The South Pacific swells of Melanesia make for a divine yacht destination for those seeking barefoot luxury, deserted white sand shores, and the chance to live on island time. A collection of no less than 300 islands scattered across luminescent blue shores make up the fabulous Fiji Islands, and the majority of these remain as wild and untouched as the beginning of time. Somewhere between the Fijian Islands and Australia, the savviest captains will find a small stretch of land, sitting 250 miles long and carrying a localized French dialect. This is New Caledonia, a place where solitude comes as standard, reefs come drenched in crystal clear clarity, and the feeling of being at the ends of the earth never quite disappears.
Reasons to Charter a Yacht in Melanesia
A thousand shades of blue make up the soft lagoon waters that encircle New Caledonia. So beautiful and precious, this shimmering body of water has even been declared a UNESCO heritage site, you can fully immerse your soul in this watery playground – from snorkeling to kayaking, diving down to discover canyons of corals, watching whales from the deck of your yacht charter or taking private tenders for picnics ashore.
Beyond the Beach
Sure, for yacht charters – Fiji is all about the anchorages, but beyond you can find nightlife in Suva, hiking in Kadavu, and gardens and waterfalls in Taveuni. The local people are famed for their wide smiles and open hearts. Witness the fascinating Kava ceremony, visit the Hindu temples of Nadi and fall in love with Fijian warmth. In New Caledonia, guests can also witness the ceremonial houses from the Kanak people and listen to the locals entertain with their ukuleles.
Everyone knows French food is some of the finest in the world, but when it comes with a twist from New Caledonia suddenly the whole experience is heightened. In the capital of Noumea, you will find plenty of haute couture restaurants, but even on the islands you can slurp escargot, fall in love with fromage, and go crazy for artisan chocolate.
Where to Visit in Melanesia
Mamanucas Islands, Fiji
Plunge right in with a yacht charter that sets sail to the islands of Mamanucas. Less than 2 hours from the beating heart of Port Denarau you will find the islands awash with soft blooming coral and teeming with tropical fish. Those who prefer their waters with an edge will swoon over the famed surf breaks that can be found around these parts, and the two resort islands of Mana and Malolo are perfect for when you want to step ashore and sip a Mai-Tai from your hammock.
Ile des Pins, New Caledonia
With a name translating to island of pines, yacht charter guests have a clue as to what awaits them when they drop anchor at the iridescent Ile des Pins. Along with sugar fine white shores, warm lapping lagoon waters, and flanks of forest – this island is famed for its local legends, landing of Captain Cook, missionary invasions, and now – indigenous reserves. There isn’t much in the way of tourist infrastructure on the Ile des Pins, meaning that yacht charter guests can lap up this lush little spot and be sure to try the local escargot specialty.
Naviti Island, Fiji
Make sure your yacht charter in Fiji swings by the bliss and bounty of Naviti Island. This is the place to swim alongside graceful manta rays, visit the local villages, and see why the Yasawas Islands hold such a special spot in the world,
Noumea, New Caledonia
The charming French style capital of New Caledonia is worth dropping anchor to explore. There is an air of sophistication on the delightful shores of Noumea, where Latin Quarters spring to life beneath sultry stars, and chic French dinners can be devoured with wonderful wines in waterfront bistros. Everywhere you seem to look, there is a new bay view at every turn, and for those who want to splurge on Paris inspired fashion, Noumea is where you will get your fill.
When to Charter a Yacht in Melanesia
Sitting just north of the Tropic of Capricorn, New Caledonia often boasts balmy and beautiful weather that makes the lagoon look more and more appealing each and every day. The best time to visit is September and November when the temperatures are back on the rise but the rain has already fallen.
Due to the rare and remote nature of the Fiji Islands, a yacht charter is the best way of exploring the scattered palm studded shores. Temperatures remain fair and bright throughout the year, although the rainy season lasts from between November to April.