed' one Kanak student is reported as remarking.

The population of Nouméa soared, especially as the Americans put up Quonset huts, built an airport and constructed a “mini-Pentagon” at a beachside suburb. GI’s spent dollars lavishly for food, drink and other entertainments--86 bars opened in Nouméa during the war, and by 1944, the Trade Winds bar (*) alone sold 18,000 beers and 5,100 hamburgers a day ...

Many Melanesians were astounded at the sight of African American troops in positions of responsibility (despite the segregation practiced by the US Army). Many Kanak, and Asians, found employment with the Americans, and were even paid for their work--Kanak had been required by the French to donate free labour for public works projects. Although only a quarter of the Melanesians had held paid jobs before the war, during the American years two-thirds had such an experience.

Similarly, many of the Caldoches benefited from the American presence and the opportunities it provided; the Spanish-born head of the local Communist Party (and a Republican in the Spanish Civil War) sold bootleg liquor to US soldiers for what they claimed were exorbitant prices."

* Readers may recall that we know of someone who worked at the Trade Winds ... Lucie Agez.

My thanks once again to Marc ("Le Cagou") for sharing this with us.

18 July 2007

Trekking Greener Grasses: A New Blog on Living in New Caledonia

Photo by David Giustizia, 2007.

"Trekking Greener Grasses" is a great new English-language blog on moving to, and setting up life, on a tiny island in the South Pacific - yes, in New Caledonia. Authored by Canadian, David Giustizia, with input from his wife Alana and sons David and Nathan (and technical expertise provided by son David), this little blog promises to be an interesting look at what it is like to leave the snowy mountains of Canada for the coconut trees and breezy bays of New Caledonia.

David and his family will be living in Kone - which is about half-way up the island - and is home to about 2000 inhabitants. Their adventures will differ from those you have read here (life in a capital city is far from life in the outback!) ... I wager they will be much closer to what living on a tiny island is really like.

Thanks, David, for taking over the reins of "Sojourn in the South Pacific" - and have fun, everyone, reading about life in New Caledonia, from a different angle.

01 June 2007

Tikiwaka: Stunning Photos of New Caledonia

If you are looking for images of New Caledonia - from its north to its south, from its islands to the mainland, from its beaches to its mountains, from the air or in the sea, from its people to their customs - you must see by Sébastien Mérion. If you really want to dream, lose yourself or just escape daily life for a moment, go there now.

Tikiwaka is an image bank that contains thousands of unedited photos of New Caledonia and its people. If you are a professional, looking for high resolution photos of New Caledonia (or South Pacific island life, for example), this site is a boon. If you are an individual interested in seeing what New Caledonia is like, you will not find a better collection of photos. Easy and fast to use, you can search the site by keyword or category.

Sébastien is also working on another project: photos taken from an ultra-light aircraft. To see these breathtaking photos, see: They remind me of Yann Arthus-Bertrand ... if you look closely enough you'll even find the "Coeur de Voh".

Sébastien Mérion's work is well known in New Caledonia and France. He has been involved in big French network interviews and served as the subject of articles. Recently his beautiful photos were used for the covers of the New Caledonia phone books.

His blog on New Caledonia attracts tremendous traffic for its beauty and professionalism from visitors around the globe. I personally think it is the best blog on New Caledonia out there: Now we just need to get it translated into English ...

20 April 2007

New Caledonia's Top Blogs

Some weeks ago, New Caledonia's top blogs were named following an online survey conducted by a local blogger called "le mouton". 36 blogs were nominated by 29 Internet users. The top five winners, all Francophone, were:

  1. Margouillette - Life in New Caledonia told with a sense of humour and exquisite presentation.
  2. Calédosphère - A regularly updated smorgasbord of content on subjects as diverse as politics, New Caledonia, the Internet and love.
  3. 5 minutes en Nouvelle-Calédonie - A beautiful blog full of stunning photos, videos and sound.
  4. Le Cri du Cagou - A collective blog that blends techno with underground art and life in community.
  5. Katuali - Expats talk about daily life, good shopping, activities, etc.
For all 36 results, go to and scroll to "Et le Calédoblog d'Or revient à..."

