The Ultimate New Caledonia Travel Guide

What comes to your mind when you think of New Caledonia? A French-speaking island in the Pacific?

Before I boarded the plane from Brisbane to fly with the national airline  Aircalin just under 2 hours east to this French island territory, I didn't know much at all.

New Caledonia travel guide

Enter palm-lined beaches, the world's largest lagoon paired with the second largest barrier reef, some of the most delicious seafood and fresh warm croissants like you'd find them in the streets of cities in France.

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noumea travel guide

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Useful New Caledonia Travel Tips

There are some things you should know before heading to New Caledonia.

Being part of France, the national language is French as well as their own local languages spoken by the native Kanak tribes. English is used widely in tourism, but I have found that New Caledonians really appreciate when you try some words or sentences in French, so it doesn't hurt to learn.

New Caledonia uses Pacific Franc or CFP (Comptoirs Français du Pacifique). Euro is not used here.

The climate is very much like in Brisbane, Australia. It's pleasant around the year with winter highs in the 20s and summer highs going over 30 degrees. So when is the best time to visit New Caledonia? Mid-December to late January as well as July and August are peak months for visitors, if you want to find affordable accommodation and less crowds, go in May-June and September-October. They are ideal months to miss the height of the wet season and possible cyclones too.

New Caledonia doesn't require any visas for short stays of less than 3 months for most nations . Just make sure your passport is valid for at least 3 months after your return date.

Leaving a tip is not necessary in New Caledonia as most prices are shown as full and inclusive of any tax.

Noumea Sightseeing

Getting To And Around New Caledonia

While many visitors come to New Caledonia by cruise ship, I highly recommend you consider flying into Noumea directly.

Coming by cruise, you will not be able to appreciate the diverse landscape, the hospitality of the local people and beautiful underwater marine life – and you surely won't get to see the lagoon with its reef and many little islands from the air.

New Caledonia Island Hopping

Flying With Aircalin To New Caledonia

With Aircalin you can easily fly into New Caledonia from some of Australia's major cities, including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

I also learned that you can fly from Noumea with Aircalin all the way to France as well as Tokyo , Osaka, Los Angeles, Fiji, Vanuatu and Auckland. You can actually reach over 110 destinations from Noumea thanks to the extensive network of partner airlines.

I had the pleasure of flying Business Class from Brisbane to Noumea which was great from the lounge visit ahead of the flight to the beautiful food and incredibly attentive service during the flight and landing at La Tontouta International Airport after a very short two hour flight.

Noumea's airport La Tontouta is roughly 50 km from the city and takes 30-40 minutes in an airport shuttle.

Note that Noumea also has another airport called Magenta Airport, which is about 38 km of the city of Noumea and serves domestic flights only.

Business Class Aircalin

Hiring A Car To Get Around

The best way to get around New Caledonia is hiring a car. It definitely makes sense if you're wanting to explore the main island of New Caledonia, Grande Terre.

If you didn't know it yet, but New Caledonia actually has five main islands: Ouvea, Lifou, Mare, Isle of Pines and Grande Terre, the biggest island where the capital Noumea is located as well many of New Caledonia's activities and things to see.

It's easy to hire a car right in Noumea or at the airport, a 2WD might be sufficient but if you head into the southern parts, many roads are narrow and winding, some are dirt roads and I think a 4WD would be a smart choice. Also know that it is right hand drive over here. It's recommended to book ahead of time rather than on the ground as vehicles are often booked out fast, especially during peak periods.

Best Things To Do In Noumea

The capital of New Caledonia, Noumea is the largest city in the country boasting beautiful picturesque bays framed by sandy beaches, French restaurants and world class snorkelling in a living aquarium right at its shores.

It's classy, it's casual, its facades looking a bit grungy. The city comes to life through its contrasts and is worth exploring for a whole day.

Noumea Ouen Toro Hill

  • Port Moselle Market Noumea's biggest market is open Tuesday to Sunday from 5 am to 11.30 am and has been selling fresh produce to the population since 1991 under five odd-looking hexagonal pavilions. It today is a main tourist attraction and great to browse around for some souvenirs and stock up on fresh fruit.
  • Coconut Tree Square The square can be found in the heart of the city and is a green oasis and a meeting place for locals. During the year, you can find small markets, concerts and other events on the square. Since I visited so close to Christmas, I also got to see the massive Christmas tree that is put up on the tree annually.
  • Morand Chocolate Factory You are definitely spoilt for choice when visiting this shop. Chocolat Morand is an institution in Noumea and has been making chocolate and fine pastries since 2000. I had the privilege of meeting the husband and wife team for a tasting of their unique creations. The best spot to visit in Noumea for chocolate lovers!
  • Anse Vata Beach & Lemon Bay Anse Vata is the city's largest beach and great to relax, have a picnic or stroll along the promenade which houses many bars, restaurants and shops. Lemon Bay, called Baie des Citrons in French, is the smaller sister to Anse Vata and typically a bit more sheltered from the wind.
  • Tijbaou Cultural Center The structure of Tijbaou Cultural Center left me in awe. The eye-catching structures designed by world-renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano, who also designed the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the cultural center is a great introduction to the local Kanak culture. It features an art centre, museum, performance center, library and a beautifully landscaped park.
  • Ouen Toro Hill One of my favourite spots in Noumea was Ouen Toro, the hill towering over Noumea's southern end. You can walk or drive up and then enjoy the 360 views across the city and surrounding ocean. Plan your visit around the cruise ships coming in as many groups get wheeled up there in mini buses which makes the spot busy and less tranquil than it truly is.

New CaledoniaMarkets

  • Le Meridien Noumea Resort & Spa I loved my stay at the Le Meridien right on the shores of Anse Vata Bay. The air-conditioned room was big and had a great little balcony with ocean views, bathtub and free wifi. There is also a big outdoor pool with plenty of sun chairs, a bar serving drinks and snacks right at what feels like a private beach. The breakfast buffet is a huge plus as it has something for everyone, including all the delicious French pastries, baguette and a station for freshly cooked eggs.

Le Meridien Noumea New Caledonia

Eat & Drink

  • Néa Bowls If you're on the hunt for healthy and fresh meals in downtown Noumea (next to Coconut Square), Néa Bowls is your pick! This little cafe has delightful decor and serves up some of the best vegetarian dishes in town. Also vegan-friendly! Green detox juice, tasty carrot cake and delicious Buddha bowls perfect for lunch.
  • MV Lounge A fabulous spot for a drink as the bar sits right on the beach at the far end of Lemon Bay. Opt for the deck or get a spot right on the beach and drink your cocktail with feet in sand. Beautiful ambiance with music and little lantern lights, loved it!
  • Au Ptit Café This open cafe/restaurant set under large trees on a rather busy street is often hard to get a reservation at. Rightly so, as the food is changing frequently according to the seasonal ingredients available at the local market combined with French flavours. I came here for dinner as it was recommended by locals and definitely wasn't disappointed. Make sure to try the cheesecake, if you can still fit that in after your meal.
  • Le Roof Set along the promenade of Anse Vata Bay, Le Roof is hard to miss as it sits on stilts out at the end of a pier and offers fine dining along with amazing sunsets. Come here for seafood and be prepared to pay for the price and atmosphere. In the middle of the restaurant there is a spot where you can watch sealife. It's said that a local dolphin often comes for a visit at sunset, but I spotted a small reef shark, pretty cool.
  • Marmite et Tire Bouchon My favourite in all of Noumea. The extensive wine list (visible in the adjacent wine cellar!) compliments the innovative meals on the French-inspired menu. The food is very tasty and great value. Beautiful desserts too!

Best Noumea Vegetarian Cafe

Three More Amazing Things You Need To Do In New Caledonia

Island hopping.

Of course, I didn't come to New Caledonia to just explore Noumea, there is actually so much more to this country than I ever thought.

You definitely have to take a few days to go island hopping. It's fairly easy to base yourself in Noumea and explore a new island every day. Here some of the islands that are close-by and can easily be visited in a day:

  • Duck Island:  This island can easily be reached by taxi boat as it actually sits in Anse Vata Bay and offers incredible marine life. Duck Island (Ile aux Canards) is perfect for snorkelling and relaxing and sunbathing.
  • Amedee Island: Another great day trip a little further out in the bay lies Amedee Island (roughly 40 minutes by boat), where you find white powder sand against the turquoise ocean and the famous Amedee lighthouse, one of the tallest lighthouses in the world, overlooking it all. It's frequented by glass bottom boat tour companies and great for underwater experiences like snorkelling and diving and it's not uncommon to find yourself swimming next to turtles.
  • Maitre Island: Said to be the closest overwater bungalows to Australia, L’Escapade Island Resort on Ilot Maître is easily reached in 20 minutes by boat from Noumea and offers an amazingly private place to stay, one of the best places to stay for couples in New Caledonia. You can also come here on a day trip to swim alongside the abundance of marine animals.
  • Other islands worth visiting close to Noumea include: Sainte-Marie Island, Signal Island, Laregnere Island, Goeland Island.

There are plenty of stunning islands all around New Caledonia, many of them uninhabited and boasting paradise beaches with picturesque scenery.

On my last day in New Caledonia I had the chance to go on a catamaran to visit a very special island called Ilot M'Bo which I have found no information about online but only seen with my own eyes. When we arrived, we had the island all to ourselves, no boats around but crystal clear water against snow-white sand. Walking around the island only took 10 minutes before we threw ourselves into the turquoise ocean. Paradise on earth.

New Caledonia activities

Isle Of Pines

Unfortunately, I didn't have time to visit the Isle of Pines but I know I will have to when I return to New Caledonia. Known as ‘the jewel of the pacific' the island is best known for its white sandy beaches, turquoise lagoons and soaring pine trees.

To get to the Isle of Pines, you will either have to take a 2.5 hour ferry ride from Noumea or you can also fly in 20 minutes to the island. I heard that this place is so beautiful, it's out of this world. And when you're sick of bathing in the natural pools (how could you ever get sick of that!), you can go explore caves or hike to the islands peak.

I already moved a stay at the Le Méridien Ile des Pins on the shores of Oro Bay towards the top of my bucket list!

noumea travel guide

The Great South

Did you know New Caledonia also has a wild side? Yes, it does. Drive a few hours south from Noumea and you will suddenly hit deep red sand, a rugged landscape and historic sites like Prony village. This deserted village used to serve as a penal colony in its early days and later became home for families of miners but was left abandoned in the late 1960s and is today only visited by tourists.

The south of New Caledonia also houses many waterfalls such as the La Madeleine and Goro Falls. I didn't get to visit Yate Dam but it sounds like another impressive experience.

My highlight of visiting the Great South of New Caledonia was definitely Cap N'Dua Lighthouse at the most southern tip of New Caledonia's main island. From the car park it's an easy 10-minute hike up to get to the lonely lighthouse with the most stunning views over the natural reserve, the open ocean and nearby islands.

That night, we stayed in a remotely beautiful place at the Kanua Tera Ecolodge. The cute and rustic bungalows are set right at the shores of Port Boise Bay, perfect for snorkelling, swimming and jumping off the on-site floating jetty. It's quite a journey from Noumea to get here, but for true tranquility and seclusion, this is your spot! Surrounded by tropical forest, there is also a restaurant and bar and surely, you'll have the beach almost for yourself as there are only 18 huts.

Prony Village New Caledonia

New Caledonia has taken my heart by storm and I cannot wait to go back to explore more of the other islands. With only two hours flight time from Brisbane it almost seems ridiculous that I haven't thought about visiting earlier!

To me, this country has a lot to offer, especially for ocean and nature enthusiasts but also gets to satisfy foodies and culture geeks.

When will you visit New Caledonia? Make sure you don't wait too long!

New Caledonia

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Aircalin, the international airline of New Caledonia.

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Noumea Travel Guide: Things to Do, See and Eat traveling in Noumea, New Caledonia

Welcome to Noumea, the vibrant capital city of New Caledonia. Situated on the main island of Grande Terre, Noumea is a destination that blends French sophistication with Pacific Island charm. With its stunning turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and rich cultural heritage , Noumea offers a unique and unforgettable experience for travelers.

As you explore Noumea, you’ll be captivated by its beautiful landscapes, from the pristine beaches of Anse Vata and Baie des Citrons to the lush greenery of the Ouen Toro Hill lookout. The city’s unique blend of French and Melanesian cultures is evident in its architecture, cuisine, and way of life. Stroll through the charming city center with its colonial-era buildings, visit local markets to sample fresh produce and local delicacies, and immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of the local people.

Noumea is also a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. Dive into the crystal-clear lagoons to discover vibrant coral reefs and a myriad of marine life, or enjoy a range of water activities such as snorkeling, sailing, and windsurfing. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the surrounding islands, where you’ll find even more pristine beaches , untouched nature, and traditional Kanak villages.

The city also boasts a vibrant culinary scene , with a fusion of French, Melanesian, and international flavors. Indulge in delicious seafood dishes, savor mouthwatering pastries and cheeses, and sip on fine French wines.

Noumea’s cultural richness is evident in its museums, art galleries, and cultural festivals. Learn about the Kanak culture at the Tjibaou Cultural Centre, admire contemporary Pacific art at the Museum of New Caledonia, or immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and rhythms of the local festivals.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation on the beach, cultural immersion, or thrilling outdoor adventures , Noumea has something for every traveler. With its natural beauty , cultural diversity, and warm tropical climate, Noumea invites you to embark on an unforgettable journey and create lifelong memories.

Noumea Travel Guide: Things to do in Noumea, New Caledonia

Noumea City Guide: A Brief History Of Noumea, New Caledonia

Noumea, the capital city of New Caledonia, is steeped in a rich history that reflects the diverse influences that have shaped the city. Here is a brief history of Noumea for travelers:

The indigenous people of New Caledonia are the Kanak, who have inhabited the region for thousands of years. Their traditional way of life was disrupted with the arrival of European explorers in the late 18th century. In 1853, the French took formal possession of New Caledonia, and it became a penal colony.

Noumea, founded in 1854, was initially established as a small settlement to house convicts. However, the city gradually developed into a colonial outpost as French settlers arrived, bringing their culture and institutions. Noumea served as an administrative and economic center for the French presence in the Pacific region.

During World War II, Noumea played a strategic role as a military base for the United States and Allied forces in the Pacific. The city served as a crucial supply and logistics center during the Pacific Campaign.

In the post-war period, Noumea experienced significant development and modernization. The French government invested in infrastructure, education, and healthcare, leading to an increase in the city’s population and economic growth.

In more recent history, New Caledonia has undergone a process of political evolution. The Noumea Accord, signed in 1998, established a framework for greater autonomy and the preservation of Kanak identity within the French Republic. This agreement has paved the way for a gradual transfer of powers from France to New Caledonia.

Today, Noumea is a vibrant and multicultural city that reflects its French heritage and the unique blend of cultures found in New Caledonia. It continues to evolve as a modern city while preserving its natural beauty and rich cultural traditions.

As you explore Noumea, you’ll have the opportunity to delve into its fascinating history, visit museums that showcase the Kanak culture and colonial heritage, and witness the harmony between tradition and modernity that defines this captivating city .

Noumea Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in New Caledonia

Noumea has a vibe distinctly different from other major centres in the South Pacific. Thanks to its favoured status as an expat hangout and retirement destination, this place has a very westernized feel.

Yet, Noumea (along with much of New Caledonia) remains off-the-radar of most tourists. If you are losing to lose the crowd while keeping many of the modern conveniences which make a holiday great, Noumea is an excellent destination to visit while in Oceania.

Shortly after arriving in Noumea, make a trip out to the Tjibaou Cultural Centre . Situated eight kilometres outside of town, this art and cultural centre pays tribute to the indigenous Kanak culture which existed on the islands of New Caledonia before Europeans arrived on the scene.

Mixing modernist styles with traditional Kanak forms, the buildings which comprise this centre are an attraction in and of themselves. Within, you’ll find works made by local artisans, sculptures, a performance space where song and dance are performed on a regular basis. In the open-air courtyard, there are reproductions of traditional Kanak houses, which are composed of a conical thatch roof and a stone base.

Next, learn about the seafaring history of New Caledonia by strolling through the halls of Le Musee Maritime de Nouvelle-Caledonie . From the first contact made by explorers such as James Cook to artifacts recovered from the numerous shipwrecks off its shores, this small space is a treasure trove of history in the middle of Noumea. Even if this sort of place is not usually your thing, this air-conditioned space is a great place to cool off for an hour while you learn something new.

New Caledonia had a central role in the War of the Pacific during the Second World War. If you want to find out what Noumea was like during this period of history, take a tour of the Musée de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale .

Guests are given an audio guide on entry, giving those who speak languages other than French a way to interact with the museum while providing context to the exhibits and artifacts you will see during your time here. Admission is free, so be sure to make time for this attraction.

Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Noumea, New Caledonia

During your visit to Noumea, you’ll want to take a day trip or two. Make a voyage to Amedee Lighthouse one of them. While it will take up a full day, it will be worth it, as the glass-bottomed boat you will travel in will allow you see the beauty of New Caledonia’s tropical waters as you make your way to your destination.

Upon arrival, you’ll lay eyes on one of the tallest lighthouses in the world at over 180 feet high. Colonial authorities overcame the challenges of building such an ambitious structure by having it constructed back in France.

When it was completed in 1862, it was disassembled piece by piece, and loaded onto an oceangoing ship. Months later, it arrived at Amedee Island, where work crews took almost a year to put it back together.

Operational since 1865, it is still possible to climb, so take the opportunity to do so if you have the chance. Otherwise, you’ll have a great photo op here , and excellent snorkelling grounds in the coral reefs surrounding the island to enjoy.

