Once you arrive in Lifou, you can leave every worry daily life brings behind. Lifou is not only the largest of the Loyalty Islands, but has endless personality and character waiting to be discovered. At 1,207 kilometres squared, it is the largest coral atoll in the world and provides a tropical paradise you can only dream about.
Being such a small island in size (but not in personality!) will require a short tender ride from the ship to the islands dock. Once you arrive on shore, you will be greeted by the sights and sounds of resident natives who will have local gifts and culinary delights for you to enjoy. Lifou predominately accepts $AUD from travellers, however the local currency is Pacific Franc (XPF). This is the official currency of all New Caledonian islands.
Between the Kanak culture of the natives, where they are known for their warm hospitality, and the crystal blue waters, limestone cliffs and white-sandy beaches surrounding the island, you will get lost in the serenity the island has on offer.
The virtually untouched island originally formed from fossil coral in the French territory of New Caledonia is so relaxing you will find yourselves in awe of the natural beauty of the island. Previous guests have found snorkelling and deep sea diving to be one of the most popular activities to enjoy in Lifou; you can discover the vast array of coral and marine life the Emerald Sea surrounding the island provides.
For all the adventurists out there – take a plunge into the unknown, as one might say. Behind the Catholic Church lies what can only be described as exhilarating fun; welcome to the caves! Starting off by venturing down a windy path into a forest-like trail (bring sturdy shoes, it gets slippery) until you reach the very bottom where you come across the illustrious dark caves. From here, you can stand on the edge of the rocks in your swim gear and take the leap of faith. Jumping straight into a freshwater waterhole, your leap of faith will be in pitch black surroundings! The cave has a glimmer of sunlight seeping in, but the jump itself into the pitch-black hole provides a thrill like no other. This is the kind of adventure that needs to be added to your bucket list and more importantly, ticked off after visiting Lifou.
For those who are slightly less willing to plunge into total darkness, or snorkel their way to fill their daily excitement quota, Lifou provides the perfect scenic walk to a spot that provides breathtaking views of the island. Take the 800m walk to the top of the hill and it will take your breath away (literally too!). Providing a 360 degree view of the island and your ship in dock, it is certainly not a sight to be missed.
CYC’s Top 3 Activities to try in Lifou
LIFOU FRESH WATER CAVES
A personal favourite from passengers and staff alike, we can’t recommend this enough! A short walk to the Catholic Church lies a hidden gateway that is one for your bucket list! For a small fee (Approx AUD$10 per person), you enter a small path which leads you through a limestone cave which will open up to a serene forest where you venture down into the fresh water caves. We won’t give too much away, but you won’t regret it. Bathers, a towel and sturdy walking shoes are recommended for this activity.
LOCAL VILLAGE DELIGHTS
For those who are slightly less willing to plunge into total darkness, or snorkel their way to fill their daily excitement quota, Lifou has quaint local open air markets run by villagers who select varying souvenirs, clothing and local food & drink for you to enjoy minutes from the pier where you will enter the island. You can sit back, relax and enjoy a seaside massage to the faint sounds of local musicians in the beautiful tropic surroundings.
Lifou provides the perfect scenic walk to a spot that provides breathtaking views of the island. Be sure to take the scenic 800m track on newly renovated stairs with railings to the top of the island for a perfect view of the coast, where you can visit a local church and have the perfect photo opportunity at the top. We recommend bringing a camera, bottle of water for the trek, a hat, and sunscreen & sunglasses are a must!