Noumea, New Caledonia

This is a French dependency which is about equally close to Auckland, New Zealand to the south and Brisbine, Australia to the west.  But for the largely Melanesian population, you would think you were in the south of France.  A series of referenda have been planned for after 2014 to determine if the people want independence from France.  The major export industry is nickel.  New Caledonia is the world’s largest producer of nickel.  The issue will be whether the island can do as well economically alone, relying on nickel,  as it does with the money that France is currently pouring into it.  It is very expensive to fly here, so they do not get too many tourists.  The cost of living is also very high.  Our ship was greeted by a local dance troupe. (photo) I started with a quick tour around the island which was discovered by Captain Cook. One of the early explorers of this area was Bougainville, for whom the plant is named (photo). The island was the U.S. Headquarters in the South Pacific during WWII, and parts of the city are named strange names from that time – e.g. Motor Pool.   The views from the heights of the island are quite spectacular. (photo)  They also have some lovely beaches where many of the people from the ship were headed for the day.  (photo)  After the tour, I took a local bus out to a cultural centre which was a sort of museum and study centre for the study of the local Kanak people.  The centre was very new and was built in the style of Kanak houses which are quite unusual.  (photo)  On my return to town I went to the new Caledonia Museum which had interesting displays of tribal cultures from around the South Pacific.  After lunch I explored the centre of town which was full of shops selling expensive French goods. We had another dance group perform as we sailed away, and the star performer was a young girl.  (photo)

 

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One Response to Noumea, New Caledonia

  1. Pingback: Nouméa, New Caledonia | Leslie's Travel Blog

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