Lifou New Caledonia
Lifou is a part of the island nation, New Caledonia in the South Pacific Ocean. It is not a country but a French Special Collectivity. Lifou is the largest atoll in the world.
Travelling provides some long – term memories. Those memories are the best way to fill in the missing parts from the puzzle called ‘the life’. Some places in the world are considered to be ‘the heaven on Earth’ and Lifou New Caledonia is one of those places.
Many people have visited Lifou and they have confirmed the thesis that Lifou is a place worth to be visited. It is a place that should be on the travel list of the people with adventurous spirit, but also for the ones who just want to relax and do nothing.
FAQ ABOUT LIFOU
WHAT LANGUAGE DO THEY USE IN LIFOU ?
French is the official language of the island. However, people here speak Japanese and various other local languages. Very few guides understand English.
What currency is used in Lifou?
CFP is the currency widely used in the country. CFP is Cour de Fran Pacifique. However, people here accept Australian Dollars too
How to get from Noumea to Lifou ?
There are 4 flights between the cities. There are also cruises available that cover Noumea, Lifou, Isle of Pine and other Pacific Islands in the region.
Other than this, there are ship services available from Noumea to Lifou. However, they are not frequent or regular.
What is the best way to get around lifou ?
Most of the places like the caves, snorkelling are at walking distance. There are also local tours offered by travel agents.
However, one can ask directions to the locals and explore it simply by walking
How to find the best diving spots in lifou ?
One can hire Lagoon safaris and reach the diving sites in 20 minutes. The boatsmen know the exact place for good water marines in the region. The diving experience in the waters here is awesome, as it is a different world under water.
How is the marine life in Lifou ?
It is one of the most pristine marine colonies of the world. It holds more than 2000 species of fish. It supports shark fish, tuna, grouper, catfish, rockfish, mola, gars and mammals like seals, whales, dolphins
Lifou is a commune of France in the Loyalty Islands Province of New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean. Lifou is the most populated place in the Loyalty Islands. There is a neighbor of Lifou and that is the smaller Tiga Island, and several uninhabited islets in between these two. All these islands lie among the Loyalty Islands, 190 km (120 mi) to the northeast of New Caledonia’s mainland. At 1,146 km2 (442 sq mi), Lifou Island is the largest atoll in the world.
The town of Wé, on Lifou Island, is the administrative centre of the commune of Lifou as well as the provincial seat of the Loyalty Islands Province.
Lifou attracts its visitors with its pristine water and wonderful nature. Recently, it has become one of the best and most wanted destinations for a honeymoon. Lifou is also a destination of many cruises, but also you can get there by ferry.
Weather in Lifou
It experiences a tropical climate and is very well influenced by the trade winds. The hot season goes from December to March and has torrential rains and cyclones with temperature ranging between 28 degrees Celsius to 33 Degree Celsius.
The months of June to August are cold with the temperature ranging between 15 and 20 degree celsius.
Best Time To Travel To Lifou : The ideal period to visit the island is in the months of April to May or in the months of October to November when the temperature is around 22 degree Celsius.
Things to do in Lifou New Caledonia
Visit Notre Dame de Lourdes – Lifou church
Inside the town, at the hilltop is the Notre Dame de Lourdes. One has to climb the small hill to reach the church.
However, the hill is small and there is a proper pathway of steps to reach the church. The pathway is filled with greenery. The view from the top of the church is simply spectacular. It is one of the best picturesque points of Lifou islands. The church is also called the Lady of Lourdes Church. The entire bay can be viewed from the top.
There is another church that can be spotted as one gets off the boat. It can also be spotted from the deck of the ship. From the church, turn left and walk till the end of the road.
At its dead end is a rocky path. Climb the rocky path to get the best view of the entire island. The spot is best to take pictures covering the blue waters and even the cruise ship
VISIT Easo beach
This is the beach where the tender boats drop its tourists. The beach is warm, shallow and calm. However, it is not ideal for snorkelling as there are no corals here. However, there are some shady trees to rest
VISIT Vanilla Plantations
The world-renowned quality of vanilla is brought from these islands. The plain of these vanilla plantations once used to be lagoons. Never miss trying the scoop of their vanilla products here. They offer it in the form of milk, ice cream and other local cuisines.
