New Caledonia, what an underrated part of the world. I feel as though it does not get the credit it deserves - almost every Aussie I talk to (about New Cal) has something negative to say & I was always left confused as to why. So, from that - I needed to find out for myself so I scooted across the coral sea to visit the island (or islands, as I discovered - dumbass) and the moment I stepped my haviana into the french territory, I was in absolute awe. I'm like, Okay... i've been to Greece, I've been to the south of France, I've seen the swam in the clearest blue waters of Cyprus - as if this could ever be beaten. & then I said bonjour to New Caledonia. Suddenly heaven was not that far away.
Stepping onto the island was like taking a step back in time, I couldn't believe how nice people were! Are people still 'nice' these days? The ones I come into contact with day-to-day are f*cking not! I turned to my mum and saying "I might just stay?". She was all for it, simply because she'd have an excuse to come back - not that you need an excuse. New Cal is f*cking incredible. There is something about walking down a half-paved road, white beaches on your left & the f*cking amazon on your right - and then you scoot past a banana tree where you're encouraged by the locals to try one. Picking your OWN fruit, do the city folk even know how to do this? Using bare hands to pick things? what a fucking travesty. I sure as hell didn't. Lucky for me, my mum is a country gal and picked enough bananas to last us a lifetime, cheers Lee-anne.
Post-the-freshest-banana-i've-ever-eaten, I discovered the next local that served the biggest-f*cking-avocados-ever with salt & lemon on the side - was I in heaven? Yeah, I really, really was. Weird thing was they were offering a coca-cola alongside the avocado? I guess the news hadn't made it to New Cal that Coke was a dying breed (in my eyes - I clean my keys with it). I would rather lick gravel than consume that sh*t.
LOOK AT IT! It was bigger than my f*cking face. Anyway, post-avocado-life was even better than post-banana, could you believe it? I spent the next 3 days bathing in the sea & drinking from fresh coconuts. This was the ultimate time to use #thisislivingbarry and I didn't because I was still in dumb-ass mode. #missedopportunity
Like, there's the amazon jungle (jokes - I know my geography) touching the crystal clear water - is there anything more spectacular? I'm such a emotionless individual, but this place really brought something out of me. Perhaps happiness? No, on second thoughts i'll just label it "the-feeling-of-pure-bliss". Phased by nothing, I wish my Mon-Fri allowed this survive-life-method.
In between coconut drinking & avocado eating - I did a lot of activities that were then, VERY out of my comfort zone. We got a very shabby boat out to the middle of the coral sea where "lot's of reef sharks like to frolic" and I'm like OK, - whilst staring at the snorkelling gear they are handing me. For someone that fears sharks but religiously schedules in shark-week on foxtel into my life, I was stunned. The locals were expecting me to float around the surface above a 'few' reef sharks? What, in the off chance they might decide my ass looks like a tasty seal? My anxiety was at an all time high - try trying to breath through a mouthpiece whilst that's taking place. It's a f*cking delight.
Whilst snorkelling, I discovered my fear of real-life shark interactions subsided. I became so cocky that I dove down and rubbed ones belly - could you believe that? Some f*cking shark allowed me to come down and give him a pat? I felt like I was in a dream-like state. This experience was single-handedly my favourite moment of my time in New Caledonia - aside from coming into contact with a local 2 year old, in a nappy, wielding a f*cking knife at the beach - this was the most bizarre thing to ever see. Also I nearly adopted a local 9 month old, simply because I couldn't find his parents and I was having an Angelina Jolie moment.
For those who are still hesitant (HOW??!?!?!?!?!) to cross the coral coast to visit our neighbours in New Cal, don't f*cking hesitate. This place was incredible. Looking back at the photos (taken on my lame iPhone), the pictures do NOT do it justice. Spending 6 days there, my favourite places would be: Isle of Pines & Mare. In particular Yejele Beach. I'd probably recommend taking some amateur french classes pre-visiting because no one speaks a lick of english & best thing is they accept ANY currency. I paid for my bananas in AUD and my coconut in USD and they didn't even blink twice at it.
Pack your togs, haviana's (havies), and french-for-dummies book and you'll have the best f*cking time. If you can't swim, get some lessons or some floaties - both would be require for this occasion. If you have a fear of sharks, be confident in knowing I survived it. And for heaven sakes, please don't try and steal the native children. They are super cute but super fluent with knife-life and well I've watched enough CI Channel to know how that ends...... ;).
In all honesty, #visitnewcaledonia - you'll be glad you did.