Following the 2016 Festival, Julie Hill hit the jackpot when she won a trip to New Caledonia in our Website Competition. Thanks to New Caledonia Tourism and Aircalin, Julie experienced a fantastic taste of what the Pacific Heart had to offer.
“Before leaving I had plenty of time to bring back memories of 1968 when I was last in New Caledonia. How could all those years go by without returning to this tropical paradise so French but only three hours from Auckland?
… The highlights for me included visiting the Tjibaou cultural centre …This building, an architectural wonder by Renzo Piano, with material on display that reveals his inspiration from the great houses and traditional villages of the Kanak and from the majestic natural environment. We were lucky enough to be involved in a performance of the Waan Dance festival set in the grounds. The Yumi Danis (“We Dance”) is a performance by Melanesian musicians and dancers from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
…This holiday included visits to two destinations that might be called “next best thing to Paradise”. First: two days on Ile des Pins gave a taste of luxury seldom enjoyed (since I am not a globe-trotting billionaire). Le Mériden Ile des Pins, at Oro Bay, is a tropical resort with bungalows fringing a white sand beach and backed by forest in which is located the Natural (coral) Pool bordered by the Column Pines that Captain Cook saw and so assigned the name.
…Second highlight: our trip to Ouvéa of the Loyalty Islands. Paradis D’Ouvéa was set on a stretch of magnificent Mouli Beach. This was the premium 4-star island resort. Most other accommodation here is “Tribal Accommodation” and as this early part of September seems to be “off season” there were few tourist around. In the hotel dining room in the evening there were 10 guests and during the day we basked in the sun under a coconut umbrella and swam with barely a person around.
…I also cannot believe my luck to have had this fabulous holiday and I do indeed plan a return visit in 2017. Thank you to the Alliance Française French Film Festival, Aircalin, Air Calédonie, Arc En Ciel Services, Sheraton Deva Spa and Resort, Le Meriden Ile Des Pins and Le Meriden Noumea, The Ramada Hotel and Suites and a special thanks to Sally Pepermans of New Caledonia Tourism New Zealand, for making all the arrangements run smoothly.” — Julie Hill, Auckland, New Zealand
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