The climate of Lifou makes it ideal for vanilla plantations. Till 1860 the plant was ornamental. Vanilla is an orchid flower before it was used as a flavouring agent. Out of 25,000 orchid species, 100s are vanilla. The plantations of Vanilla were first begun in 1993. It is called the “brown gold of Lifou”
The plantation has a House of Vanilla that is built away from the roads and other human activities. This makes these vanilla one of the best in the world. This is because Vanilla is said to pick up the smell of its surrounding while developing. Therefore is grown in a pristine secluded place.
In the mid-October, Vanilla festival is being celebrated by the Mu tribe in the south-east region of Lifou.
VISIT Jinek Bay
The bay is close to the church. Just taking a left from the church road leads to the bay. The bay is best for snorkeling. Also, it is easy to reach from the Easo beach.
The locals are charging AUD $15 for snorkeling. One can pay in Australian dollars here. As the money is going to the development of the locals and protecting the environment it is fair to charge for using the beaches. One can also rent snorkeling glasses on the beachsides.
Also, only 100 people are allowed to use the bay at the same time for 3 hours. The sand here is white.
The bay has a pass. The pass is a narrow stretch of water that is connecting 2 large water bodies.
People sell local handicrafts on the shores. There are kayaks available at the beach. One can pedal the kayak to reach the caves on the island.
VISIT Wadra Bay
The Wadra bay is in the south of Lifou. The bay is deserted. Even during weekends, one can hardly find crowds. Though private, it is not suited for camping.
This is because the beach is rocky and is filled with greenery. One can rest under the trees and enjoy the site of the turquoise water here. No corals are found here and it does not support any sporting activity.
The rocks can be climbed and can get drenched by the drizzling effect of the waves as they splash waters over the rocks. The beach is awesome if one desires to experience it. Apart from that, it gives privacy
If a tourist is on a short agenda one can consider skipping the spot.
VISIT Lifou cave – the devil’s cave
The cave has under waters deep inside! Reach the At Pierre Baptist Church. The caves are located just behind the church. Locals stand in front of the entrance of the caves to charge an entry fee.
One can bargain and try reducing the entry fee. After paying, one has to walk through rocky surfaces. The trees get bigger as one walks through the forest. There are ship ropes that help to stay on track and not get lost. One has to enter the cave through a scary dark narrow opening. This is the place where the name of the cave is justified “Devil’s cave”.
Later after walking on rocky surfaces, he or she has to blindly jump into great darkness that will look like death as the floor cannot be seen. Eventually, the jumper will hit the water. This experience is simply the best and a must to try once in a lifetime.
In reality, the water is simply at a distance of 2 to 3 metres height from the surface but is deep down. The water inside the cave is fresh water. The columns of the caves are mighty limestone karst formation. Tree roots hung down from the rocks here adding to the devil’s experience
The path to the caves can be misguiding. There are also sinkholes that look like small opening next to the rock, but when one peeps in it will be 100s of metres deep and dark. Taking a travel guide along is safe.
The cave is called the devil’s cave as one needs great guts to jump into the deep waters to see the cave.
VISIT Peng Beach
Peng Beach is down the coast. It might take half an hour to reach the Peng beach driving from the ship dock. The beach is silent and is shallow with crystal clear turquoise water.
It is always deserted except for the weekends. When the leprosy outbreak happened in 1928, people here moved out of the beach and its surrounding area.
It is an ideal place for camping. However one has to bring own tents and other essentials for camping.
Only the privacy and a pleasant night are provided by the beach. There are no shops or people to aid in camping here.
VISIT Luengoni beach – the hidden jewels
The beach is filled with sinkholes. These sinkholes are called “The Hidden Jewels.” Sinkholes are generally formed by the Karst process. Karst process is the dissolution of underground rocks like limestone that is in abundance in the region. As these rocks dissolve in water, the soil above it becomes loose and starts sinking forming sinkholes. Many such sinkholes can be found on these beaches. The bay here is called the Chateaubriand Bay. This is ideal for windsurfing as this is the only spot where waves hit 3metre height. Also one does not need to pay to use the waters like the Jinky bay.