Ile aux Canards is another great place to go for the day, as it sits atop another reef populated by colourful corals and sea life. Situated five minutes from the mainland, there are sun loungers for rent for when you don’t feel like getting in the water, as well as a restaurant which provides food and drinks. When you do decide to go in the ocean, we recommend reef shoes, as reef rocks sit close to shore, and they can be hard on the feet when stepped upon.

Don’t want to leave Noumea in search of sand and surf? Roll out your towel on Anse Vata Beach . This place is excellent for families, as it is a protected bay. Further out, the winds get high enough on a regular basis that this place has become a hotspot for kite surfers, so if you are looking to link up with local practitioners of the sport, this is the place to go.

Top 22 Things To Do in Noumea, New Caledonia For Visitors

Here are the top 22 things to do in Noumea:

  • Relax on Anse Vata Beach: Sink your toes into the soft white sand and soak up the sun on this idyllic beach. Take a dip in the clear turquoise waters or engage in water sports like paddleboarding and kayaking.
  • Visit the Tjibaou Cultural Centre: Immerse yourself in the rich Kanak culture at this architectural masterpiece. Explore the exhibitions showcasing traditional artifacts, artworks, and performances that celebrate the indigenous heritage of New Caledonia.
  • Take a day trip to Amedee Island: Embark on a boat excursion to Amedee Island, known for its stunning coral reef. Climb the lighthouse for panoramic views, swim in the lagoon, and indulge in a delectable buffet lunch featuring local specialties.
  • Explore the Aquarium of Noumea: Dive into the underwater world of New Caledonia at this impressive aquarium. Marvel at the vibrant marine life, including colorful coral reefs, tropical fish, and even sharks, through the large glass viewing panels.
  • Stroll along the Promenade Pierre Vernier: Enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride along this scenic waterfront promenade. Admire the yachts in the marina, breathe in the fresh sea breeze, and take in the panoramic views of the bay and skyline.
  • Visit the Noumea Cathedral: Step inside this beautiful cathedral, also known as St. Joseph’s Cathedral, with its striking blue roof and stunning stained glass windows. Marvel at the religious artwork and soak in the peaceful ambiance.
  • Explore the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Garden: Wander through the lush botanical gardens named after the Kanak leader. Discover the diversity of New Caledonia’s flora and learn about the cultural significance of native plants through informative displays.
  • Take a cruise around the lagoon: Set sail on a leisurely cruise to explore the vast lagoon surrounding Noumea. Admire the breathtaking turquoise waters, snorkel among the colorful coral reefs, and enjoy a relaxing day on the water.
  • Go hiking in the Mont-Dore Forest: Lace up your hiking boots and venture into the Mont-Dore Forest. Choose from various trails that wind through the lush greenery, offering opportunities to spot native bird species and enjoy panoramic vistas.
  • Visit the New Caledonia Museum: Delve into the history, culture, and natural wonders of New Caledonia at this comprehensive museum. Discover ancient artifacts, learn about the French colonization, and gain insights into the biodiversity of the region.
  • Discover the Ouen Toro Hill Lookout: Hike up to the top of Ouen Toro Hill for breathtaking panoramic views of Noumea and its surroundings. Capture stunning photographs of the city, the lagoon, and the nearby islands.
  • Indulge in French cuisine: Noumea’s culinary scene is a delightful blend of French and Pacific influences. Sample mouthwatering French pastries, savor exquisite seafood dishes, and enjoy a glass of wine at one of the city’s charming restaurants or waterfront cafes.
  • Shop at the Port Moselle Market: Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this bustling market. Browse the stalls brimming with fresh produce, local crafts, and souvenirs. Try exotic fruits, purchase unique spices, and interact with friendly vendors.
  • Dive or snorkel at the Amadee Lighthouse Reef: Explore the mesmerizing underwater world surrounding the iconic Amadee Lighthouse. Dive or snorkel amidst colorful coral gardens, encounter tropical fish, and marvel at the incredible biodiversity of the reef.
  • Learn to kiteboard or windsurf: Take advantage of the favorable winds and pristine waters of Noumea’s beaches. Learn the thrilling sports of kiteboarding or windsurfing.
  • Explore the Historic Quarter: Wander through the charming streets of Noumea’s historic quarter, known as Le Quartier Latin. Admire the well-preserved colonial architecture, including colorful wooden houses and quaint buildings. Discover hidden cafes, boutique shops, and art galleries that showcase local artists’ works.
  • Enjoy a sunset cruise: Embark on a romantic sunset cruise along the New Caledonian coastline. Sip on a glass of champagne as the golden sun dips below the horizon, casting a magical glow over the tranquil waters.
  • Visit the Noumea City Museum: Step back in time at the Noumea City Museum, housed in a former military building. Explore the exhibits that tell the story of Noumea’s history, from its early settlement to the present day. Learn about the city’s role during World War II and the cultural diversity that defines Noumea.
  • Take a day trip to Signal Island: Escape the bustling city and venture to Signal Island, a small island paradise off the coast of Noumea. Relax on pristine beaches, snorkel in crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life, and savor a picnic lunch surrounded by nature’s beauty .
  • Play golf at Tina Golf Course: Golf enthusiasts can tee off at the picturesque Tina Golf Course. Enjoy a challenging round of golf amidst lush green fairways, with stunning ocean views as a backdrop.
  • Explore the Bay of Sainte Marie: Take a boat excursion to the stunning Bay of Sainte Marie, where turquoise waters meet dramatic cliffs. Swim, snorkel, or simply relax on the sandy beaches, enjoying the tranquil ambiance of this secluded paradise.
  • Relax at the Nouville Peninsula: Unwind at the Nouville Peninsula, a peaceful haven away from the city’s hustle and bustle. Enjoy a leisurely picnic, take a peaceful stroll along the coastline, or simply bask in the sun on the secluded beaches.

These are just a few of the many incredible experiences Noumea has to offer. Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion, this vibrant city in the heart of the Pacific is sure to captivate your senses and create lasting memories.

What To Eat and Drink in Noumea, New Caledonia

When it comes to culinary delights, Noumea offers a fusion of French and Pacific Island flavors that will tantalize your taste buds. Here are some must-try dishes and drinks in Noumea:

  • Bougna: This traditional Kanak dish is a must-try. It consists of meat, usually chicken or fish, mixed with yam, sweet potato, and coconut milk, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in an earth oven. It’s a flavorful and hearty dish that showcases the indigenous flavors of New Caledonia.
  • Baguette Sandwiches: Noumea’s French influence is evident in its delicious baguette sandwiches. Fillings range from classic ham and cheese to local favorites like grilled fish or chicken with fresh vegetables and flavorful sauces.
  • Fresh Seafood: Noumea is a paradise for seafood lovers. Indulge in succulent grilled prawns, marinated fish, or the popular “bouchee a la reine” which is a local seafood specialty. Be sure to visit the bustling fish markets to experience the vibrant atmosphere and pick up the freshest catch of the day.
  • Coconut Crab: This regional delicacy is a true treat for the senses. Known locally as “katau,” coconut crab is a large land crab with sweet and tender meat. It’s often served grilled or in a creamy coconut-based sauce.
  • Tarte Tropézienne: Indulge your sweet tooth with a slice of Tarte Tropézienne. This delicious pastry consists of a soft brioche filled with a luscious combination of cream and vanilla. It’s the perfect dessert to satisfy your cravings.
  • Kanak Cuisine: Explore the flavors of Kanak cuisine by trying dishes like bougna, banana-leaf wrapped fish, or taro root-based dishes. These dishes are rich in traditional flavors and offer a glimpse into the indigenous culinary heritage of New Caledonia.
  • French Pastries: Noumea’s French influence is evident in its array of mouthwatering pastries. Treat yourself to flaky croissants, buttery pain au chocolat, or delicate fruit tarts from the local patisseries.
  • Local Fruit Juices: Quench your thirst with refreshing tropical fruit juices, such as passionfruit, pineapple, and coconut. These delicious beverages are widely available and offer a taste of the exotic fruits found in the region.
  • French Wines: Noumea boasts a wide selection of French wines, thanks to its French heritage. Pair your meals with a glass of Bordeaux, Burgundy, or Champagne to enhance your dining experience.
  • Kava: For a unique cultural experience , try kava, a traditional Pacific Island drink made from the roots of the kava plant. It has a slightly bitter taste and is often enjoyed during social gatherings and traditional ceremonies.
  • New Caledonian Prawns: Known for their exceptional flavor and size, New Caledonian prawns are a true delight. Savor them grilled, sautéed, or incorporated into flavorful stir-fries or seafood platters.
  • Coconut-based Desserts: Explore the diverse range of desserts featuring coconut as a star ingredient. From coconut flan to coconut milk rice pudding, these creamy and tropical treats are the perfect way to end a meal.
  • French Crepes: Indulge in the classic French dessert of crepes, filled with an array of sweet or savory fillings. From Nutella and banana to ham and cheese, the options are endless.
  • Local Fruit: Sample the exotic fruits of New Caledonia, such as the fragrant mangoes, juicy papayas, and tangy passion fruit. Enjoy them as a refreshing snack or in fruit salads for a burst of tropical flavor.
  • Nougat Calédonien: Treat yourself to nougat made with local ingredients, such as nuts, honey, and dried fruits. This sweet and chewy confectionery is a popular local delicacy and makes for a delightful souvenir.
  • French Cheese and Baguettes: Pair the exquisite French cheeses, like Camembert or Roquefort, with freshly baked baguettes for a simple yet satisfying meal. You can find a wide selection of artisanal cheeses at local delis and markets.
  • Crevettes à la Plancha: Enjoy plump and succulent shrimp grilled to perfection, enhanced with aromatic herbs and spices. This simple yet flavorful dish showcases the freshness of the local seafood.
  • Craft Beer: Noumea has a growing craft beer scene, with local breweries producing a variety of artisanal beers. Sample different styles, from refreshing lagers to hoppy IPAs, and support the burgeoning craft beer movement.
  • Tropical Cocktails: Quench your thirst with a refreshing tropical cocktail made with local rum and an assortment of fresh fruits. Favorites include the Mai Tai, Piña Colada, and Mojito, infused with a tropical twist.
  • Traditional Kanak Drinks: Experience the authentic flavors of Kanak culture by trying traditional beverages like niaouli tea or hibiscus-infused drinks. These unique concoctions are known for their medicinal properties and soothing flavors.

Noumea offers a culinary adventure that blends French sophistication with Pacific Island flavors. Whether you’re savoring seafood delicacies, indulging in French pastries, or experiencing the traditional flavors of Kanak cuisine, Noumea promises a gastronomic journey that will leave you craving more.

Top Restaurants In Noumea, New Caledonia

Here are the top restaurants in Noumea:

  • La Pirogue: This waterfront restaurant is renowned for its fresh seafood and stunning views of Anse Vata Bay. Enjoy dishes like grilled lobster, tuna tartare, and succulent prawns while savoring the gentle sea breeze.
  • Le Roof: Perched atop a hill overlooking Noumea, Le Roof offers panoramic views of the city and lagoon. Indulge in French cuisine with a Pacific twist, featuring dishes like seared foie gras, grilled beef tenderloin, and exquisite desserts.
  • Le Faré du Palm Beach: Situated on the famous Palm Beach, this restaurant offers a relaxed beachside dining experience. Feast on delicious seafood platters, coconut curry dishes, and refreshing tropical cocktails while enjoying the serene beach atmosphere.
  • Le Bintang: Experience the flavors of Indonesia and Southeast Asia at Le Bintang. This cozy restaurant serves up authentic dishes like nasi goreng, satay skewers, and spicy curries, transporting you to the vibrant streets of Asia.
  • Le Gaïac: Located within the luxurious Le Meridien hotel, Le Gaïac boasts elegant dining with a focus on fresh, local ingredients. The menu features innovative dishes inspired by traditional New Caledonian flavors, paired with an extensive wine selection.
  • La Table des Gourmets: For a refined dining experience, head to La Table des Gourmets. This gourmet restaurant offers a sophisticated menu of French cuisine, showcasing the finest seasonal ingredients and exquisite culinary techniques.
  • L’Hippocampe: Tucked away in a charming garden setting, L’Hippocampe is a hidden gem. Enjoy a fusion of French and Pacific flavors, with dishes like vanilla-infused fish, coconut curry, and decadent desserts.
  • Le Rendez-vous des Pêcheurs: Situated in the heart of the bustling Port Moselle, this seafood restaurant specializes in fresh catches of the day. Feast on seafood platters, bouillabaisse, and grilled fish while watching the fishing boats come and go.
  • Le 1881: Located in a beautifully restored colonial house, Le 1881 offers a blend of French and New Caledonian cuisine. Savor dishes like grilled beef fillet, duck confit, and delectable desserts while enjoying the elegant ambiance.
  • Chez Toto: This local favorite is known for its friendly atmosphere and hearty meals. Enjoy traditional Creole cuisine, such as chicken curry, coconut crab, and banana fritters, in a laid-back setting.
  • Le Roof Garden: Discover a rooftop oasis at Le Roof Garden, where you can enjoy a mix of Mediterranean and Pacific flavors. Sip on handcrafted cocktails while sampling dishes like grilled octopus, fresh salads, and homemade pastas.
  • Le Saint Hubert: Indulge in French classics at Le Saint Hubert, known for its elegant setting and impeccable service. Delight in dishes like escargots, beef bourguignon, and crème brûlée, accompanied by a fine selection of wines.
  • L’Atelier Gourmand: This charming bistro offers a cozy atmosphere and a menu filled with French-inspired dishes. From savory crepes and quiches to delectable desserts, L’Atelier Gourmand delights both locals and visitors alike.
  • Le Carré: Located in the heart of the Latin Quarter, Le Carré is a trendy restaurant serving up innovative dishes with a focus on local ingredients. Try their signature tasting menu or opt for à la carte options featuring a fusion of flavors.

Noumea sunset views in New Caledonia

Tours For Visitors To Noumea, New Caledonia

Here are some of the top tours for visitors to Noumea:

  • Amedee Island Day Tour: Embark on a full-day excursion to Amedee Island, located just off the coast of Noumea. Explore the pristine white sand beaches, snorkel in crystal-clear waters, and visit the famous Amedee Lighthouse. Enjoy a traditional Kanak buffet lunch and be entertained by cultural performances.
  • Cultural Discovery Tour: Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of New Caledonia with a guided cultural discovery tour. Visit the Tjibaou Cultural Centre, a stunning architectural masterpiece that showcases Kanak culture. Learn about traditional customs, art, and music through interactive exhibits and guided tours.
  • Lagoon Cruise: Experience the beauty of Noumea’s lagoon on a relaxing boat cruise. Sail along the turquoise waters, snorkel among vibrant coral reefs, and discover secluded islands. Enjoy a delicious onboard lunch and soak up the sun while taking in the breathtaking scenery.
  • City Sightseeing Tour: Take a guided city sightseeing tour to explore the highlights of Noumea. Visit iconic landmarks such as Coconut Square, the Cathedral of St. Joseph, and the bustling Port Moselle. Learn about the city’s history and culture as you stroll through the vibrant neighborhoods.
  • Blue River Provincial Park Tour: Venture inland on a guided tour to Blue River Provincial Park, located in the southern part of New Caledonia. Explore the lush rainforest, discover natural hot springs , and hike to beautiful waterfalls. Learn about the region’s flora and fauna from knowledgeable guides.
  • Canoe Adventure on Dumbea River: Embark on a canoe adventure along the Dumbea River, surrounded by lush vegetation and stunning landscapes. Paddle through calm waters, admire the scenic views, and spot native bird species along the way. Enjoy a picnic lunch in a picturesque setting .
  • Tchou Tchou Train Tour: Hop aboard the Tchou Tchou Train for a fun and informative tour of Noumea. Sit back and relax as the train takes you around the city’s main attractions, providing commentary on the history and culture of each stop. It’s a great way to get an overview of Noumea’s highlights.
  • Marine Turtle Encounter: Join a marine turtle encounter tour and have the opportunity to swim alongside these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Learn about conservation efforts and the importance of protecting these endangered species. Snorkel in the turquoise waters and witness the turtles up close.
  • Quad Bike Adventure: Embark on an adrenaline-filled quad bike adventure through Noumea’s rugged landscapes. Explore off-road trails, ride through forests, and enjoy panoramic views of the coastline. Suitable for all skill levels, this tour offers an exciting way to discover the natural beauty of the region.
  • Noumea Food Tour: Embark on a culinary journey through Noumea’s vibrant food scene with a guided food tour. Sample local delicacies, visit markets, and learn about the fusion of French and Pacific Island flavors that define New Caledonian cuisine. This tour is a treat for food lovers .

These tours offer unique experiences to explore the natural beauty, culture, and cuisine of Noumea and its surrounding areas. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures , cultural immersion, or culinary delights, there’s a tour to suit every traveler’s preferences.

Noumea Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels

Noumea, the vibrant capital city of New Caledonia, offers a wide range of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences. Whether you’re seeking luxury resorts, mid-range hotels, or budget-friendly options, there’s something for everyone in this tropical paradise .

Luxury Hotels and Resorts: Noumea boasts several upscale hotels and resorts that provide luxurious amenities and breathtaking views of the turquoise waters. Le Méridien Noumea Resort & Spa is a popular choice, offering spacious rooms, a stunning lagoon pool, and multiple dining options. Another option is the Château Royal Beach Resort & Spa, located on Anse Vata Beach, with stylish rooms, an infinity pool, and direct beach access. Hilton Noumea La Promenade Residences, situated in the heart of the city, offers modern rooms, a fitness center, and easy access to nearby attractions.

