The Australians who are stranded in New Caledonia.

Earlier this month, Australian friends Caroline Tully and Megan Soutar embarked on a girls' trip to New Caledonia. They were looking forward to enjoying some diving, snorkelling, rest and relaxation.

Little did they know the chaos and fear they would soon find themselves amongst.

"We arrived on May 11 and had one day of our normal holiday, but the next day everything started to escalate," Caroline tells Mamamia.

"We started to feel a little concerned as there was unrest. We were driving further north, and we encountered some blockages along the roads, rioters and people burning things. Then we received a notification that the international airport had closed and the situation was worsening."

Caroline and Megan called the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for answers. At this point there was no register, but just days later the list of Australian people hoping to be evacuated was growing.

Caroline and Megan are in the north of New Caledonia, specifically in a town called La Roche Percee, near Bourail. The centre of the rioting is predominantly in Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia. But there are fears that zone of unrest is expanding.

The tension comes amid plans for an electoral overhaul, resulting in rioting, shops and businesses being boarded up or looted, road barricades set up, and subsequently, six deaths. A state of emergency and curfew remain in place, with army reinforcements and the French military deployed. It's a deeply concerning situation, with locals and travellers fearing for their personal safety.

Watch: some of the fortunate Aussies who have been repatriated. Post continues below.

Video via 7News Australia.

For Caroline and Megan, they are unable to reach Noumea, where repatriation flights are being offered by the Royal Australian Air Force. The highways and roads are shut down, and it's unsafe for them to travel, leaving them stranded in the north. They aren't alone; the pair telling Mamamia they are in contact with eight other stranded Australian travellers in their vicinity, and countless more tourists from other countries.

"We were meant to go home on May 18, but we had told DFAT before this date that we were keen to get home anytime earlier because we were really worried. Supermarkets have boarded up and fuel stations around us are closed. We've heard of Australians close by who encountered rioters that were really intimidating. They came up to their car windows with guns and machetes and were asking the tourists if they had weapons or drugs," they explain.

"It's a really scary situation."

Back home, Megan has an 11-year-old son and husband, and Caroline has a partner and a small business that she hopes to return home to soon.

Speaking from Australia, Megan's best friend Bonny Jenkins says family and friends of Megan and Caroline have been tirelessly trying to contact DFAT and politicians for support.

"When we realised how badly Megan and Caroline had been let down by DFAT and other federal politicians, a group of their girlfriends banded together via Instagram to work out a way that we could support them and share their story," she tells Mamamia.


"We needed to get people back home to realise the dire situation they are in and start talking about it. Megan and Caroline are positive, resilient women but being abandoned by our government without a repatriation plan or any communication is definitely having an effect. We just want them safely home so we can give them the biggest hug."

 For Caroline and Megan, they remain in limbo.

"We've basically been told we're in the hands of the French authorities, we haven't heard from DFAT as to how we're meant to get out of here. There's no plan," says Caroline.


Right now, the pair are somewhat safe. They are at one of the island's small towns, where everyone is trying to support one another and conserve food and water resources.

But as two female travellers on their own, it's been an extremely daunting ordeal. 

Caroline adds that an aerodrome is located 10 kilometres away from where they are, the stranded Aussies hoping authorities can organise a repatriation flight to come to this specific landing strip. In the meantime, they spend their days tirelessly calling DFAT hoping today is the day for answers.

"We have little indication of where the unrest is escalating to and if we will remain safe where we are. The village we are in has organised a neighbourhood watch of sorts where designated people walk around at night to keep an eye on the roads. But we just feel forgotten and abandoned by the Australian Government."

For people who read about Caroline and Megan's situation — and the reality many tourists are faced with right now — they want the public to know that a number of Australians remain stranded and scared.

"We feel like there's no plan, we've had no reassurance. One official on the phone said to us, 'Well at least you're at the beach.' In reality, we're in a constant state of anxiety and our cortisol is through the roof. We are both just waiting by our phones for the message saying someone is coming to help us."

Mamamia has reached out to the Australian Department of Home Affairs for comment. They responded by ushering us to Foreign Minister Penny Wong's most recent statement on X. You can read it here.

Feature Image: Supplied.