Location In FOCUS New Caledonia
Not far from Australia, but seemingly a world away is the paradise of New Caledonia with pristine beaches, adventure activities and a European influence deep in the Oceania region of the world.
The capital, Noumea, will be the first non-Australian location for Lachie as he makes his way around the world, and La Tonta International Airport will be the first taste of practice and procedure of another nations’ airport.
But not all will be unfamiliar; Lachie will share the runway with “Aircalin” the colourfully painted national airline of New Calendonia, while “Air France”, “Air New Zealand/Air Vanuatu” and our very own “Qantas” will also be familiar sites.
While the focus for the Wings Around the World (WATW) team will be transitioning this island paradise with efficiency and ensuring that everything goes to plan, if there was time permitted to go and explore a little deeper, hesitation would be at an all time low.
Step outside La Tonta into this pacific French colony to find a nation that has warm hospitality with a European influence. Come armed with some local currency, CFP francs (we may need a few – anyone have some spare fuel change?!) to indulge in what this French/Melanesian culture has to offer.
Even if your French speaking skills are a little rusty, it will be hard not to get caught up in the history of the ‘Kanak’ people, the Indigenous citizens of the nation who open up their villages for a taste of traditional life in New Calendonia.
If you’re after the beach scene, try Island hopping and check out the Isle of Pines or the Loyalty Islands, check out the largest lagoon in the world, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage listed site! Of course there are plenty of diving, snorkelling and other water sports to participate in too.
In short, New Caledonia is one of the most unique locations on the WATW journey, it’s a taste of Europe on our doorstep and it comes very early on in the trip.
As much as this snapshot of the nation appeals to our leisurely side, the WATW team will arrive here primed for what will still be the beginning of an adventure. There may even still be some anticipatory nerves for what is still to come.
New Caledonia isn’t the final Island location, nor is it the last stop before we get into the serious business of flying over water vast water masses, but it is important in so far as reminding us we will be outside Australia, and that this trip is real, the dreams of one Australian teenager coming together, piece by piece.
Nouvelle-Calédonie, we’ll see you real soon!
Stop #1 – The nuts and bolts
Country: New Caledonia
Landing at: Noumea
Name of Airport: La Tontouta International Airport
Airspace (controlled/non-controlled): Controlled
Number of nights: TBC
Coming From: Australia
Going To: Pago Pago, American Samoa
Fuel used to get there (estimated): TBC
Fuel required for the next leg: TBC