Mid-Range Hotels and Apartments: If you’re looking for comfortable accommodations at a more affordable price, Noumea has several mid-range hotels and apartments to choose from. Hotel Le Lagon, a boutique hotel near Anse Vata Beach, provides comfortable rooms and a swimming pool. Casa del Sole Apartments offer self-contained apartments with fully equipped kitchens and a communal pool, perfect for families or those who prefer a more independent stay. Ramada Hotel & Suites Noumea is another option, offering well-appointed rooms, a rooftop pool, and a fitness center.

Budget Accommodations: Travelers on a budget will find several options for affordable accommodations in Noumea. Nouvata, a budget-friendly hotel, offers affordable rooms and easy access to Anse Vata Beach. Hotel Beaurivage, located near the marina, provides basic yet comfortable rooms and is within walking distance of local markets and restaurants. Auberge du Mont Coffyn, situated in a peaceful mountain setting, offers affordable rooms and a tranquil atmosphere, perfect for those seeking a quiet retreat. Additionally, Noumea has backpacker hostels that provide affordable dormitory-style accommodations and a lively atmosphere for budget-conscious travelers .

When choosing your accommodations in Noumea, consider factors such as location, amenities, and budget. Whether you prefer luxury, convenience, or affordability, Noumea has a variety of options to suit your needs.

Day Trips From Noumea, New Caledonia

Noumea, located in New Caledonia, offers a variety of day trip options for visitors to explore the surrounding areas and immerse themselves in the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the region. Here are some popular day trips from Noumea:

  • Amedee Island: Take a boat trip to Amedee Island, located just off the coast of Noumea. Explore the white sand beaches, snorkel in the crystal-clear waters, and visit the iconic Amedee Lighthouse. Enjoy a traditional Kanak buffet lunch and be entertained by cultural performances.
  • Ouen Toro: Head to Ouen Toro, a scenic lookout point with panoramic views of Noumea and the surrounding lagoon. It’s a great spot for hiking, picnicking, and capturing stunning photographs of the cityscape and turquoise waters.
  • Ilot Maitre: Visit Ilot Maitre, a small island known for its beautiful coral reef and pristine beaches. Enjoy snorkeling, swimming, and sunbathing, or take a guided underwater walking tour to discover the vibrant marine life.
  • Prony Bay: Explore the natural wonders of Prony Bay, located on the southern part of Grand Terre. Take a boat tour to admire the stunning landscapes, visit the picturesque Isle of Pines, and explore the scenic beauty of the region.
  • Blue River Provincial Park: Embark on a day trip to Blue River Provincial Park, a nature reserve known for its diverse flora and fauna. Hike through lush rainforests, discover natural hot springs, and marvel at magnificent waterfalls. Don’t miss the opportunity to spot the endemic Cagou bird.
  • Nokanhui Atoll: Take a boat excursion to Nokanhui Atoll, a pristine coral atoll located off the coast of Noumea. Snorkel or dive in the crystal-clear waters to explore the vibrant coral reefs and encounter a variety of marine life, including colorful fish and sea turtles.
  • Parc Provincial de la Riviere Bleue: Discover Parc Provincial de la Riviere Bleue, a protected park that boasts stunning landscapes and unique wildlife. Enjoy hiking trails through lush forests, spot the famous New Caledonian Cagou bird, and visit the stunning Yaté Dam.
  • Phare Amédée: Visit Phare Amédée, a lighthouse located on Amédée Island. Climb to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the surrounding islands and lagoon. Enjoy a delicious lunch and take part in water activities like snorkeling and kayaking.
  • Dumbea River: Experience the natural beauty of Dumbea River on a canoe or kayak trip. Paddle through calm waters, enjoy the tranquility of the river, and immerse yourself in the lush green surroundings.
  • Bourail: Journey to Bourail, a picturesque town on the west coast of Grand Terre. Explore the stunning beaches of Poé and Roche Percée, visit the Gouaro Deva Domain with its diverse flora and fauna, and learn about the local Kanak culture and traditions.

These day trips offer a chance to explore the diverse landscapes, marine ecosystems, and cultural heritage of New Caledonia beyond Noumea. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural experiences, there’s a day trip option to suit every interest.

Noumea Transportation Guide

Nouméa offers various transportation options for getting around the city and exploring the surrounding areas. Here’s a transportation guide to help you navigate Nouméa:

  • Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Nouméa and are a convenient way to get around the city. You can find taxi stands at major hotels, tourist attractions, and transportation hubs. Taxis in Nouméa are generally metered, but it’s always a good idea to confirm the fare with the driver before starting your journey.
  • Bus: The public bus system in Nouméa is called “Karuiasu”. Buses are a budget-friendly option for getting around the city. The bus network covers most areas of Nouméa, including popular tourist destinations. Bus schedules and routes are available on the Karuiasu website and at bus stops. Remember to have the exact change for your fare as drivers don’t provide change.
  • Rental Cars: Renting a car is a popular choice for exploring Nouméa and its surroundings. Several car rental agencies operate in the city and at the La Tontouta International Airport. It’s advisable to book your rental car in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. Remember that in New Caledonia, you drive on the right-hand side of the road.
  • Bicycles: Nouméa is a bike-friendly city with dedicated bicycle lanes and paths. You can rent bicycles from various rental shops in the city, especially along the waterfront areas. Cycling is a great way to explore Nouméa’s scenic coastal areas and enjoy the pleasant weather. Remember to follow the traffic rules and wear a helmet for safety.
  • Walking: Nouméa’s city center is relatively compact and easily walkable. Exploring on foot allows you to immerse yourself in the local atmosphere and discover hidden gems. Many of the city’s attractions , shopping areas, and restaurants are within walking distance of each other.
  • Ferries: If you want to visit the nearby islands or explore the beautiful lagoons around Nouméa, ferries are available. You can catch a ferry from the city’s main port, Port Moselle, to reach popular destinations like Îlot Maître, Île des Pins (Isle of Pines), and Loyalty Islands. Ferry schedules and ticket information can be obtained from the port authorities or through travel agencies.

It’s worth noting that Nouméa experiences traffic congestion during peak hours, so plan your travels accordingly. Additionally, keep in mind that English may not be widely spoken, and it can be helpful to have a basic understanding of French or use translation apps for communication.

Remember to check for any updates or changes in transportation services before your trip, as information may vary.

Noumea 1 Day Travel Itinerary

If you have just one day to explore Nouméa, here’s a suggested itinerary that covers some of the city’s highlights:

Morning: Start your day by immersing yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Place des Cocotiers, the city’s main square. Take a leisurely stroll through the bustling market, where you’ll find a variety of local produce, handicrafts, and souvenirs.

From there, make your way to the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre, an architectural marvel that showcases the indigenous Kanak culture and art. Explore the exhibitions, join a guided tour, and delve into the rich cultural heritage of New Caledonia.

Afterward, head towards the picturesque waterfront and enjoy the stunning views of Anse Vata Beach. Sink your toes into the soft white sand, take a dip in the turquoise waters, or rent water sports equipment like kayaks or paddleboards for some adventurous fun.

Lunch: For a delightful lunch, head to Baie des Citrons (Lemon Bay), a vibrant area with a wide range of restaurants and cafes. Sample the local cuisine or opt for international dishes while soaking in the beachside ambiance.

Afternoon: Embark on an underwater journey at the Aquarium des Lagons, located in Anse Vata. Marvel at the diverse marine life of New Caledonia’s lagoons through captivating exhibits and interactive displays. Gain a deeper understanding of the unique ecosystems and ongoing conservation efforts in the region.

Next, make your way to the Nouméa Museum (Musée de la Ville de Nouméa). Immerse yourself in the captivating history, culture, and natural heritage of New Caledonia. Explore the exhibits that showcase Kanak artifacts, colonial history, and contemporary art.

As the afternoon progresses, take a scenic drive or leisurely stroll along the Promenade Pierre Vernier. This coastal path offers breathtaking views of the crystal-clear lagoon, providing the perfect backdrop for a tranquil and picturesque experience.

Evening: As the sun sets, head to Quartier Latin, a vibrant neighborhood known for its lively dining scene, bars, and nightlife. Treat yourself to a delicious dinner at one of the many restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. Afterward, explore the local bars and lounges to immerse yourself in Nouméa’s vibrant nightlife .

Remember to consider the opening hours of attractions, as well as any temporary closures or special events that may affect your itinerary. Feel free to adjust the schedule based on your personal preferences and interests, ensuring a memorable day of exploration in Nouméa.

Noumea 3-4 Days Travel Itinerary

If you have 3-4 days to explore Nouméa, here’s a suggested travel itinerary that allows you to experience the city’s highlights and venture out to nearby attractions:

Day 1: Morning:

  • Begin your day with a visit to the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre. Explore the center’s stunning architecture and immerse yourself in the rich Kanak culture through its exhibitions and guided tours.
  • Take a short walk to Anse Vata Beach and enjoy the sun, sand, and turquoise waters. Engage in water activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, or snorkeling.
  • Visit the Aquarium des Lagons and discover the diverse marine life of New Caledonia’s lagoons. Marvel at the colorful coral reefs and unique fish species through interactive exhibits.
  • Head to the Nouméa Museum to learn about the history, culture, and natural heritage of New Caledonia. Explore the exhibits showcasing Kanak artifacts, colonial history, and contemporary art.
  • Stroll along the Promenade Pierre Vernier and enjoy the picturesque sunset views over the lagoon.
  • Explore Quartier Latin, known for its vibrant dining scene. Indulge in a delicious dinner at one of the restaurants offering a variety of cuisines.

Day 2: Morning:

  • Take a day trip to Île des Pins (Isle of Pines), known for its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters. Relax on Kuto Beach, visit the natural swimming pool of Oro Bay, and hike to N’ga Peak for panoramic views.
  • Explore the traditional Melanesian village of Vao and learn about the local culture and customs .
  • Continue exploring Île des Pins by visiting the iconic Notre Dame de l’Assomption, a picturesque church overlooking the bay.
  • Enjoy a leisurely beach day, swimming, snorkeling, or simply relaxing on one of the island’s beautiful beaches.
  • Return to Nouméa and enjoy a laid-back evening exploring the city’s nightlife or dining at one of the local restaurants.

Day 3: Morning:

  • Embark on a day trip to the Blue River Provincial Park. Explore the park’s diverse ecosystems, go hiking through lush rainforests , and visit the stunning Madeleine Waterfall.
  • Discover the natural beauty of Prony Bay, known for its mangroves, hills, and wildlife.
  • Visit the Fort Téremba historical site , an old prison camp with remnants of the past. Learn about the history and significance of the area.
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by nature in one of the park’s designated areas.
  • Return to Nouméa and spend the evening at leisure, exploring the city’s dining and entertainment options.

Day 4 (Optional): If you have an extra day, consider one of the following options:

  • Take a day trip to the Loyalty Islands, such as Lifou or Ouvéa, known for their pristine beaches, vibrant marine life, and cultural experiences.
  • Explore the Grand Sud (Great South) region of New Caledonia, which offers beautiful landscapes, including the stunning cliffs of Cap N’Dua, the picturesque village of Yaté, and the magnificent Prony Needle.

Remember to adjust the itinerary based on your interests, available time, and the opening hours of attractions. It’s always a good idea to check for any temporary closures or special events happening during your visit to make the most of your time in Nouméa.

Noumea 1 Week Travel Itinerary

If you have one week to explore Nouméa and its surrounding areas, here’s a suggested travel itinerary that allows you to experience the city’s highlights and venture out to nearby attractions:

  • Arrive in Nouméa and settle into your accommodation.
  • Start your exploration with a visit to the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre. Immerse yourself in the rich Kanak culture and art through the center’s exhibitions and guided tours.
  • Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, perhaps taking a stroll along Anse Vata Beach and exploring the Quartier Latin for dinner.
  • Take a full-day trip to Île des Pins (Isle of Pines), known for its pristine beaches and turquoise waters. Relax on Kuto Beach, visit the natural swimming pool of Oro Bay, and hike to N’ga Peak for panoramic views.
  • Explore the traditional Melanesian village of Vao and learn about the local culture and customs.
  • Discover the beautiful lagoon surrounding Nouméa by going on a half-day snorkeling or scuba diving trip. Explore the vibrant coral reefs and encounter tropical fish and marine life.
  • In the afternoon, visit the Aquarium des Lagons to learn more about the diverse marine ecosystems of New Caledonia.
  • Embark on a day trip to the Blue River Provincial Park. Explore the park’s natural wonders, go hiking through lush rainforests, and visit the stunning Madeleine Waterfall.
  • Take a relaxing boat ride on the Prony Bay to appreciate the picturesque landscapes and observe the rich biodiversity of the mangroves.
  • Venture south to the Grand Sud (Great South) region of New Caledonia. Visit the captivating cliffs of Cap N’Dua, explore the charming village of Yaté, and marvel at the magnificent Prony Needle.
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch amidst the natural beauty of the region.
  • Spend the day discovering Nouméa’s history and landmarks. Visit the Nouméa Museum to learn about the city’s heritage, explore Fort Téremba’s historical site , and wander through the city center to admire the colonial architecture.
  • Indulge in some retail therapy at the local markets and shops.
  • Take a day trip to one of the Loyalty Islands, such as Lifou or Ouvéa. Explore their stunning beaches, go snorkeling or diving, and immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions .
  • Enjoy a farewell dinner in Nouméa, savoring the local cuisine and reflecting on your week-long adventure.

Remember to adjust the itinerary based on your interests, available time, and the opening hours of attractions. This itinerary offers a balance between exploring Nouméa and its surroundings, allowing you to experience the cultural, natural, and historical aspects of New Caledonia.

Is Noumea A Safe City To Visit?

Nouméa is generally considered a safe city to visit, but it’s important to exercise caution and take common-sense precautions, as you would when traveling to any unfamiliar destination. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Personal Safety: Nouméa has a relatively low crime rate, but petty theft, particularly in tourist areas, can occur. Take care of your personal belongings, such as keeping an eye on your bags and not displaying expensive items openly. Avoid walking alone in isolated areas at night, and use well-lit and populated streets whenever possible.
  • Beach Safety: Nouméa’s beaches are generally safe, but it’s important to adhere to safety guidelines. Pay attention to any warning signs regarding strong currents or hazardous conditions. If you’re not a confident swimmer, stick to areas with lifeguards and swim within designated zones.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: New Caledonia has a diverse cultural makeup, with a significant presence of the indigenous Kanak people. It’s important to respect their customs and traditions. Ask for permission before taking photographs of people, especially in traditional villages or sacred sites.
  • Medical Precautions: Before traveling to Nouméa, it’s advisable to ensure that you have adequate travel insurance that covers medical emergencies. It’s also recommended to consult your doctor regarding any necessary vaccinations or health precautions.
  • Natural Hazards: Like any island destination, Nouméa is susceptible to natural hazards. Stay informed about weather conditions, such as cyclones, and follow any instructions or warnings issued by local authorities.

As a visitor, it’s always beneficial to stay informed about the local customs, laws, and any recent developments. It’s a good idea to check travel advisories from your country’s government and to stay connected with your embassy or consulate while traveling.

By taking these precautions, being aware of your surroundings, and using common sense, you can have a safe and enjoyable visit to Nouméa.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Noumea?

The best time to visit Nouméa is during the dry season, which spans from May to September. This period offers ideal weather conditions with lower humidity and average temperatures ranging from 20°C (68°F) to 25°C (77°F). The skies are generally clear, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities, beach visits, and exploring the city.

During the dry season, you can expect comfortable temperatures that are perfect for enjoying Nouméa’s beautiful beaches, such as Anse Vata and Baie des Citrons. The calm waters are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities. You’ll also find pleasant conditions for exploring Nouméa’s attractions, like the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre, the Aquarium des Lagons, and the Nouméa Museum.

If you prefer warmer temperatures and don’t mind a slightly higher chance of rainfall, the shoulder months of April and October can still offer favorable weather conditions. The water temperatures remain comfortable, allowing for enjoyable aquatic adventures.

It’s important to note that Nouméa experiences a wet season from November to March, characterized by higher temperatures, increased humidity, and the possibility of tropical storms and cyclones. While the lush greenery and vibrant flora during this time can be appealing, it’s crucial to stay informed about weather forecasts and potential disruptions.

Another factor to consider is the peak tourist season, which aligns with the French summer holidays in July and August. During this period, Nouméa can be more crowded, and prices for accommodations and flights may be higher. If you prefer to avoid the crowds and secure better deals, planning your visit before or after this peak season is recommended.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Nouméa depends on your personal preferences and interests. Consider the weather, activities you wish to engage in, and your tolerance for crowds to select the most suitable time for your trip.

Where To Visit After Your Trip To Noumea?

