So it was time for a mini break of pure relaxation. I had recently had the sales/marketing rep from the new Sheraton Resort Deva in New Caledonia so I thought it would be a great spot to check out.
Noumea is a quick 3-4 hour flight away from Melbourne. Air Calin also operate direct services a few times a week which is super handy as we did have to go via Sydney on the way over. The transfer in Sydney is always annoying, the bus, the customs, the security is just excruciating to me! They need to seriously sort our a monorail or something to join those terminals together. I am bias as a true Melbournian as you can transfer by a simple escalator from domestic to international!. We had no checked luggage so it was great to be able to check in online and head straight to the gate. Air Calin staff are very friendly and welcoming, aircraft is standard and just 2 rows of Business Class. Im not sure its worth spending the money on this for such a short route and not a super flash product. Air Calin does not have inseat entertainment or over head movies… it does however offer inflight wifi by which you can download the AirCalinPLAYER app on your phone or tablet and have access to a normal inflight entertainment. Quite a good system actually, well as long as your device is charged up and you have your headphones.
Noumea Airport is quite new, clean and well organised. I think the workers were striking again so Police were on duty of customs and immigration… think that may be a good thing as everything was very quick.
We decided to hire a car as we knew the Sheraton was a good 90minute drive from the Airport. Driving was easy but there is really only one big road around the island ( besides greater Noumea) and drivers are either breaking the land speed record or driving Miss Daisy. Interesting experience and overtaking was always a little hair raising. We finally arrived at Sheraton in the Domaine de Deva region. This area is naturally pretty and the Sheraton is placed at the end of it. The resort is technically not even fully open as yet and you can tell. The golf course is still being constructed and part of the resort grounds are still under construction (not major but more landscaping etc) The road that leads to the resort currently ends at the Sheraton but looks like there is plans to continue it further into the Domaine.
The Resort is an odd layout where as the rooms are in stand alone blocks that have about 4 rooms per block. its handy for groups as you can join most of the rooms together but we did notice a little bit of noise. Nothing dramatic and wouldn’t be a problem if it was a family. We had a view of half the golf course then the over the kids club which is situated in the centre of thee room blocks. The rooms are nice and modern and have everything you need except for more than 2 english TV channels. I know you dont go on holidays to watch TV but at night it was difficult as there was no other real entertainment in the common areas. There was options to connect your tablets etc to the TV but ours was not working.
The resort uses golf buggies to get guests around if they need but we chose to walk to the main areas. The pool area is lovely and the a nice view through the trees out to the bay. The ocean was not really swimmable straight from the shore as there is a lot of weed. This was a shame as its a nice beach to walk along. We took the kayak & paddle boards out to the beautiful clear blue water we could see about 400 metres out.. that was very nice! The reception area is impressive and main restaurant is nice also.
There was only the main restaurant, a bar and the Sand Grill which was open for lunch. Only main problem was that the food was basic but also the same/similar menu in all the 3 venues which was got a little boring after day 3. The main restaurant has a buffet for dinner every night also but i really felt they need to concentrate on expanding the food choices.
A Pool/Sunset Bar would also be a really great idea. We did a day trip down to the main town of Noumea which took us about 2.5-3 hours to get to. The town itself is larger than I imagined. We visited the markets where locals sell crafts etc but mainly fresh food and a particular seafood section. Its next to the marina and good for about an hour or so. We drove around the city and heading along the coast road to check out some of the near by beaches/bays. We visited Le Meridian which is about 10mins from town, Its a nice resort and has a very small beach front which was swimmable. The sand area is tiny and not a big white sandy beach as such. No surf as it is all bay but it is a windsurfing & kite boarders heaven! The winds and shallow waters are perfect for these sports. We had lunch at the Barca Cafe over looking the bay then had to jump in for a quick swim before we heading back to home base. The water is lovely, very salty so floating around is just great.
The small towns along the way back home are nothing to write home about. La Foa & Bourail are the two bigger towns and dont offer much for tourists as such but I know that the South Pacific in general is not a place you go to for this kind of thing. The locals are super friendly and French is spoken eveywhere and english is not widely spoken but you can get by no problems. We did find there was so many French tourists also. A long way to go from France.
Overall we had a great time relaxing by the pool and watching some pretty special sunsets. The Sunsets were probably the highlight for me. I look forward too seeing how the Sheraton and the Deva area grows over the next few years I can see it possibly becoming a little like the Coral Coast in Fiji but its a long way off from that as yet.