Speaking of blogs, this little blog, "Sojourn in the South Pacific" will soon come to an end. We received official notice yesterday that we will indeed be returning to Paris on 21 August 2007 (via the States and the United Kingdom).

If any of you are looking for particular information about life in New Caledonia, do post a comment or send a note. Four more months ... let me know what you'd like to know.

09 February 2007

Basic Tourism Information about New Caledonia

Billed as "where the French Riviera meets the South Pacific" by a tourism site for Australians, New Caledonia is a veritable jewel.

If you are looking for some basic answers to some basic questions about New Caledonia, I can suggest "Frequently Asked Questions - New Caledonia" as well as "New Caledonia Tourism Information & Facts". Not only will you find out whether or not we speak English, but if the tap water is safe to drink, if New Caledonia is expensive, how far it is away from Australia and whether or not one can surf here. More importantly, you'll learn whether or not your mobile phone will work in New Caledonia and if you need a passport, visa or vaccinations to visit.

Photo by Laurent Guiader, 2005.

01 December 2006

World's Greatest Blog on New Caledonia

If you are interested in New Caledonia in any way, shape or form, I heartily recommend "5 minutes en Nouvelle-Calédonie", a French-language blog that contains the most beautiful photos of our fair island, videos, podcasts, free screensavers (as pictured above) and electronic postcards. The blog aims to give you a daily five-minute dose of life in New Caledonia - from the sun, the bright skies, the amazing blues to the breathtaking views. For my French readers, this will be a haven for you. For my English readers, do go take a look at all the photos and videos and postcards. Truly wonderful stuff! Bravo to the team behind "5 Minutes in New Caledonia".

16 October 2006

Le Nouméa

Nouméa has an interesting free magazine that features changes and developments in the city. Le Nouméa's coverage (in French) is both excellent and engaging. Rather than just touch on some of the projects underway in the city, it goes into them in depth. Did you know, for example, that the city cares for 15 000 trees -- 5 000 of which are palm/coconut trees and 1 200 columnar pines and kaori trees?

I discovered the magazine recently as the city is offering the opportunity to win air tickets to Nice, the Gold Coast (Australia) and Taupo (New Zealand), Nouméa's sister cities. To be eligible to win, you have to peruse the magazine to find answers to 10 questions. Hmmm ... read a magazine, win a trip? Why not?

22 August 2006

New Caledonia in BBC News

For a recently updated overview of New Caledonia, its history and its politics, see the BBC's Regions and territories: New Caledonia page. Though they mention our nickel and the wealth on the island, what they fail to mention is that the building of a second nickel mine in the south is highly controversial (and is being blocked by the locals) and that the money on the island is in the hands of the Caldoches (two major families) and the Metros. (See A Country Thrice Divided for a short description of the difference between the populations.) The Kanaks live as they can, however, many of them in squats.

08 January 2006

An Online Travel Guide for New Caledonia

Considering planning a trip to New Caledonia? "South Pacific Organiser", a handy little site at, with author David Stanley, is well organised and sets out very helpful information about New Caledonia on:

  • Fast Facts
  • The Land
  • Weather
  • Flora & Fauna
  • Dateline
  • Highlights
  • Activities
  • Public Holidays
  • Events
  • Practicalities
  • Getting There
  • Getting Around

10 December 2005

Photos of New Caledonia

For a wonderful site containing breathtaking photos of New Caledonia, I highly recommend Photos de Nouvelle-Calédonie, where you will also find a Webcam (why not take a look at what we're looking at - live?). But take a deep breath before you dive in ... the site might just be the tipping point. You'll be on line booking your next vacation - this time to the South Pacific - within seconds.