After your trip to Nouméa, there are several destinations you can consider visiting in New Caledonia or nearby countries. Here are a few options:

  • Isle of Pines (Île des Pins): Located just a short flight or ferry ride from Nouméa, the Isle of Pines is known for its breathtaking beaches , crystal-clear waters, and lush landscapes. Explore the iconic natural swimming pool of Oro Bay, relax on the pristine Kuto Beach, or hike to N’ga Peak for panoramic views.
  • Loyalty Islands: Comprising Lifou, Ouvéa, and Maré, the Loyalty Islands are a group of idyllic islands known for their stunning beaches, vibrant marine life, and unique Kanak culture. Each island offers its own charm, with opportunities for snorkeling, diving, cultural experiences, and relaxation.
  • Grande Terre: The main island of New Caledonia, Grande Terre, has much to offer beyond Nouméa. Explore the cosmopolitan city of La Foa, venture to the stunning landscapes of the Great South region, or visit the wild and rugged East Coast, known for its stunning cliffs, waterfalls, and hiking trails.
  • Vanuatu: If you’re looking to extend your trip beyond New Caledonia, consider visiting Vanuatu, a neighboring Pacific island nation. Vanuatu offers a diverse range of experiences, from pristine beaches and vibrant coral reefs to volcanic landscapes and traditional village visits. Popular destinations include Port Vila, Espiritu Santo, and Tanna Island.
  • Australia: Nouméa is relatively close to Australia, making it a convenient starting point for further exploration. Consider visiting popular Australian cities like Sydney, Melbourne, or Cairns, where you can experience iconic landmarks, vibrant city life, and stunning natural wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef.
  • New Zealand: If you’re looking for a unique adventure, consider visiting New Zealand . Explore the breathtaking landscapes of the North Island and South Island, including stunning fjords, geothermal wonders, picturesque lakes, and Maori cultural experiences. Visit cities like Auckland, Wellington, or Queenstown for a mix of urban and natural attractions.
  • Fiji: Located northeast of New Caledonia, Fiji is a popular destination known for its pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and vibrant coral reefs. Relax on the white sand beaches, go snorkeling or diving, and experience the warm hospitality of the Fijian people. Explore the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands or visit the capital city of Suva.
  • French Polynesia: Another beautiful destination in the Pacific, French Polynesia offers a tropical paradise with renowned islands like Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, and Huahine. Immerse yourself in the stunning turquoise lagoons, overwater bungalows, and vibrant marine life. Enjoy water sports, hiking, cultural experiences, and the famous Polynesian hospitality.
  • New South Wales, Australia: If you want to explore more of Australia, consider visiting the state of New South Wales. Discover the iconic city of Sydney with its iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Explore the beautiful coastline, visit the Blue Mountains, or relax on the pristine beaches of Byron Bay.
  • Norfolk Island: Located east of Australia, Norfolk Island is a scenic and historic destination . Explore the island’s convict history, lush landscapes, and stunning coastline. Enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and bird watching, and immerse yourself in the friendly local community.
  • New Caledonia’s Northern Province: If you want to further explore New Caledonia, consider visiting the Northern Province. Experience the cultural richness of the indigenous Kanak people, discover remote villages, and encounter pristine landscapes, including the iconic Heart of Voh and the stunning landscapes around Koumac.
  • Vanuatu’s Tanna Island: Venture to Tanna Island in Vanuatu, where you can witness the mighty Mount Yasur, one of the world’s most accessible active volcanoes. Experience the awe-inspiring volcanic landscapes, cultural traditions, and the warm hospitality of the local people.
  • Solomon Islands: If you’re looking for off-the-beaten-path adventure, consider visiting the Solomon Islands. This archipelago offers pristine coral reefs, World War II history, dense rainforests, and traditional Melanesian culture. Explore the capital city of Honiara, discover remote islands, and enjoy world-class diving opportunities.
  • Great Barrier Reef, Australia: Extend your trip to Australia and visit the world-famous Great Barrier Reef. Experience the wonders of this UNESCO World Heritage Site through snorkeling, diving, or taking a scenic flight over the colorful coral formations. Explore coastal cities like Cairns, Port Douglas, or the Whitsunday Islands for a combination of reef adventures and beach relaxation.
  • Papua New Guinea: For a truly unique and immersive experience, consider visiting Papua New Guinea. Discover its rich tribal cultures, traditional villages, and pristine natural environments. Explore the vibrant markets of Port Moresby, hike through lush rainforests, or embark on an unforgettable diving expedition.
  • Bali, Indonesia: If you’re looking for a mix of cultural immersion, stunning landscapes, and beautiful beaches, Bali is an excellent choice. Explore ancient temples, experience traditional Balinese ceremonies, visit rice terraces, and enjoy water sports or relaxation on the island’s famous beaches.
  • Tahiti and the Society Islands: Venture to French Polynesia’s main island of Tahiti and its neighboring Society Islands, including Bora Bora and Moorea. Experience overwater bungalows, snorkel in vibrant coral reefs, and indulge in the beauty of turquoise lagoons and lush tropical landscapes.
  • Cook Islands: Located in the South Pacific, the Cook Islands offer a tranquil paradise with pristine beaches, clear turquoise waters, and a laid-back atmosphere. Explore the main island of Rarotonga, go snorkeling or diving in Aitutaki’s lagoon, and immerse yourself in Polynesian culture and hospitality.

These are just a few suggestions, and there are many other destinations to explore depending on your interests and the duration of your trip. It’s recommended to research and plan your itinerary in advance, considering travel logistics, flights, accommodation, and any visa requirements for the countries you wish to visit.

Noumea beach lined with trees in New Caledonia

Noumea Travel Guide: Final Thoughts

Nouméa is a captivating destination with its blend of French and Pacific Island influences, stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and natural beauty. Here are some final thoughts to keep in mind for your Nouméa travel guide:

  • Language: French is the official language of New Caledonia, including Nouméa. While English is spoken to some extent, especially in tourist areas, it can be helpful to learn a few basic French phrases or carry a translation app to facilitate communication.
  • Currency: The official currency of New Caledonia is the CFP franc (XPF). It’s advisable to exchange some currency upon arrival or withdraw cash from ATMs. Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants, and major establishments.
  • Local Customs: New Caledonia has a diverse cultural landscape, with the indigenous Kanak culture playing a significant role. Respect local customs and traditions, ask for permission before taking photographs of people, and dress modestly when visiting sacred sites or villages.
  • Outdoor Activities: Nouméa offers an array of outdoor activities, including snorkeling, diving, hiking, and water sports. Take advantage of the pristine beaches, coral reefs, and lush landscapes to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region.
  • Cuisine: New Caledonian cuisine combines French culinary traditions with Pacific Island flavors. Don’t miss the opportunity to try local specialties like bougna (a traditional Kanak dish), fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and delicious French pastries.
  • Environmental Awareness: New Caledonia boasts stunning biodiversity, including extensive coral reefs and unique flora and fauna. Practice responsible tourism by respecting the environment, following designated paths, and not disturbing marine life or delicate ecosystems.
  • Safety: While Nouméa is generally safe, it’s important to remain vigilant and take precautions against petty theft. Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas, and avoid walking alone in isolated areas at night.

By considering these final thoughts, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your Nouméa travel experience. Embrace the unique blend of cultures, explore the natural wonders, and savor the delights of this captivating city in New Caledonia.

In Nouméa’s embrace, a traveler finds delight, A city where cultures dance, day and night. With French elegance and Pacific charm, Nouméa’s beauty leaves no heart disarmed.

Stroll through Place des Cocotiers, bustling and alive, A market of colors, where local treasures thrive. Sip a café au lait in a charming café, As the sun kisses the turquoise bay.

Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre stands tall, A tribute to Kanak heritage, inviting us all. Immerse in art, traditions, stories untold, In Nouméa’s embrace, cultural wonders unfold.

Anse Vata’s golden sands beckon with grace, Where gentle waves meet the shore, a serene embrace. Dive beneath the waves, a vibrant underwater show, Discover coral reefs, where rainbow colors glow.

Nouméa Museum unveils history’s tale, From Kanak heritage to colonial prevail. In its halls, the past comes alive, Enchanting visitors who dare to dive.

Promenade Pierre Vernier, a coastal retreat, With breathtaking views, nature’s own feat. As the sun sets over the lagoon’s serene expanse, Whispers of beauty, a traveler’s romance.

Quartier Latin invites us to explore, With flavors and aromas to adore. Indulge in culinary delights, a true gastronomic treat, Nouméa’s fusion of tastes, a journey sweet.

In Nouméa, safety’s embrace is near, A city where travelers find peace and cheer. With open hearts, Nouméens welcome all, Creating memories, cherished like a call.

So wander through Nouméa’s charming streets, Where French flair and Pacific spirit meet. In every corner, a story to unfold, In Nouméa’s embrace, an adventure to behold.

noumea travel guide

Noumea travel guide

Noumea tourism | noumea guide, you're going to love noumea.

With 93,060 inhabitants, Noumea is the most populous city in New Caledonia. It is the most popular tourist destination in the country. We recommend you stay at least 4 days in order to fully appreciate everything Noumea has to offer.

noumea travel guide

Activities & attractions in Noumea

noumea travel guide

Other activities

noumea travel guide

When to visit Noumea

How to get to noumea.

Noumea is served by 2 airports: Noumea Magenta (GEA) and Noumea Tontouta (NOU). The closest to downtown Noumea is Noumea Magenta, which is located 2 miles from the city center. Further away is Noumea Tontouta, 24 miles from the center of Noumea.

Airports near Noumea

Airlines serving noumea, where to stay in noumea.

Average rates range from around $104 per night for a double room in a 3-star hotel to $180 and up for a 5-star experience.

Where to stay in popular areas of Noumea

Most booked hotels in noumea, renting a car in noumea.

Renting a car in Noumea costs $51 per day, on average, or $204 if you want to rent if for 4 days.

It’s generally cheaper to rent your vehicle outside the airport: locations in the city are around 12% cheaper than airport locations in Noumea.

Compact (Peugeot 208 or similar) is the most popular car type to rent in Noumea, while also 22% cheaper than other types, on average.

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  • 1 Understand
  • 2.1 By plane
  • 2.4 By boat
  • 3 Get around
  • 9.2 Mid-range
  • 9.3 Splurge

noumea travel guide

Nouméa is the largest city in and capital of New Caledonia , lying on the main island of Grande Terre . One of the most westernised cities in the Pacific Islands, it features beautiful beaches and colonial mansions and is not yet a heavily touristed destination.

Understand [ edit ]

Where metropolitan French will hear a bad French accent, wince and say that they speak English, the Francophones of New Caledonia are either less willing or less able to accommodate Anglophones. It is probably a matter of capability, since they are marvellously willing to persevere in determining what it is that a foreigner needs. Without tourist-level French, you may find yourself lost — but it's a lovely place to be lost! The French spoken by Caledonians is much harder to understand than the French of people in Paris: on a par with Quebec French (or think of the challenge offered by broad Scots or Yorkshire for a Londoner). But English rates in New Caledonia are becoming higher, with more of the younger generations learning English.

Get in [ edit ]

Map

By plane [ edit ]

Due to the long distance between the airport and the city centre, connecting transport can be very expensive. The cheapest option by far is a public bus, run by Carsud . Ligne C runs 9-11 times a day each way Monday to Saturday, however only twice a day on Sundays. The journey time is about an hour 20 minutes costing 280 F one-way (as of 2018), departing to the city from just outside the airport terminal on the right, and to the airport from the Desmazures interchange near the bingo centre. A pre-booked shuttle service to your hotel will cost about 3000 F per person; there are a variety of options, but the largest company is Arc en Ciel ( ☏ +687 271980 ). A taxi could cost up to 10,000 F.

By car [ edit ]

From La Tontouta , it's a half an hour drive via the RT1 east towards Noumea. From Le Mont-Dore , it's a 10 minute drive south west via the expressway.

By bus [ edit ]

By boat [ edit ].

Noumea is a popular port of call for people sailing around the Pacific, though most dare not sail during cyclone season.

Get around [ edit ]

The Little Train (Le Petit Train) is a motorised tour on normal roads, that runs several times a day. It is an area tour, but you can also hop off one train, and catch the following service. Check the timetable, though, because it may be cancelled or only offer two services on a given day.

The city is also serviced by several bus routes that costs 210 F if you buy your ticket on board ( as of June 2014 ), or 190 F if you buy them ahead of time. Others have recommended this only if you feel your French is up to scratch, as the bus drivers very rarely understand anything but French. However, it is sufficient to know that the bus goes to "Centre Ville", then hand over the money and state the number of tickets required (une personne, deux personnes, trois personnes, etc.). The big catch is working out where the buses start, as different lines leave from different places. The majority of buses go from near the ticket office in Place de la Marne, where Rue d'Austerlitz passes through the Place des Cocotiers. Other lines depart from a rough piece of ground near the corner of rue Clemenceau and rue de la Somme, within sight of the Municipal Markets and the cinema and a couple of blocks south of Place des Cocotiers. See the official map for more details.

You can buy a number of tickets in advance at the office on rue d'Austerlitz (it's more of a booth, actually) but you need to validate the appropriate number of tickets for the trip when you board the bus (that includes the ones you buy from the driver) by inserting them in a machine that will stamp them with a time and a date, but this is nowhere explained. There are rumours of ticket-selling machines in shops. There may be an all-day ticket. The city bus line is called Karuiabus .

The first trick is to recognise a bus stop when you see one. These are white-ish pillars, usually with a name on them, sometimes with a shelter from sun or rain, but usually with no indication of the lines that stop there.

Also available for tourists is a "Noumea Explorer" service that runs an hourly loop pass the major tourist sites (Museums, Parc Forestier and Zoo, Tjibaou and hotels) hourly. That for 1500 F a day (2010 price), is a great idea to be used to explore each of the sites for an hour before catching the bus onto the next location when it comes past again. The service takes a little over an hour, the stops are hard to locate at the start, and you need both a map that shows the stops, and also a leaflet from your hotel or a tourist office that gives the timetable.

Tanéo also run bus services and run within Greater Nouméa. More information on Tanéo can be found here .

See [ edit ]

Most of the tourist attractions in Noumea are closed on Mondays and open all other days, with the exception of Museum of New Caledonia, which is closed on Tuesdays. Each venue has its own entry costs, but in 2014 for 1700 F a "Pass' Nature and Culture" could still be purchased that provided admittance to the Tjibaou, New Caledonia, Noumea and Maritime History Museums, Zoo and Aquarium that could be used over 6 months.

Another good idea, is to grab the free English publication The New Caledonia Weekly and check in it for local events and ideas. The best map was the "New Caledonia Visitor map" found in many places. This is an A1 sheet that can be a challenge in high winds, but at least it shows you where the "Noumea Explorer" stops are.

  • -22.275693 166.443548 1 Museum of New Caledonia ( Musée de Nouvelle-Calédonie ), 43, Avenue du Maréchal Foch, Quartier Latin , ☏ +687 272342 , fax : +687 284143 , [email protected] . W-M 09:00-11:30, 12:15-16:30 . The former territorial museum displays a large variety of tribal art and cultural items, such as weapons, spears, traditional clothing, decorations and full-size boat and hut structures. The ground floor focusses on Kanak items from New Caledonia, while upstairs there is cultural heritage from across the region, including countries like Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Australia. Some English information available. 200 F adults, 50 F students/12-18 years/seniors, under-12s free . ( updated Jul 2015 )
  • -22.270567 166.441441 2 City of Nouméa Museum ( Musée de la Ville de Nouméa ), 39, rue Jean Jaurès, Centre-Ville ( Opposite Place des Cocotiers ), ☏ +687 262805 , fax : +687 276062 , [email protected] . M-F 09:00-17:00, Sa 09:00-13:00, 14:00-17:00 . The museum is in the city's first bank, constructed in 1874, a few years later which would become the town hall for nearly a century following the bank's failure. Documents the history of the city and the surrounding region, including the convict era, municipal projects under Governor Feuillet, the nickel trade, the city's role in World War II and since then. A lot of the info is in English, and a free audio guide is available to explain most of the exhibits. 200 F adults, 100 F students/seniors, 50 F 12-18 years, under-12s free . ( updated Jul 2015 )

noumea travel guide

  • -22.256338 166.481685 3 Tjibaou Cultural Centre ( Centre Culturel Tjibaou ), Rue des Accords de Matignon , ☏ +687 41 45 45 . 09:00-17:00 (closed Mondays) . the iconic large modern wooden round houses, that you see on most postcards of New Caledonia, are located a little way out of Noumea (but accessible by buses--Noumea Explorer or Ligne 40 (   40   ) public bus) past the Magenta Domestic Airport. It houses a lot of contemporary Melanesian and other Oceanic cultures art work, as well as some traditional pieces. Also if you visit at the right time, there are regular performances of traditional dances and music here, as well as the resource libraries focusing on Oceanic cultures. There is a cafeteria manned by a character with severely limited skills of addition, so make sure you know what you should be paying. The shop has some exquisitely designed souvenirs which aren't cheap, but which are still worth it. Make sure you leave some time to walk around outside the building. The architect was Renzo Piano, and you need to look closely at the way he has captured the spirit of the Auracaria pines. The centre commemorates a leader of the Kanak independence movement, Jean-Marie Tjibaou, a former priest who significantly was a student in Paris in 1968. Tjibaou was murdered by another Kanak who regarded Tjibaou's signing of the Matignon Accords as a betrayal. 500 F . ( updated Sep 2021 )
  • Maritime History Museum on the Baie de la Moselle water front ( 11 avenue James Cook ), this little museum is packed with maritime artifacts, like a humongous rudder, light house lamp, and models of New Caledonian ships. It also regularly hosts temporary exhibits like one on the first convict ship to arrive in New Caledonia. 500 F per person (June 2014).
  • Aquarium des Lagons between Anse Vata and Baie des Citrons ( 61 Promenade Roger Laroque ), the Aquarium has a great collection of Nautilus, as well as lots of information about the local marine life of the island. 1000 F (as of June 2014). Tu-Su 10:00 to 17:00. Last admissions at 16:00.

Do [ edit ]

New Caledonia is home of one of the largest lagoons in the world. So naturally water sports are very popular.

