Cliffs, coffee and coconuts in Lifou, New Caledonia

Your Australia and New Zealand cruise will allow you to visit some famous cities and destinations that are sure to make your friends and family back home jealous. Yet it's also the perfect opportunity to discover and explore some new scenery that's off the beaten path. The island of Lifou in New Caledonia is one of the stops that certainly fits this description.

Located in the South Pacific, New Caledonia is officially an overseas province of France, much like the isle of Tahiti. Yet unlike the more well-known concept of "French Polynesia," New Caledonia is part of the Melanesian collection of islands, meaning the nation boasts a decidedly different culture and outlook on life.

You'll have a chance to learn all about this when you visit the village of Hnathalo. You'll be able to view the magnificent houses and beautiful gardens that make Lifou's villages some of the most picturesque on the planet. Enjoy sipping on fresh coconut milk as the local people welcome you with the traditional Kanak songs and dances. Sitting under tropical vegetation and becoming immersed in this unique culture is certain to be one of the most memorable moments on your entire vacation.

Coconut milk is undoubtedly delicious, but for a true taste of Lifou, head to the island's vanilla plantation. Here you'll be able to see how workers harvest vanilla right off the orchid vines. You'll even get a chance to sample the island's delicious vanilla-flavored coffee, which puts the Starbucks back home to shame.

Beyond its fascinating culture, Lifou also boasts some stunning natural scenery. Perhaps none are more impressive than the Cliffs of Jokin. Many islands brag about their seaside cliffs, but Jokin is likely to give you something you've never seen before, as the cliffs are actually made out of fossilized coral. Many years ago, these cliffs were actually underwater and formed the basis for the island's barrier reef. These days they're the perfect spot to look out over the sea and possibly even spot a whale or two.

Noumea, New Caledonia
Noumea, New Caledonia