Noumea – capital of New Caledonia. It’s about a 2 hour flight out of Brisbane, east and with a similar climate to South East Queensland, the September holidays are the perfect time to visit. Noumea is the capital of New Caledonia’s main island and located in the south of the island on a deep water harbour.
Just 20km out of Surfers Paradise there is the delightful village of Sanctuary Cove, accessible by a picturesque winding road along a lake – or if you’re really lucky, by boat via the Broadwater. Even though so close to the glitter of Surfers Paradise, it’s like being in another world. The Sanctuary Cove Marina Village is a gorgeous little oasis with cute shops, great restaurants and bars and loads of atmosphere.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to stay with my family at the Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove for the weekend of the Sanctuary Cove Festival. Held on Sunday 1st of October, the one day festival brings the village to life. It has something for everyone – an array of luxury boats and cars for the adults, cooking demonstrations and my personal favorite, cocktail making presentations and for the children, there is a dedicated “Kids zone” with jumping castles, face painting, entertainment and more. It was fantastic to see so many people turn out for this Festival which added to the party vibe of the Village – and the best part of all, totally FREE. These days, it seems everything we do, we are dipping into our pockets to pay for one thing or another, so a free day out, aimed at the whole family is refreshing.
First – obviously a room at the Intercontinental is not part of the “free” entertainment, but a weekend away here was a great family getaway without having to battle airports, highways etc. Nestled amongst beautiful trees and gardens, the Intercontinental has a fabulous lagoon pool with a sandy beach that is huge. If you’re up early in the morning, you can even see the wallabies wandering around the grounds which was pretty cool – only in Australia I guess! The newly refurbished Club Lounge has a great afternoon high tea and perfect place for pre dinner drinks. They also offer breakfast, but one thing I absolutely love about all Intercontinental hotels is their amazing buffet breakfasts. It is one of the best of any hotel I have stayed in.
After spending some time hanging out at the hotel, a short walk to the Marina Village and we spent the day wandering around everything that the Sanctuary Cove Festival has to offer. The displays of some of the worlds most expensive and admired luxury brand cars were a popular attraction and it was great to have staff on hand to open up the vehicles and let you get up close and personal and really experience the lifestyles of the rich and famous. With brands like Maserati, Aston Martin, Ferrari and plenty more and price tags in the hundreds of the thousands, this was clearly one of the busiest displays of the day. Lining the boardwalk next to the Marina, with multi million dollar luxury boats as a backdrop, its no surprise we spent a LOT of time here. My personal favorite was the Aston Martin and conveniently parked right next to it, was my hubby’s dream car, a Rolls Royce Wraith!
Every local restaurants and cafe in the area was bursting at the seams with crowds stopping for a refreshment or lunch. They were packed with a fun festival vibe. Even though we would love to have tried all the tasty delights on offer, the ones we did sample were first class. Lunch was at Io Esco Café Cucina, authentic Italian food that is to die for – I could actually have just stayed right here for the whole afternoon, but we moved on to a sneaky afternoon wine at The Cove Tavern, sitting back watching the activities, whilst enjoying yet more food – the sensational bar snacks on offer. The Festival finished at 4pm so it was back to the hotel, a lazy chill by the pool for an hour before freshening up, pre-dinner drinks in hotel Club Lounge followed by dinner sitting next to the water at Black Angus Bar and Grill. Specializing in “hot rock” steaks where you cook your own steak or seafood (or both) on a sizzling hot rock at your table, its lots of fun and ideal for a unique night out. Our girls absolutely loved it. It is a bit pricey, but worth the expense as a treat. Black Angus is definitely somewhere you have to try at least once – although to be honest, once you try once, you’ll definitely want to go back.
Thank you to Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove and Sanctuary Cove Marine Village as well as Ruby Communications for a great weekend. If you get the chance, make sure you put this day on your calendar for next year, we will most certainly be back!