  • Wind surfing Anse Vata during the afternoons is very popular with Kite and Wind Surfers. There are a few hire companies on the beach that are very friendly and have a wide range of equipment.
  • Snorkeling it is highly suggested to snorkel while in Noumea. The water off Rocher a la Voile around and into Baie des Citrons has coral literally meters from the shore line, making it very easy to see the coral and fish that inhabit there.

Baie des Citrons is also very protected from wind, making it even more enjoyable for the novice. But also if you are prepared to pay for a water taxi ride, Ile aux Canards just off Anse Vata (maybe half a kilometer away ) has a snorkeling track in a marine park that has even better coral to see. The visibility can be poor after rough weather, and the charges for almost everything are appallingly heavy (600 F for a chair, the same for an umbrella, and the service is surely the surliest found anywhere in Nouméa, aside from the Tjibaou cafeteria). You get there by water taxi from the lower level of the faré ("native hut") half-way along the Plage Loisirs or Anse Vata beach . The price in June 2014 was 1200 F for a return trip, which was good value.

Seeing sea snakes is not uncommon in Nouméan waters, but they are very unlikely to bite a snorkeler. Sharks are very rarely seen though. You can rent a mask, fins and snorkel for 600 F, so you may think it worthwhile taking your own.

  • Island hopping/visiting there are also many tourist operators who will take you to an island to sunbathe, swim and explore — like the Light House tours available from most tourist operators on Anse Vata, or via the hotels.
  • Scuba diving There are a few dive companies who offer dive courses, and day dives on the reef. Abyss Plongée have a couple of boats and are based in Marina Port du Sud, and offer a morning of 2 dives on the reef for around 10,000 F. A whole day including 2 dives, lunch, and transfer from/to Port Moselle is about 16,500 F.
  • Walking The climb up Ouen Toro Park at the South of Noumea (the hill near most of the big hotels) is a great way to spend a few hours. There are many paths through the hill that are signed (though sometimes poorly due to vandalism) and many places to stop, rest and take in the views. At the top of the 128-m summit is a military base (that can not be visited) and an old battery that has BBQ facilities.

The quickest way up from the area near Anse Vata is to walk along rue g. Laroque, but if you reach the pharmacy and the Hippodrome, you have gone too far. Go past the first couple of cross streets, then look for rue Paul Baumier on your right: there is a Gascon restaurant on one corner, and the Val Plaisance Charcuterie on the other. Walk up the street warily (the drivers are a bit wild) then pick up the track at the top end of the street. This leads up to the road that comes from somewhere past the Meridien hotel. The track is a bit of a scrabble, with a number of 5 cm stumps. Once you are on the road, you can either go west to look out over the sea or just look for the walking tracks that start immediately opposite. There is a painted map-sign there, so take some notes, especially of the distances, because these are repeated on the track signage.

The main thing is to be aware that there are many other tracks than the ones shown, and the red tracks (on the signboard map) are indeed "difficult". In the late afternoon, there are other walkers and runners so the place is safe enough. Take some water, and watch where you put your feet, as twisted ankles are always possible on the loose stones and rocks. Keep an eye on where you are going so that you can retrace your steps, because the internal signs are poor. The views, however, are superb.

Most of Nouméa is also very close together, and safe to walk day and night between most of the suburbs (anyway avoid the surroundings of the "place des cocotiers" at night, were many drunken people are roaming. Neighbourhoods of Montravel, Vallee du tir, and Riviere Salee can be also be unsafe place at night). By day, the walk from Anse Vata along to and around the Baie des Citrons is pleasant. Assume that coffee and tea along the way will leave you little change from 500 F (each).

Buy [ edit ]

  • Local markets just off rue Clemenceau, south of the CBD every morning of the week is local markets from approx 05:00 till 10:00, where cheap food, arts and crafts can be purchased. Expect to pay list price; bargaining is not common practice in New Caledonia.

Food is not cheap in New Caledonia, but you can do well shopping at the non-tourist shops. Learn to detect the boulangerie and patisserie for bread and pastries, the charcuterie for meat and pâté and so on, but don't pass by the slightly seedy-looking general stores, where you can probably get tinned pâté, packaged cheese (wedges of brie, for example) and more.

Plan your alcohol purchases carefully because many supermarkets will not sell you alcohol on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Eat [ edit ]

  • Waterfront Market , Rue Georges Clemenceau . Open every morning, providing a good option for budget breakfasts. Croissants and Pain au Chocolat (180 F) and multitude of fresh fruit are available from various merchants. La Buvette du Marché, located inside the building adjacent to the main fruit market, prepares a variety of food including Croque Monsieur (toasted ham and cheese sandwich) and coffee.  

At night, locals who eat out seem to wait until vingt heures ( 20:00 ) before they eat, though most places are open from 18:30 .

  • L'Entrecote Au 360 ( 360 Restaurant ), ☏ +687 23 90 90 . A revolving restaurant on top of one of the Ramada towers. At one point, you are looking straight into the apartments of the other tower, but the food is truly superb, and the lunch views are great. Try the sirloin steak in secret sauce. ( updated Mar 2017 )

Drink [ edit ]

The main local beer is 'Number One', it is not a complex beer, but pleasant and refreshing. The other local beer is called "Manta".

There are many French wines to be had, but the New Zealand and Australian wines might travel better. The local tap water is perfectly safe to drink, but bottled water is easy to find if you are fearful.

For Australians, the idea of 'flat white' coffee is familiar. A short black is 'espresso', cappuccino comes heaped high with cream (not froth), and tea is served without milk. The hot chocolate is up to Belgian standards. Fruit juices are pricey but excellent.

Sleep [ edit ]

Budget [ edit ].

  • -22.272078 166.445221 1 Noumea City Hostel ( L'Auberge de Jeunesse ), 51 Rue Pasteur Marcel Ariège ( from Place des Cocotiers, head inland, and up a huge set of steps, turn right and down a driveway adjacent to FOL ), ☏ +687 275879 , fax : +687 254817 , [email protected] . 05:30-11:45, 16:00-20:00 daily . Noumea's only youth hostel sits perched on the side of a hill behind the cathedral, with a magnificent view over Centre-Ville and the bay. A number of 4- and 6-bed dormitories with balconies, with some double rooms also available. Clean shared bathroom and kitchen facilities, baggage lockers and a recreational room with table tennis and films each night. Wi-Fi costs 200 F/hr, while there is also a reasonable fee for laundry services. 2000 F/dorm bed . ( updated Aug 2015 )
  • -22.29524 166.43891 2 Marina Beach Hotel ( Residence Marina Beach ), 4 Rue Auguste Page Baie Des Citrons , ☏ +687 28 76 33 , [email protected] . Basic accommodation, but a great location including cookie facilities.  

Mid-range [ edit ]

Le Surf (www.grands-hotels.nc) Le Parc

Splurge [ edit ]

Ramada Plaza, rue Louis Blériot, Anse Vata

Royal Tera: Excellent accommodation on Anse Vata Bay - self-contained (kitchen incredible), short walk to bus to City. Close to restaurants.

  • Hilton Noumea La Promenade , 109 Promenade Roger Laroque , ☏ +687-2-44600 , fax : +687-2-44700 .  
  • Le Meridien Noumea Resort & Spa , Pointe Magni , ☏ +687 26 50 00 , fax : +687 26 50 03 , [email protected] .  

Go next [ edit ]

  • Explore the Grand South and visit Le Mont-Dore

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NEW CALEDONIA

Don’t be like everyone else and experience several trips in one, unravel the mysteries of this astonishing overseas archipelago, hidden in the heart of the South Pacific! With its UNESCO World Heritage-listed lagoons, explosive cultural mix, vast untouched natural spaces and pleasant temperate climate, New Caledonia offers a tourist experience that’s as exotic as it is varied… in a word, “unique”.

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New Caledonia

New Caledonia's dazzling lagoon surrounds it with every hue of blue, green and turquoise. The light and the space simply delight your senses. By becoming a World Heritage site, the lagoon has helped bring the people together to celebrate and protect it, from village level through to government.

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Attractions

Must-see attractions for your itinerary.

Place des Cocotiers

Place des Cocotiers

This is the heart of the city. The square slopes gently from east to west and at the top is a band rotunda, a famous landmark dating back to the late…

Fort Téremba

Fort Téremba

Grande Terre

Built in 1871, this historic fort originally held convicts brought to the area to build roads. Following a revolt by local Kanaks against French colonial…

Le Parc des Grandes Fougères

Le Parc des Grandes Fougères

This 4500-hectare park, in the mountains above Farino, features tropical rainforest with rich and varied flora and fauna. As the name suggests, tree ferns…

The Heart of Voh

The Heart of Voh

North of Koné, near the township of Voh, there’s a mangrove swamp which has developed some unusual natural designs. The most intriguing is a perfect heart…

Pont de Mouli

Pont de Mouli

Loyalty Islands

It may seem unusual to recommend a road bridge as a top sightseeing spot, but at Pont de Mouli, Ouvéa’s tip, Mouli island, is cut off by a wide channel…

Anse Vata

Orientated east–west, this popular beach is a hotspot for visitors to Noumea, with hotels, restaurants, shopping and other attractions. Only 10 minutes…

Baie des Citrons

Baie des Citrons

Orientated north–south and less than 10 minutes from the city centre, trendy Baie des Citrons attracts locals and visitors alike. The beach is great for…

Aquarium des Lagons

Aquarium des Lagons

This aquarium is stunning. Species found in New Caledonian waters – including nautilus, sea snakes, stone fish, turtles, sharks and stingrays – have…

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noumea travel guide

Dec 23, 2015 • 5 min read

Looking for a relaxing family travel experience with more than 'just' beaches and sunshine? New Caledonia offers travellers a taste of the tropics but…

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Things to Do in Noumea, New Caledonia - Noumea Attractions

Things to do in noumea, explore popular experiences, ways to tour noumea.

noumea travel guide

Water Taxi Signal Island Turtle Tour for cruisers

noumea travel guide

Amedee Lighthouse

noumea travel guide

Local Green Train Noumea

noumea travel guide

Private Half-Day City Tour of Nouméa

noumea travel guide

Private One Day Tour through The Deep South

noumea travel guide

Guided City Orientation Tour of Noumea

noumea travel guide

Blissful Getaway: Treat Yourself to a Spa Massage in Nouméa

noumea travel guide

Country Tour included Tjibaou Cultural Center and La Conception Church

noumea travel guide

Amedee Island and Outer Reef Half-Day Private Water Taxi Tour from Noumea

noumea travel guide

The "French Touch" Tour

noumea travel guide

Top Attractions in Noumea

noumea travel guide

1. Amedee Lighthouse

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2. Aquarium des Lagons Nouvelle Caledonie

noumea travel guide

3. Tjibaou Cultural Center

noumea travel guide

4. Le Musee Maritime de Nouvelle-Caledonie

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5. Ilot Maitre

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6. Parc zoologique et forestier

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7. Amedee Island

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8. Plage de la Baie des Citrons

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9. Ile aux Canards island

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10. Anse Vata Beach

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11. Musée de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale

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12. Signal Island

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Outdoor Activities

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Airport & Hotel Transfers

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Private & Custom Tours

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Ports of Call Tours

Cultural & theme tours, what travelers are saying.

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New Caledonia Travel Guide and Tips

New Caledonia Travel Guide and Tips

We decided to travel to New Caledonia for several reasons. We wanted somewhere warm, close to New Zealand, interesting and that we’d never been before. Some quick research told us that New Caledonia would tick these boxes and provide us with a great mix of things to do and places to relax.

New Caledonia has a great tourism department who provide a good overview of the different parts of the country. However most people visiting arrive on cruise ships and/or only spend time around Noumea so we struggled to find any personal reviews. For us we also wanted to know if it was possible to keep our usual travel style of backpacking in New Caledonia as it’s not known for being budget travel friendly.

So we did what we do best, planned a trip and wrote up everything we found out for other people who want to travel to New Caledonia on a budget or just get away from the resorts and see this amazing island. After an epic road trip around the country, camping on beaches, taking trips to the islands and hanging out in Noumea here’s our bumper travel guide to New Caledonia.

When to travel to New Caledonia

Visiting one of the small islands around New Caledonia is one of the best thing to do in New Caledonia and is one of our highly recommended New Caledonia travel tips.

Visiting one of the small islands around New Caledonia is one of the best thing to do in New Caledonia and is one of our highly recommended New Caledonia travel tips.

New Caledonia has two main seasons, summer and winter. Summer can be hot with temperatures up to 35°C and is perfect for sun lovers and water activities. This is also peak season and touristy areas can be a lot busier especially those visited by cruise ships. Winter is a pleasant 20-25°C and still boasts sunny weather perfect for hiking and camping. In short, any time is a good time to travel to New Caledonia!

How to get to New Caledonia

Beautiful views of New Caledonia from the plane. Flying to one of the smaller islands is a recommended New Caledonia travel tip.

Beautiful views of New Caledonia from the plane. Flying to one of the smaller islands is a recommended New Caledonia travel tip.

Aircalin, the national airline of New Caledonia flies basic but affordable flights to Noumea from Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, Tokyo and some other Pacific Islands. Air New Zealand also fly several times a week from Auckland. Qantas offers connections from Sydney and Brisbane too. While flights aren’t cheap (let’s face it, nowhere is in the Pacific) New Caledonia is Australia and NZ’s closest neighbour and the flight only takes 2.5 hours making it an easy holiday destination. Check out flight availability and prices here .

Bear in mind that the international airport is 45 minutes out of Noumea so you will need to arrange transport into the city when you arrive.

French is the official language and is spoken everywhere. There are also 28 different Kanak (native) languages spoken throughout the islands. English is widely spoken in Noumea but less so in other areas but people are generally friendly and helpful and will do their best to communicate.

 The currency in New Caledonia is the Pacific Franc (XFP or CFP). The value is pegged to the Euro at 120XFP = €1. ATMs are available throughout the country and are easy to find, most don’t charge fees.

New Caledonia is still very cash-based and you will even see many people paying by cheque. Credit cards can be used at most places in Noumea and supermarkets and hotels throughout the rest of the country. If you are heading to the islands make sure you bring cash.

Relaxing on the beautiful sand beaches is one of the best things to do in New Caledonia.

Relaxing on the beautiful sand beaches is one of the best things to do in New Caledonia.

Tap water is safe to drink in New Caledonia and you can easily fill a reusable water bottle at cafes and restaurant. There is no water access on some of the small islands off Noumea so if you’re going for a day trip or camping make sure to take enough with you.

WiFi and SIM Cards

There is only one SIM card offer for tourists and it is very expensive with not a lot of data (although you can top this up). You can get the tourist SIM at the airport or in Noumea. You  can read all the details here .

WiFi is readily available in Noumea and there are several free WiFi zones. Throughout the rest of the country WiFi is available at most accommodation including some campgrounds and gite. However, don’t expect high speeds. It is mainly through the 4G network and works fine for phones but laptops will struggle and any kind of uploading or downloading is not recommended.

It might pay to download a VPN before you head to New Caledonia. A VPN basically makes your computer secure when accessing the internet and is great idea, especially if you travel often and connect to lots of different networks. You can read more about VPNs in this guide .

Budget for New Caledonia

New Caledonia is not known for being a budget friendly destination and rightly so. But having done destinations such as Singapore and the Maldives on a budget we were determined to see how we went. If you are camping you can get by on as little as €35 per person per day including car hire. However a hotel can easily cost upwards of €100 a night so your budget will vary greatly depending on your travel style. Here are some costs to give you a rough idea:

Meal in a restaurant : €20

Baguette and cheese from the supermarket : €5

Car Hire : from €40 per day

Water taxi to a small island : €10-40

Night in a hotel: €100+

Transport in New Caledonia

Renting a car for a New Caledonia road trip is one of the best things to do in New Caledonia and one of our most important New Caledonia travel tips.

Renting a car for a New Caledonia road trip is one of the best things to do in New Caledonia and one of our most important New Caledonia travel tips.

If you are travelling around the main island you will need a car. Thankfully, the roads are reasonable and driving distances are quite short. You can see the whole island in around 5 days and can take a few smaller trips from Noumea if you’re short on time. We rented a car from Hertz and were impressed with their service. Our car was comfortable and very economic. It was 100% worth getting out of Noumea and seeing more of this beautiful island - Check car rental prices here .

If you are renting a car for your whole stay it can be worth it to book your car for pick up/drop off at the airport. A shuttle to the airport can be pricey as it is 45 minutes out of Noumea. Check with your car rental company if there is an extra surcharge for this.

Car rental companies also limit mileage to 150km a day which is more than enough to get around but can be pushed to the limit if you are doing a road trip and travelling every day. Check out our road trip guide (coming soon) for some ideas of where to go.

The domestic airline, Air Loyaute, flies between Noumea and the islands daily and flights are relatively cheap. A flight to one of the Loyalty Islands takes around 40 minutes or to the Isle of Pines is about 20 minutes. It is well worth getting off the mainland and the islands offer quite a different cultural experience so if you have the time and budget check out flight availability and prices .

In New Caledonia there are intercity buses operated by Rai which run reasonably frequently between the major towns. Tickets cost between €5-20 depending on the distance and can be purchased from the bus station in Noumea city centre. For timetables and prices check out their website .

The buses are large, comfortable and air conditioned. They aren’t often used by travellers so there aren’t many reviews of the service and punctuality but if you are travelling in New Caledonia on a budget they can be a great way to get around and see a bit more of the country.

Ferries and Water taxis

Privat water taxis can bring you to any of the islands around Noumea which is one of the best things to do in New Caledonia.

Privat water taxis can bring you to any of the islands around Noumea which is one of the best things to do in New Caledonia.