Some sinkholes are hidden behind the vegetation.
To view these sinkholes one has to walk 3 hours (5 km) along the beach. The walk is worth the sight. The journey is adventurous too. As one starts to walk on the beach, he or she will have to climb on the coral cliffs that are 2 metres high in the waters. Later comes the best part of jumping into total darkness realising that one is inside the sinkhole!
Start early so that the sinkholes can be watched when the sun is at the zenith. This is the right time to watch these sinkholes as they refract the sun’s light-producing beautiful lights inside them. The visual is simply mesmerising!
Some of the sinkholes have been converted into grottoes and caves by the continuous erosion of the limestone in the region. It can also be evidently seen here. Grottoes are the natural caves where ancient humans used to live.
However many of the caves here are filled with water. One can walk in the waters to reach the inside of the cave. Don’t miss to watch the waters in the caves turning from turquoise to cobalt as one move inside the cave.
Some caves have fresh water. However, one has to walk inside the dark caves to find fresh water. The experience of such caves is thrilling. While walking, one can witness the huge and mighty columns of limestone gigantically standing on both sides.
It is advisable to hire a travel agent to reach the place.
Don’t forget to carry the water shoes as one might have to walk on the coral rocks to reach the sinkholes.
VISIT Jokin cliffs
The cliff is 60 metres above the water. The Island’s geology and its formation can be well understood from the cliff. The cliff lies in the northern part of Lifou. The Jokin tribals live in the land that lies beneath the cliff. From the top of the cliff, one can see the burial ground of the chiefs of the tribals along the shore.
Rather than the cliff itself, its foot is more fun. There are no beaches at the foot. Rather the foot is covered with crystal clear water. The water is transparent to the seafloor with corals and also reflects the greenery of the cliff. This job of the waters at the foothill is definitely a must to see. One can go diving or snorkelling in the waters. The marine life here is rich with fish, manta ray and other spectacular marine organisms.
The bottom of the cliff is U – shaped slightly curvy, making it look like a pool opening to the beautiful blue sea.
Land-based activities in Lifou
One can choose to go hiking. It is planned by the local agents for 1 or 2 days. They take the tourists inside the deep forest, sinkholes and caves. The experience is different as one has to meander between forest and sea to discover the myths of the island.
The locals know the right spot places of the sinkholes. They are well aware of the entry and exit spots. Never take the trip without a guide as the sinkholes can be highly dangerous at times.
They even offer information about the medicinal plants on the way. The trip is extraordinary provided one chooses the right guide.
They also tell stories about the legends and the leaders on the island.
The place also offers mountain biking.
Activities in Lifou New Caledonia
It may take you more than a day in order to visit and explore this little paradise. There are a lot of things that you can do here. The most important thing to do is to explore this place from the perspective of a local inhabitant.
Tourists just take pictures, enjoy one the beach and have a walk. In order to feel the charm of this place you need to get to know the local inhabitants and learn more about their customs, traditional folklore and also their traditional cuisine.
You are likely to be present on some of the dance performances of some of the local inhabitants there and you will enjoy it for sure. The beaches and the pristine water are a reason more to visit this place. It should be also the next destination for people who enjoy the nature and spending some time in nature. There are a lot of tropical plants and flowers that can be spotted. Despite the plants, there is an opportunity to explore the underwater world. There is a small museum that should be visited in order to learn something more about the history of this place.
One cannot find expensive comfortable resorts in Lifou. There are one or 2 beach resorts.
Not all the resorts are well maintained here. Most of the tourists do not stay here at Lifou. The places can also be covered in a single day if the person is not a vivid nature lover.
There are also hotels to stay that are comfortable and furnished. Most of them do not offer food. One can very rarely spot French restaurants in the region.
The population is also dominated by the locals, unlike other New Caledonian part of French Special Collectivity.