Being an island, there is of course a variety of water transport options available. If you want to visit one of the islands (which you should) you can get to the outer ones with a ferry or some of the closer ones as a day trip by water taxi from Noumea.

Ferries to the Loyalty Islands take around 4.5 hours and 2.5 hours to the popular Ile des Pins. Ferry tickets are available online here or you can buy them in Noumea. Water taxis can be booked online through Dal Ocean or by contacting any of the other companies via email or facebook. A water taxi to the popular Duck Island is 1000 XPF (€8) or to the much nicer Laregnere or Signal islands takes 25 minutes and costs 4000 XPF (€32.50)

Accommodation in New Caledonia

New Caledonia literally has accommodation to suit all budgets, ranging from free camping to 5-star luxury hotels and resorts. Accommodation in New Caledonia is definitely on the expensive side and is likely to make up a large portion of your budget. Here is the low-down on each option, a price guide and some recommendations.

Luxury resorts

One of our recommended travel tips for New Caledonia is to spend a couple of days in a fancy resort on your New Caledonia road trip.

One of our recommended travel tips for New Caledonia is to spend a couple of days in a fancy resort on your New Caledonia road trip.

Expect to pay anywhere from €200 a night for an all-inclusive resort. These are mostly centred around Noumea and have varying standards. All will access to great beaches and facilities but expect to be paying top dollar for food and services.  Below are some recommendations for popular resorts in different areas of New Caledonia.

Chateau Royal Beach Resort , Noumea

Sheraton New Caledonia , Bourail

Oure Tera Beach Resort , Ile des Pins

The beaches of new Caledonia is a must do New Caledonia travel tip!

The beaches of new Caledonia is a must do New Caledonia travel tip!

The main hotel chains are in Noumea and sporadically around the rest of the country. If you’re a hotel person make sure you book in advance and pay attention to the reviews. Hotels in New Caledonia can be high in price but low in quality. Most hotels will offer an extensive range of services and activities and if you find a good one this can be a really efficient way of organising your trip.

Casa del Sol Apartments , Noumea – this place has big rooms, a good location and great sunset views.

Refuge de Farino , Farino - A cosy little hideaway featuring bungalows in the forest.

Hotel Tieti , Poindimie - Good value for money right next to an excellent reef for snorkelling.

Beautiful sun set at the waterfront in Noumea is a must see on your New Caledonia trip.

Beautiful sun set at the waterfront in Noumea is a must see on your New Caledonia trip.

Airbnbs are becoming increasingly popular in New Caledonia and you can find lots of serviced accommodation as well as locals renting their homes from as little as €30 a night. Again, these are mainly centred around Noumea but you can find some nice places just outside the city which are perfect for families or if you want to stay longer in one place and have your own cooking facilities (a huge money saver).

If you haven’t used Airbnb before, sign up using this link and you’ll get €25 off your first booking !

Gite or Bungalows

Beautiful accommodation options during your visit to New Caledonia

Beautiful accommodation options during your visit to New Caledonia

This is a great way to get to know a little bit about the local culture and stay somewhere a bit different. In all the towns outside of Noumea you’ll find gite (bungalows) for rent. These are often owned by native Kanak families and sometimes include fare (traditional houses) as well as wooden bungalows.

Oasis de Kiamu , Lifou island

For traditional gite try Gîte de Lya in Yaté.

For a more luxurious bungalow experience head to Les Cases de Plum about 30 minutes out of Noumea. It has four beautiful bungalows, with or without kitchens, centred around a pool in a quiet garden. Great for a romantic getaway!

Camping in new Caledonia is one of our best New Caledonia travel tips.

Camping in new Caledonia is one of our best New Caledonia travel tips.

Camping is one of the best forms of accommodation in New Caledonia. Not only is it very budget friendly (€10-€20 for two people), it also means you can stay in some of the prime locations and enjoy the best of New Caledonian nature and hospitality.

There are a huge variety of campgrounds spread across the island and they range in facilities but most will have showers (usually hot), flushing toilets, a place to BBQ and electricity. The biggest issue can be camping gear, if you can bring your own then this will be a huge money saver, if not you’ll find places in Noumea which will rent it to you for your stay.

You can also camp on many of the smaller islands for free but don’t expect many facilities besides toilets. In the off season some campgrounds are closed or unattended, there are often numbers to call but don’t expect an answer. Locals told us we could pitch a tent there anyway so we went ahead with no problems.

You can read our full guide to camping in New Caledonia soon. In the meantime, find our favourite campground here !

Food in New Caledonia

This was both one of our favourite and least favourite parts of travelling New Caledonia. The French influence means there is an abundance of bakeries supplying freshly baked croissants and baguettes. The quality of these significantly decreases the further you get from Noumea but it’s still a huge novelty on a Pacific Island. They’re also really affordable at €1-2 for a croissant or baguette from most bakeries, some offering a larger variety of baked goods. Cheese is also readily available, affordable and makes the perfect accompaniment to a baguette for picnic lunch.

Trying all the different varieties of cheese is one of the best things to do in New Caledonia.

Trying all the different varieties of cheese is one of the best things to do in New Caledonia.

Supermarkets and convenience stores in Noumea sell a wide range of food (mostly imported from France) and it can be a much more economical to buy food and cook. We found Carrefour and Simply supermarkets to have the best range of food and although fresh veggies were hard to come by they had at least some options for getting those much needed nutrients.

Restaurants on the other hand are like hotels – the prices don’t always reflect quality and with such high costs you don’t want to make a bad choice. Most accommodation will have some kind of restaurant attached but outside of Noumea there are not many good restaurants. A meal in a restaurant will cost anything from €20-50 with the price not necessarily indicative of the quality. There are often lunch specials which can be a good way to save some money and still have a decent meal. Some reputable restaurants in Noumea are:

Le Rocher – Amazing sweet and savory crepes set on a balcony overlooking the ocean. One of the more affordable restaurant options.

O’Pecheur - Recommended for good seafood.

What to pack

When preparing for your trip to New Caledonia make sure you pack light if you are planning on flying to the islands. The local airlines sometimes have strict luggage allowances so make sure you check these before packing your full wardrobe! If you need some help check out these minimalist packing tips .

Don’t forget your camera and sun heat for your trip to New Caledonia!

Don’t forget your camera and sun heat for your trip to New Caledonia!

Mosquito spray – New Caledonia has both Dengue and Zika virus so you should avoid mosquito bites at all costs. Make sure your repellent has at least 20% DEET and apply regularly. We used Bushmans which is made in Australia and specifically for stopping mosquitoes and ticks.

Reef safe sunscreen – Let’s face it, you’re going to be in the sum and in the sea if you’re travelling to New Caledonia. Make sure your sunscreen is reef safe to protect the amazing coral in the area. Try this one .

Reef shoes – Many of the beaches are rocky or have lots of seaweed. If you have a pair of reef shoes they are perfect to throw in for beach days. They are also light and compact so won’t take up much space in your bag.

Rain jacket - New Caledonia is a tropical island and it can be prone to changeable weather and downpours. A fold-up rain jacket like this one is perfect for popping in your bag just in case.

Reusable drink bottle – The tap water is fine to drink so save yourself some money and the earth a few plastic bottles and bring your own reusable one. One with a thermal layer is best for keeping water cool on hot days at the beach. Check out these ones .

Adapter – If you aren’t coming from Europe you’ll need to bring an adapter for your chargers. New Caledonia uses the V2 system the same as Europe. If you travel often consider getting a universal adapter which can save you worrying about getting different ones in different countries.

Sample Itineraries for New Caledonia

In  just a few days you can explore some of the best of New Caledonia from a base in Noumea. Find a nice hotel ( Casa del Sol Apartments or enjoy a bit more luxury at Chateau Royal Beach Resort ) and use your days to head out to the smaller islands by water taxi from Noumea.

Rent a car for a day and head south to Blue River Park where you can hire bikes and cycle over deep red earth, stopping for walks through dense bush. Meet the van in the park and swap your bike for a kayak and cruise along on crystal clear water and back through a sunken forest.

There is plenty to discover in the middle of the island as well, which is one of our best New Caledonia travel tip.

There is plenty to discover in the middle of the island as well, which is one of our best New Caledonia travel tip.

A week is a great time to see a range of the county and also have some relaxed time on the beach. Spend the first few days in and around Noumea (see above) before jumping on a ferry or plane to the Loyalty islands. This is where you can experience the perfect mix of amazing beaches, sea life, Kanak culture and true relaxation.

2 weeks or more

There is plenty to discover in the middle of the island as well, which is one of our best New Caledonia travel tip.

Plan you time in Noumea for the start or end of your trip and get yourself a rental car. Head up the West coast stopping at the Great Fern Park and for snorkelling at Poe Beach. Head across the island to check out the relaxed East coast and stay a night or two in Poindimie or Thio beach.

Make sure to do a loop of the south to see the Blue River Park and take a whale watching tour if you’re there in the right season (July to September). Treat yourself to a comfortable night’s stay at Cases de Plum bungalows before heading back to Noumea.

Your complete guide to independent travel in New Caledonia. Including where to stay in New Caledonia and all the best New Caledonia travel tips! #newcaledonia #pacific #island #pacificisland #traveltipsforeveryone  #pacifictravel #travelguide #trave…

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New caledonia travel tips: 20 tips for a smooth and stress-free trip.

New Caledonia’s beauty made me forget it all, but I have to be honest:  organising a trip to this tropical destination was a lot harder than I expected . Here are some New Caledonia travel tips that will save you from any headaches and frustrating moments! If you’re looking for some shopping tips in New Caledonia, check out this article .

If you’ve been to this island paradise, please share your tips in the comments!

New Caledonia travel tips: Things to know before you go

Planning a trip to New Caledonia? Check out this article about the things to do in New Caledonia for inspiration  and this packing list with tips to ensure you don’t forget anything essential!

Don’t go to New Caledonia on a big cruise boat

isle of pines - cruise boat

That’s a very personal opinion, of course, but I think visiting New Caledonia via a big cruise boat is a waste . I’ve explained it all in this article . But to sum it all up: with hundreds of people crowding the popular spots, you won’t get the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture and have even a glimpse of an authentic, peaceful experience.

Related article:  Big Cruise to New Caledonia? Not for me!

Use your phone to book New Caledonia accommodations and tours

If you choose not to stay at a hotel, booking tours and accommodations in New Caledonia can be a bit of a hassle, especially if you don’t speak French. You may struggle to find current information and book online. You will often need a week or so and a couple of follow-ups to receive a reply to some of your emails… when you do receive a response. It’s part of the laid-back island life!

If you speak French, don’t hesitate to call . That’s how the smaller businesses work on the islands. If you don’t speak French, I highly recommend tip #6. 

Stay flexible when you travel around New Caledonia

Don’t plan too much. Flexibility will save you a lot of trouble during a trip to New Caledonia. It’s not surprising to have your domestic flight time changed only a couple of days before flying. Most of the time, it is due to the weather. From our experience, it was a technical issue. Another time, locals blocked the airport on smaller islands to put pressure on the domestic airline for better deals for locals. It’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance *.

Avoid planning activities on the days when you have to travel from one place to another.

Read this article about how we handled situations when things didn’t go as planned during our New Caledonia trips.  

Remember Noumea has two airports!

Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia, has two airports, and you don’t want to mix them up. Tontouta airport is where you’ll arrive for international flights; it is actually about 45 min away from Noumea by car. Domestic flights to the smaller islands leave from Magenta airport, close to the town centre.

Hire a car… or not!

New Caledonia is not a cheap destination, so hiring a car will greatly impact your budget. You may not need a car for your entire trip, but don’t leave the decision for when you arrive there – especially for the smaller islands. During the peak season, car rentals can get fully booked !

Noumea : If you only have a couple of days to explore the town, it is likely that you won’t need a car. Book a hotel near the Anse Vata or Baie des Citrons , and then you can walk to most tourist attractions. However, if you are a group flying from Tontouta, transfers can quickly get expensive (3,000 XPF per person or 10,000 XPF for a private car) so you may want to save this and rent a car. If you have more time in Noumea, I would recommend a vehicle to wander out of the town, where the most beautiful things are.

Related article:  Noumea, the Capital of the world’s largest lagoon

Grande Terre:  You won’t be able to explore the main island without a car.

Isle of Pines: We did not need a car for our short stay. All the activities we did included a transfer from the hotel. If you stay in Kanumera or Kuto, you can walk to different restaurants. If you stay a bit longer and want to experience more than the usual tourist attractions, a car is needed.

Lifou:  Lifou is a big island. In my opinion, you cannot visit Lifou without a car.

Ouvea:  Even if Ouvea is not a big island, it is very long. Many tours leave from the Lekini campsite, so you may choose not to get a car if you stay there or at the nearby resort. Otherwise, I highly recommend booking one, especially as the north of the island is a lovely place to explore.

From our experience, I wouldn’t recommend driving by night in New Caledonia, especially if you are there during the festive period. We have seen a couple of accidents and heard many bad stories.

New Caledonia Things To Do - South of Grande Terre

Consider using a travel agent

If you stay away from resorts, the booking system in New Caledonia has room for improvement. You may have to call several times to get the right person to talk to, and find out that the information you read on a website wasn’t accurate or that they are full. When you place a booking, it is often all over the phone, and you don’t get a written confirmation.

I had some fun surprises with people who were not that professional. One took my booking without asking for the dates. Another one said she took note of my booking, but I had to get there early or they would give it to someone else. Although you’d have to pay a fee, you may want to save time and reduce your worries by asking a travel agent to help. That’s what we did for our accommodation on Lifou and Ouvea. We felt it was safer to have a written receipt and someone to talk to if we had an issue with the booking. We were a group of six, so finding a Plan B at the last minute would have been challenging.

It was stressful during the trip, but we mostly had good surprises once in the archipelago. The only issue we actually had was with our car rental on Ouvea Island. We specifically asked to hire a vehicle for six people and were told it was possible. Unfortunately, the travel agent couldn’t book our car rental on Ouvea, so we had no written confirmation. A beautiful car was waiting for us at the airport when we arrived, but it was for five people only. Well, they said the boot was big enough for the sixth person! 

Choose the right season to visit New Caledonia

new caledonia - isle of pines moro - christmas

We travelled to New Caledonia from Christmas to the beginning of the year. I had to take compulsory leave during the festive season, so our dates weren’t flexible. You will have a better experience if you avoid the Christmas holiday season.

Locals are on vacation at that time too. Families come together, so people are less available for tourists. Some tours are not running at all. You have less choice available for accommodation. Between the bank holidays and the weekends, many things like car rentals or internal flights are harder to plan.

Also, the beginning of the year is cyclone season. It doesn’t mean you should not go at that time: we were lucky and hardly had rain during our two-week trip. But there is a risk with the weather whereas the rest of the year is mostly sunny.

You may want to check the marine life season too. For example, manta rays were mating during our stay so we could not go to their cleaning station to swim with them. It wasn’t a big deal for us as we are lucky to have manta rays coming close to Brisbane . But it is always a pleasant experience, and it could become a highlight if you plan to see them.

new caledonia - ouvea - rain and sunset

Inform your bank about your trip to New Caledonia

This tip is valid for any foreign destination you go to, but it won’t hurt to put it here as a reminder. You’ll be in trouble if you cannot withdraw cash because you set a daily limit on your bank account. Half of our group had issues at the ATM and could only withdraw a small amount of cash! How inconvenient!

Don’t stay for too long in Noumea

That’s a personal point of view, but Noumea is probably the worst place we visited in New Caledonia. Don’t get me wrong; Noumea is great, and I will happily go back. It’s just that the rest of New Caledonia is a lot more stunning. So if you have more than a couple of days in New Caledonia: escape from the town!   Related article:  Noumea, the Capital of the world’s largest lagoon

New Caledonia Things to do - Noumea

Manage your expectations

We met lovely people who were happy to see us and had a fabulous trip. And I’m glad we managed our expectations regarding the level of service we would get during this voyage. People from New Caledonia are very friendly, but it is quickly obvious that they are not always well-trained in tourism and hospitality. It’s not a destination built with tourism in mind like some other Pacific Island. That’s part of the charm! 

A few extra travel tips to make your trip to New Caledonia cheaper

Avoid hotels.

Hotels are very expensive in New Caledonia, and they’re the most straightforward accommodation option for visitors who don’t speak French at all.

But check out this great alternative for those with a smaller budget and looking for a more authentic experience: you can stay “with” locals. What you get when you stay with locals seems random. I advise you to read some reviews on TripAdvisor to know what to expect – although our experience was every time a lot better than many reviews we read.

If you are a group, staying in a “ case ” is a good deal. Most of the time, you pay a fixed amount for the “case” for two people, and then the price to add extra people is a lot cheaper. Twice, we got a “case” for the six of us!

Except in Noumea, you won’t find many AirBNB rentals. If you are happy to carry around your tent and linen, camping is the cheapest option for accommodation.

Lilo reve - lifou - accueil en tribu

Consider using Le Pass

If you want to fly to the different islands, Air Caledonie Pass could save you a bit of money. It allows you to get four flights for around 30,000 XPF. Destinations covered from and to Noumea are Ouvéa, Maré, Lifou, Isle of Pines, Koné and Touho. You’ll need to contact [email protected] to organise Le Pass for you. The special tariff is not available for every flight so you will need to tell them the destinations and dates you would like to fly, and they will offer the best match they can.

I recommend checking the prices with their online booking system before signing for Le Pass: if you manage to book a promo fare, you could even get a better deal than Le Pass! 

This way, you’ll have room to bring food with you from Noumea to avoid restaurants on the islands, if you do want to save money that way. Tourism brings significant revenue to the people living on the island, so I recommend playing the game of spending money there. But it can rapidly become expensive to pay for three meals a day. Sometimes, I had my own food for breakfasts as I found them really pricey and generally of low quality, whereas I could be very happy with the French biscuits that I usually miss so much.

Also, as luggage weight is limited when you have Pass tickets with the local airlines, it makes it easier to travel with limited luggage. Check out this packing list for New Caledonia ; I’m sure you’ll find helpful tips there.

Take your snorkelling set

new caledonia snorkel mask

There are places where you can hire a snorkelling set, but that’s not everywhere. It is way better to carry your snorkelling equipment to enjoy what the world’s largest lagoon can offer fully. We did not bring fins because it is bulky and not needed too much in the lagoons. But we brought our masks and snorkels.

If you need to buy equipment in New Caledonia, I recommend going to Decathlon in Noumea.

New to snorkelling? You could be interested in this full-face mask * that allows you to breathe more naturally (with the nose) and gives more side vision than the smaller masks. Click here to find out more * or check out these tips about choosing the best snorkel gear .

New Caledonia travel tips once you’ve arrived

Get a mobilis.

That’s how they call the sim card to have a local mobile phone number. It can be bought at the Post Office or at a cell phone store. You will often need a mobile phone to confirm the activities, the hotel bookings, to check the flight times and to book the restaurants. This will be less true if you book your trip with the help of an agency, but you would still want the agency to be able to update you if your flight time has changed…!

Don’t forget sunscreen and clothes to cover yourself

The sun in New Caledonia is extreme. You can get burnt in a few minutes if you don’t wear sun protection. This can ruin your holidays, so don’t take any risks and wear sunscreen! Be careful to have enough sunscreen to cover your stay on the islands. It is a rare gem on the islands, but it is easy to buy in Noumea!

Responsible travel tip : Did you know that your sunscreen could harm the fragile ecosystem of the coral reef? It’s essential to be mindful of what you’re applying to your skin when snorkelling or swimming near the reef. The best way to protect your skin from the sun is to cover up with long sleeves and pants. If you must use sunscreen, choose a mineral-based one to avoid harmful substances (see the full list here ). Mineral ingredients are less harmful to the environment and provide excellent protection. Apply the sunscreen at least 20 minutes before entering the water to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Talk to local people

If you speak French or are lucky to find locals who speak English, have a go and talk to them. Most of the local people we met were very open to speaking about their culture and their environment. We learnt a lot from them, from a cultural point of view and also got excellent travel tips.

Ask when the cruise will be there

Isle of Pines - Piscine Naturelle

The locals usually know when a cruise will be there. Try to plan your visits around that: some places not too far from where the boat stays will be crowded. You will have a better time further away, by picking a destination that requires a car, for example.   Related article:  Big cruise to New Caledonia? Not for me!  

Travel with cash

You will need to pay in cash for most of the guided activities. If you choose to avoid hotels and stay with locals without using a travel agency, you’ll need to pay by cash here as well. Some restaurants only accept cash. You may even have to pay your dives in cash on some islands. We had no issues with the ATM on the islands, but we were told while preparing for the trip that they can sometimes be empty. So don’t take any risks and travel with cash to cover most of your expenses.

Try the local specialities… but don’t forget to book a table!

New Caledonia - Isle of Pines - snails

New Caledonia has a strong island culture which is fantastic to discover. Add some French notes, and you won’t be disappointed with the local dishes.

Don’t be afraid to eat at the small local “restaurants”.  You will often need to book in advance for restaurants on the islands, outside of Noumea. Sometimes, you will not have a choice with a menu: they serve you what they have today. Sometimes, you will have to let them know what you want to eat in advance. And some places are expensive for what you actually get. But overall, we had great experiences eating in New Caledonia, and we discovered new savours! 

Where is New Caledonia?

New Caledonia is a French archipelago in the South Pacific , located near Vanuatu . It is the closest foreign destination from the East Coast of Australia .

What are your New Caledonia travel tips? Leave a comment below!

Check out more things to do:, this post has 8 comments.

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It’s always a good idea to pack your own mask and snorkel if going to the tropics. Some places you can pick up germs from the snorkel. Advice from our local dive shop who have talked to people coming back after trips.

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That’s a very good advice indeed! Thank you for sharing, Carolyn!

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What a great article! I couldn’t agree more with all that you have advised (I’m New Caledonian). Especially true is the fact that there is no mass tourism in New Caledonia – an advantage and drawback all at once. Alexandra @mynewcaledonia

Thank you for your sweet words, Alexandra!

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Hi, I just found your article and I must say that you gave pretty amazing and very accurate tips to travel in New Caledonia. Also I’m a local and I thank you for encouraging travellers to talk to people and to explore more than just Nouméa. I might just add one thing, shops close early. When you leave the city it becomes even more complicated as there are less grocery shops and some of them even close during lunch break.

Thank you very much Meriba for taking the time to leave feedback and an additional tip. It’s indeed very good to mention the shops close early. And also that most supermarkets don’t open on Sundays! I was used to this in France but now that I’m in Australia, I lost the habit and I got surprised! 😛

' src=

Thank you guys. I have been to Noumea on a cruise ship and loved it. I would go back in a heart beat especially now that I have seen your blog.

' src=

Fantastic and so true I am trying to book a ferry from noumea to Oro bay it’s a nightmare I am so stressed

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New Caledonia

Latest update.

Exercise normal safety precautions in New Caledonia.

New Caledonia Map

New Caledonia (PDF 527.23 KB)

Pacific (PDF 1.22 MB)

Local emergency contacts

Fire and rescue services, medical emergencies.

Call 15 or go directly to the medical centre or hospital.

Call 17 or contact the nearest police station or gendarmerie.

Maritime emergencies

Call 16 or radio on VHF 16 – Inmarsat – MMSI.

Advice levels

  • Shark nets have been installed at sections of the Baie des Citrons and Chateau Royal-Meridien beaches to facilitate swimming and beach activities. Watersports and swimming outside of these areas are permitted on an 'own risk' basis. Follow the advice and instructions of local authorities at all times.
  • Politically-motivated protests and civil unrest may occur. Strikes and industrial disputes can disrupt essential services, including transport links. Avoid large public gatherings and roadblocks. Roadside security incidents are rare but can occur without warning. 
  • Serious crime is rare in New Caledonia, but car theft, vehicle break-ins and household break-and-enters occur. Look after your belongings and always lock your car and accommodation.
  • Cyclone season is from November to May, but cyclones and severe weather can occur at any time. They can cause landslides and flooding and may disrupt essential services. Ensure you understand  New Caledonia's cyclone alert system  (in French).
  • New Caledonia can experience earthquakes, tsunamis and bushfires. A tsunami can arrive within minutes of a tremor or earthquake. Monitor the websites of the  New Caledonian Department of Emergency Management  (in French with safety instructions in English for cyclone alert levels) and the  New Caledonian Weather Bureau  (in French) for updates. Your tour operator or accommodation provider may also be able to provide advice

Full travel advice:  Safety

  • Insect-borne diseases such as  Dengue ,  Chikungunya  and  Zika  are risks in New Caledonia. ​Ensure your accommodation is insect-proof, and use insect repellent. If you're pregnant, discuss the risks of Zika virus with your doctor before you travel. 
  • Outbreaks of leptospirosis are common, especially after heavy rain. Wear closed-in shoes. Avoid swimming in rivers or muddy water. Store food in enclosed containers and use a straw when drinking from cans.
  • Other foodborne, waterborne, parasitic and infectious diseases occur. These include influenza, scabies and conjunctivitis. Get treatment if you have itchiness or skin lesions. In rural areas, drink boiled or bottled water. Tap water is generally safe to drink in towns.
  • The standard of medical facilities in Noumea is high, but those in outlying areas are basic. Medical treatment is expensive. Search and rescue facilities are limited. Some parts of New Caledonia don't have mobile phone coverage. Ensure your travel insurance covers all your medical conditions and medical evacuation.

Full travel advice:  Health

  • Understand the local laws. New Caledonia is an overseas territory of France. A mix of French and local laws apply. You must always have photo identification with you. 
  • Same-sex marriage is legal, but same-sex relationships aren't widely accepted outside of Noumea.
  • Outside of tourist areas, standards of dress and behaviour are conservative. Dress and behave appropriately.
  • You need permission from customary authorities to visit certain areas. If in doubt, follow local advice.

Full travel advice:  Local laws

  • You likely won't need a visa for a tourist visit of up to 3 months. However, the total length of your stay must not exceed a total of 90 days over a period of 180 days (6 months). Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact  the Consulate-General of France in Sydney or the Embassy of France in Canberra  for the latest details.
  • International passenger flights to and from New Caledonia may be suspended with little or no warning.
  • Travel Insurance is mandatory for entry to New Caledonia.
  • Entry protocols apply to private sailboats and cruise ships visiting New Caledonia. All immigration procedures have to be completed in Noumea, with some approvals required prior to arrival.

Full travel advice:  Travel

Local contacts

  • The  Consular Services Charter  details what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
  • For consular assistance, contact the  Australian Consulate-General in Noumea .

Full travel advice:  Local contacts

Full advice

Civil unrest and political tension, demonstrations and protests.

There's a possibility of politically motivated protests and civil unrest. Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.

To protect yourself during periods of unrest:

  • avoid demonstrations, public gatherings and roadblocks
  • monitor the media and other sources for potential unrest
  • follow the advice of local authorities

Strikes and industrial disputes can also lead to social unrest. They may disrupt essential services, including:

  • local transport
  • domestic flights
  • international flights

If there's a strike:

  • check on your flights before going to the airport
  • ask your tour operator if it affects tourist services
  • follow the instructions of local authorities

More information:

  • Demonstrations and civil unrest

Swimming safety

Several shark attacks occurred in 2023. A fatal attack claimed the life of an Australian tourist in February at Chateau Royal Beach, following two similar attacks at the same beach in January and February, which resulted in life-threatening injuries.

Local authorities have installed a shark net at the Baie des Citrons beach, which is now open to swimming and beach activities. Baie des Citrons is patrolled daily by lifeguards from 8.45am to 5pm from December to April and from 8.45am to 4pm from May to November.

Chateau Royal-Meridien has been equipped with a temporary shark net and is open to swimming and beach activities only during lifeguard surveillance hours, from 8.45am to 5pm until the end of March, when a permanent shark net will be installed.

Waterports and swimming outside of these areas are permitted on an 'own risk' basis.

Information on swimming and other water activities can be found on the  Noumea Town Hall Website  (in French). More information on the risk of sharks in New Caledonia is available on the  New Caledonia Tourism Website  (in English). 

Beaches in New Caledonia may be closed at short notice due to bad weather, shark sightings or during shark-catching campaigns.

Shark mitigation measures, including shark nets, are currently used only on sections of Baie des Citrons and Chateau Royal-Meridien beaches. Beach evacuation procedures in New Caledonia may be less developed than those in Australia.

Be alert to warning signs and follow the advice of local authorities at all times. A red flag with a shark logo means beaches have been closed due to a shark sighting or shark-related incident. 

The  New Caledonia Tourism website  advises visitors to:

  • avoid areas where it is risky to swim, including ports, boat moorings, marinas, murky waters near drainage outlets or river mouths, and the Nouville Peninsula area in Noumea
  • avoid swimming after periods of heavy rain or other weather events that agitate the water
  • avoid swimming at dawn and dusk
  • swim close to shore
  • only swim at patrolled beaches that use a flag system. 

Patrolled beaches use the following flag system:

  • Green flag: supervised swimming and no particular danger
  • Orange flag: supervised swimming but dangerous conditions
  • Red flag: swimming is prohibited
  • A red flag with a shark logo: the beach has been closed due to a shark sighting or shark-related incident.

More Information:

  • Water sports and activitie s

Tours and adventure activities

Transport and tour operators don't always follow safety and maintenance standards. This includes adventure activities, such as scuba diving.

If you plan to do a tour or  adventure activity :

  • check if your travel insurance policy covers it
  • ask about and insist on minimum safety requirements
  • always use available safety gear, such as life jackets or seatbelts

If proper safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.

Roadside security incidents can occur suddenly but are uncommon. Dangerous incidents include:

  • stone-throwing

Major routes have been affected, including:

  • the RP1 road to the south-east, between Noumea and Mont-Dore
  • the highway north from Noumea to Tontouta International Airport

Local authorities can close major roads without warning.

Petty crime

Serious crime is rare. Petty crime and theft can occur.

Car theft, vehicle break-ins and household break-and-enters occur.

Drink spiking can happen. If you're drugged, you'll be more vulnerable to theft and  assault .

To protect yourself from petty crime:

  • look after your belongings when you're in public
  • lock your car, hide your belongings and keep windows up
  • don't leave food or drinks unattended
  • never accept drinks, food, gum or cigarettes from strangers or new friends
  • Partying safely

Cyber security 

You may be at risk of cyber-based threats during overseas travel to any country. Digital identity theft is a growing concern. Your devices and personal data can be compromised, especially if you're connecting to Wi-Fi, using or connecting to shared or public computers, or to Bluetooth. 

Social media can also be risky in destinations where there are social or political tensions or laws that may seem unreasonable by Australian standards. Travellers have been arrested for things they have said on social media. Don't comment on local or political events on your social media. 

More information:  

  • Cyber security when travelling overseas  

Terrorism is a threat worldwide.

Climate and natural disasters

New Caledonia experiences  natural disasters  and  severe weather , such as:

  • earthquakes  and  tsunamis [DG1]   [SD2]  

The  New Caledonian Department of Emergency Management (Sécurité Civile – DSCGR)  (in French) responds to natural disasters and severe weather. Safety instructions are available in English for cyclone alert levels. 

A free crisis hotline is activated if there's a natural disaster or emergency. The emergency hotline is +687 05 05 05 (French). Your tour operator or accommodation provider may also provide timely advice.

To protect yourself if a natural disaster occurs:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location
  • monitor local media and other sources
  • keep in contact with friends and family

Get weather reports and disaster updates:

  • Météo France Nouvelle-Calédonie  (in French)
  • Fiji Meteorological Service
  • Australian Bureau of Meteorology
  • Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • Joint Typhoon Warning Center, US Navy

Follow the advice on st aying safe when there's a natural disaster .

If you're travelling during cyclone season or after a natural disaster, contact your airline or tour operator to check if services are affected.

Cyclones and severe weather

Cyclone season is from November to May, but cyclones and severe weather can occur at other times.

The direction and strength of cyclones can change suddenly.

Cyclones and severe weather can bring:

  • flooding waves on shore areas
  • flooding and landslides
  • disruptions to infrastructure and essential services

If there's a cyclone or severe tropical storm:

  • you may get stuck in the area
  • flights could be delayed or suspended
  • available flights may fill quickly
  • access to seaports could also be affected
  • adequate shelter may not be available

New Caledonia has a 4-phase cyclone alert system:

1. PRE-ALERT: potential cyclone activity in the weather observation zone of New Caledonia — follow weather forecasts and bulletins ( Emergency Management New Caledonia - Pre-Alert instructions in English )

2. ALERT 1: a cyclone is approaching and may reach New Caledonia in the next 18 hours — prepare for a cyclone ( Emergency Management New Caledonia - Alert 1 instructions in English )

3. ALERT 2: a cyclone will hit New Caledonia in less than 6 hours — protect yourself and stay indoors ( Emergency Management New Caledonia – Alert 2 instructions in English ) 

4. SAFEGUARD PHASE: a cyclone is moving away — remain alert ( Emergency Management New Caledonia – Safeguard Phase instructions in English ) 

If a cyclone is approaching:

  • know the evacuation plan for your hotel or cruise ship
  • identify your local shelter
  • monitor  New Caledonian Department of Emergency Management (Sécurité Civile - DSCGR)  (in French) with safety instructions in English for cyclone alert levels
  • monitor  Météo France Nouvelle-Calédonie  (in French) for  cyclone updates
  • monitor local radio

Once the SAFEGUARD PHASE is announced:

  • take care leaving your shelter
  • look out for debris
  • avoid fallen electrical wires

Flooding and mudslides

Heavy rains can cause flooding and mudslides. These can lead to:

  • deaths and injuries
  • destruction of property
  • evacuations

Earthquakes and tsunamis

New Caledonia occasionally experiences  earthquakes  and  tsunamis .

Tsunamis can happen within minutes of a nearby tremor or earthquake.

Ask your tour operator, host or accommodation provider about local procedures and what to do during an earthquake.

Tsunami risks are higher:

  • in the East Coast
  • in the Loyalty Islands
  • in the Isle of Pines

To prepare yourself for earthquakes and tsunamis, you can:

  • subscribe to tsunami alerts from the  Global Disaster Alert and Coordination system
  • get earthquake updates from the  US Geological Service
  • get tsunami updates from the  US Tsunami Warning Center

If there's an earthquake or tsunami:

  • monitor tsunami updates
  • move to higher ground if you're in a coastal or low-lying area

If you're near the coast, move immediately to high ground if advised by local authorities or if you:

  • feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up
  • feel a weak, rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more
  • see a sudden rise or fall in sea level
  • hear loud and unusual noises from the sea

Don't wait for official warnings such as alarms or sirens.

Once on high ground, monitor local media.

After an earthquake:

  • expect aftershocks
  • be prepared for delays and changes to your travel plans
  • ask your travel agent and tour operators to confirm travel services and accommodation bookings
  • New Caledonian Department of Emergency Management (Sécurité Civile – DSCGR) Earthquake information  (in French)
  • New Caledonian IRD (French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development) seismological network  (in English)
  • New Caledonian Department of Emergency Management (Sécurité Civile – DSCGR) Tsunami information  (in French)

New Caledonia can experience  bushfires .

Bushfires usually occur from September to February. They can occur in other months.

To protect yourself from bushfires:

  • look and listen out for bushfire warnings
  • New Caledonian Department of Emergency Management (Sécurité Civile - DSCGR) Bushfire information  (in French)

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is mandatory for entry to New Caledonia and must cover all medical and hospitalisation expenses and repatriation costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.

You may need to present your travel insurance certificate when departing for and arriving in New Caledonia.

Medical costs are high. For example:

  • an intensive care bed could cost more than $A5,500 per day
  • ambulance transfers can cost over $A1,250
  • a helicopter evacuation within New Caledonia costs over $A6,500

Get comprehensive  travel insurance  tailored to your mode of transport (e.g. cruise ship) and region of travel before you leave. Ensure your travel or medical insurance covers you for existing conditions and medical evacuation.

If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.

If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care and more for your return to Australia with medical assistance.

  • what activities and care your policy covers
  • that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away

Cruise ship evacuations

Australians have been evacuated, including from cruise ships, to hospitals in Noumea. Some insurance claims have been refused, often due to pre-existing conditions. Many international  cruises  stopover in New Caledonia. To reduce your risks if you plan to travel on a cruise ship:

  • check the onboard medical facilities are suitable
  • understand the costs of onboard medical treatment
  • French High Commission in New Caledonia  (in French)
  • New Caledonia Tourism , including  visas and entry requirements  (in English) 

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

See your doctor or travel clinic to:

  • have a basic health check-up
  • ask if your travel plans may affect your health
  • plan any vaccinations you need

Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.

If you have immediate concerns for your welfare or the welfare of another Australian, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or contact your  nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate  to discuss counselling hotlines and services available in your location.

  • General health advice
  • Healthy holiday tips  (Healthdirect Australia)

Medications

Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

If you plan to bring medication, check with relevant authorities if it's legal in New Caledonia. Take enough legal medication for your trip.

Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:

  • what the medication is
  • Your required dosage
  • that it's for personal use
  • Consulate-General of France in Sydney  including information on customs and  medicine for personal use
  • French Customs Directorate in New Caledonia  with  information for travellers , including  authorised goods  and customs regulations applicable to  private yachts  (all in French)

Health risks

Insect-borne diseases.

Insect-borne diseases such as  Dengue ,  Chikungunya  and  Zika  are a risk in New Caledonia, especially in the warmer and wetter months.

If you're pregnant, the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care recommends you:

  • discuss travel plans with your doctor
  • consider deferring non-essential travel to Zika-affected areas

To protect yourself from disease:​ ​

  • make sure your accommodation is insect-proof
  • use insect repellent
  • wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing

Get medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, a rash, diarrhoea or a severe headache.

  • Health Department of New Caledonia (Direction des Affaires Sanitaires et Sociales - DASSNC)  (in French)
  • DASSNC disease-specific information and reporting procedures , including  DASSNC Health Diseases  (in French)
  • Infectious diseases

Leptospirosis

Small outbreaks of  leptospirosis  are common. More serious outbreaks can happen after heavy rainfall.

To protect yourself against leptospirosis:

  • wear closed-in shoes
  • avoid swimming in rivers or muddy water
  • store food in enclosed containers
  • don't drink straight from cans — use a straw
  • remove rubbish from around your home

Other health risks

Waterborne, foodborne, parasitic and other infectious diseases occur. These include: 

  • conjunctivitis
  • COVID-19  (Australian Department of Health and Aged Care)
  • Actualité COVID-19 | Gouvernement de la Nouvelle-Calédonie  (in French)

It's generally safe to drink tap water in towns.

To protect yourself from illness:

  • drink boiled water or bottled water with sealed lids in rural areas
  • attend to symptoms, such as itchiness and skin wounds
  • avoid raw and undercooked food, such as salads
  • Health Department of New Caledonia (Direction des Affaires Sanitaires et Sociales – DASSNC)  (in French)
  • Infectious diseases  

Medical care

Medical facilities.

The standard of medical facilities in New Caledonia is high. However, search and rescue facilities are limited. The difficult terrain limits quick access.

Mobile phone coverage may be limited in some parts of the main island. Mobile network coverage is available on the  New Caledonian Postal and Telecommunications Directorate  (OPTNC).

In the Southern Province:

  • CHT (Centre Hospitalier Territorial) Gaston Bourret  (in French) is the main public facility at the Koutio Medipole in Dumbea, and their emergency ward is open 24/7.
  • Clinique Kuindo-Magnin  (in French and  English ) is the main private facility in the suburb of Nouville in Noumea, and their emergency ward is open daily from 7am to 11pm.

In the Northern Province, the main public hospitals are:

  • Koumac (Hôpital Paula-Thavoavianon)  – Emergency, general medical and mid-wife services.
  • Poindimié (Hôpital Raymond Doui-Nebayes)  – General, physical and rehabilitation, continuing care services.
  • Koné (Pôle Sanitaire du Nord)  – Emergency, general medical, surgery, anaesthesia, maternity, operations, day-care and continuing care services.

The only decompression chamber is in Noumea ( SCADEM - Travaux sous-marin Nouvelle-Calédonie  (in French)).

Many popular dive sites are on other islands. If there's an accident, it may take several hours to reach medical facilities.

Medical costs are high. Make sure your insurance covers medical evacuation and your planned activities.

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our  Consular Services Charter . But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

New Caledonia is an overseas territory of France. A mix of French and local laws apply.

  • Travel advice for France

Penalties for drug offences, even small amounts, include fines and imprisonment. 

  • Carrying or using drugs

Proof of identity

You must always carry ID.

LGBTI information

Under French law, same-sex marriage is legal in New Caledonia.

However, outside Noumea, you may encounter more conservative attitudes.

  • Advice for LGBTI travellers

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.

  • Staying within the law and respecting customs

Dual citizenship

France recognises dual citizenship.

  • Dual nationals

Local customs

Outside of tourist areas, dress and behaviour standards are conservative. Take care not to offend.

Visits to certain areas, including popular fishing and maritime areas, may require prior authorisation from the relevant customary authorities.  This is carried out through engaging in a 'coutume' (customary acknowledgement gesture). 

  • North Province Tourism Group, Custom  (in French)
  • New Caledonia Tourism – Traditions, Customs and Etiquette  (in English)

Visas and border measures

Every country or territory decides who can enter or leave through its borders. For specific information about the evidence you'll need to enter a foreign destination, check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering. 

You likely won't need a visa for a tourist visit of up to 3 months. However, the total length of your stay must not exceed a total of 90 days over a period of 180 days (6 months). 

You may need to show proof of:

  • sufficient money for your stay
  • return or onward travel ticket
  • adequate travel or health insurance covering medical and hospitalisation expenses as well as any repatriation costs, including medical evacuation
  • the purpose of your visit

In other situations, you'll need a visa issued by the  French representations in your country of residence  and, subject to your circumstances, a work permit issued by the Government of New Caledonia.

New Caledonia is an overseas territory of France.

Contact  the Consulate-General of France in Sydney or the Embassy of France in Canberra  for up-to-date information on visa requirements. 

Border measures

Check with your airline or travel provider on minors' travel regulations, including those travelling unaccompanied.

Entry protocols apply to private sailboats and cruise ships visiting New Caledonia. All immigration procedures must be completed in Noumea, with some approvals required before arrival. Contact your airline, cruise line, local port agent or tour operator for the latest updates. 

  • French High Commission in New Caledonia  with entry conditions to New Caledonia by foreign nationals (in French).

Other formalities

Some goods aren't allowed in New Caledonia.  Other goods require specific approvals or other formalities.

  • New Caledonian Department for Animal, Food and Rural Affairs  (Direction des Affaires Vétérinaires, Alimentaires et Rurales – DAVAR) including  Information for travellers  (both in French) and a  list of products not requiring import permit or biosecurity-sanitary certificates  (in English).
  • Customs Directorate in New Caledonia , including information for travellers  arriving by air  or on  private yacht  (all in French)

Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.

Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.

You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.

The Australian Government does not set these rules.   Check your passport's expiry date before you travel with the  French authorities in Australia . If you're not sure it'll be valid for the required period, consider getting  a new passport . 

Lost or stolen passport

Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.

Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.

If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible.

  • In Australia, contact the  Australian Passport Information Service .
  • If you're overseas, contact the nearest  Australian embassy or consulate .

Passport with ‘X’ gender identifier 

Although Australian passports comply with international standards for sex and gender, we can’t guarantee that a passport showing 'X' in the sex field will be accepted for entry or transit by another country. Contact the nearest  embassy, high commission or consulate of your destination  before you arrive at the border to confirm if authorities will accept passports with 'X' gender markers. 

LGBTI travellers  

The local currency is the Pacific Franc (XPF).

Declare all amounts over 10,000 euros (or equivalent) on arrival and departure. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.

Australian dollars are accepted by some businesses.

Change Australian dollars for XPF at banks and authorised exchange bureaus.

There are ATMs and credit card facilities in Noumea and other major centres.

Take enough cash if you're travelling to remote areas.

  • New Caledonia Currency | New Caledonia Tourism & Travel  (in English)

Local travel

New Caledonia Tourism  provides information on getting around New Caledonia by road, air and sea.

Travel disruptions

Industrial and political disputes, as well as strikes, can cause disruptions to essential services, including transport links. Monitor the media and follow the advice of local authorities (see  Safety ).

Road travel

You can drive in New Caledonia on a valid Australian driver's licence for up to one year after arrival.

To find out about driver's licences and driving regulations:

  • Visit the  New Caledonian Department of Infrastructure and Land Transport , including information on  foreign licences  (in French)
  • Visit the  New Caledonian Public Service  website, which includes information on alcohol limits.

On the road:

  • drivers may be unlicensed or drunk
  • vehicles may be poorly maintained
  • vehicles may be uninsured

You could encounter:

  • carjackings

These incidents are uncommon but dangerous (see  Safety ).

Leave the area quickly and safely if stones are thrown at your car.

If you plan to drive:

  • check your travel insurance covers it
  • learn local traffic laws and practices
  • keep your car windows up and doors locked
  • don't drink and drive
  • Driving or riding

Motorcycles

Make sure your travel insurance covers you when using a motorbike, quad bike or similar vehicle.

Always wear a helmet.

Hire a taxi from a taxi rank or make a phone booking. Book your taxi in advance. Long delays are common.

In Noumea, taxi rank locations and tariffs are available on the website of the  Southern Province Tourism Office  (in French). The Noumea Central Taxi number +687 28 35 12 is available for bookings 24/7.

You can only hail a taxi from the street in Noumea if it's located more than 100 metres from a taxi rank.

Some taxis only accept cash. Others may accept payment by credit card.

Other municipalities in New Caledonia have taxi services. Check the website of the  relevant city hall (municipality) from the New Caledonian Government website  for further information.

Public transport

Buses operate throughout Grande Terre (the main island). Visit the website of New Caledonia Tourism for information on  public transport services  (in English).

On other islands,  public transport  is limited.

Passenger ferries run from Noumea to:

  • Île des Pins
  • Maré, Lifou and Ouvéa in the Loyalty Islands

Many international  cruises  stopover in New Caledonia. See  Health

  • Travelling by boat

DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.

Check  New Caledonia's air safety profile  with the Aviation Safety Network.

Emergencies

Depending on what you need, you should contact your:

  • family and friends
  • travel agent
  • insurance provider

Call 17 or 1022 or contact the nearest police station or gendarmerie.

Always get a police report when you report a crime.

Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Consular contacts

Read the  Consular Services Charter  for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

For consular assistance, contact the Australian Consulate-General in Noumea.

Australian Consulate-General, Noumea

Norwich Building Level 2 11 rue Georges Baudoux Artillerie, Noumea, New Caledonia

Phone: (+687) 27 24 14 Consular assistance email:  [email protected] Website:  noumea.consulate.gov.au Facebook:  Australia in New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna Twitter:  @AusCGNoumea

The public telephone line (+687 27 24 14) and consular assistance mailbox of the Australian Consulate-General in Noumea ( [email protected] ) are monitored regularly during business hours (Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm, except public holidays).

Outside of office hours, if you require urgent consular assistance, please follow the prompts (or details below) to be connected to the 24/7 Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra.

Check the Consulate-General website for details about opening hours, any temporary closures and other information useful to your circumstances.

24-hour Consular Emergency Centre

In a consular emergency, if you can't contact the Consulate-General, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:

  • +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
  • 1300 555 135 in Australia

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7 Great Day Trips from Nouméa

Have some free time to explore beyond Nouméa? Make the most of your holiday by incorporating some unforgettable day trips from Nouméa into your holiday itinerary. From beautiful islands to captivating regions filled with history and culture, there’s so much to see and experience just a short distance from the New Caledonian capital. Discover five great day trips from Nouméa below.

Amedee Island

How do you get to amedee island.

Ferry services from Nouméa to Amedee Island are available five days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday), with all fares including the return journey back to Nouméa. Only taking around 30 to 40 minutes to reach the island from Nouméa, it’s a great choice for a day out and about.

What is there to do on Amedee Island?

Although Amedee Island may be relatively small in size, there certainly isn’t a shortage of things to see and do across the island. Take advantage of its position within New Caledonia’s famed lagoon with a touch of swimming or snorkelling, or by trying your hand at stand-up paddleboarding. Surrounded by crystal clear waters and pure white sands, it’s the perfect backdrop for a taste of the region’s incredible natural beauty. After drying off, take some time to visit the iconic Amedee Lighthouse or make the most of the opportunity to send a postcard from the world’s smallest post office. Enjoy a delicious buffet meal by the beach and the entertainment provided by the Mary D team, from dancing shows to sarong tying and coconut tree climbing demonstrations.

Blue River Provincial Park

How do you get to blue river provincial park.

If you’re wanting to explore Blue River Provincial Park at your own pace, it may be easier for you to hire a car and make the drive from Nouméa. Coming in at around 1½ hours each way, the trip is the perfect length for a day out. Some tours do operate within the park, allowing you to see some of its best sights, but these do come at a cost.

What is there to do in Blue River Provincial Park?

Founded in 1980, the Blue River Provincial Park covers an incredible 9,000 hectares, meaning that there certainly isn’t a shortage of great ways to spend your time. Set out on a hike through untouched wilderness, take a dip in the river, kayak between the trees of the fascinating drowned forest or enjoy all the thrills of a mountain bike ride. Keep an eye out too for the endangered cagou, a near-flightless bird native to New Caledonia that calls the area home. Home to diverse landscapes that span from striking red earth to lush rainforest and areas of thick scrub, the unique natural beauty of New Caledonia’s most popular park is sure to impress even the most seasoned of travellers.

Isle of Pines

How do you get to the isle of pines.

Flights from Nouméa Magenta Airport to the Isle of Pines are quite regular and take just 30 minutes one way. Ferry services are also available, operating between Nouméa and the Isle of Pines several times a week, with the journey coming in at around 2½ hours each way.

What is there to do on the Isle of Pines?

Said to be one of the closest islands to paradise, one of the Isle of Pines ’ greatest drawcards is certainly its natural beauty. Pure white sands line the islands beaches and bays, clear waters offer the perfect conditions for swimming and snorkelling, and the rich local culture offers an insight into how generations have lived across the archipelago. Be sure to plan a trip to Kuto Bay , Upi Bay or Oro Bay to discover some of New Caledonia’s most beautiful coastal stretches, and definitely keep an eye out for the island’s namesake pines.

Prony Village

How do you get to prony village.

The journey from Nouméa to Prony Village takes just under an hour and 15 minutes each way by car. Hire a car in Nouméa and enjoy the freedom to explore at your own pace.

What is there to do in Prony Village?

Perfect for history buffs and those looking to learn more about New Caledonia’s heritage, a visit to Prony Village offers a unique window into the archipelago’s past. Originally constructed as the site of a convict prison and settlement, the village was first abandoned in 1911 and again in 1968, leaving behind a mix of stone ruins and more recent structures. Wander through the historic site and imagine what life was like in the area over a hundred years ago. Be sure to visit the nearby Prony Bay for great views, diving and the chance to spot whales during their annual migration. If you feel like getting active, the Chemin des Bagnards trail, starting from Kanua Tera Ecolodge at Port Boisé, is a great choice. Covering around 4.5 km in total, the trail winds its way through lush rainforest and across rugged red earth before meeting the water’s edge. The trail can be comfortably completed in around two hours.

How do you get to Bourail?

By car, the journey from Nouméa to Bourail takes around 2 hours one way. Coach services departing from the capital are also available, but the journey does tend to be slightly longer in duration. If you do find that you are short on time, it may be best to hire a car so you can leave plenty of time for your return to Nouméa 

What is there to do in Bourail?

Home to luxe resorts, a rich history and some spectacular scenery, it comes as no surprise that there’s no shortage of great activities to enjoy across Bourail . Tee off at the 18-hole Exclusiv Golf Deva course, soak up the region’s serenity on a hike along the breathtaking Three Bay Trail or see Bourail from a different perspective with a horse riding adventure through the Domaine de Deva nature reserve. Take a dip in the spectacular lagoon, keeping an eye out for turtles, fish, rays and other marine species, laze the day away on the soft white sands that line all 13km of Poé Beach , or get to know more about the area’s heritage with a visit to the Bourail Museum. For a special experience, pay a visit to the World Heritage listed Green Island, a beautiful little island located just a short water-taxi ride from La Roche Percée. Enjoy a spot of snorkelling within the marine reserve, keeping an eye out for the incredible green sea turtles that call the area home.

Mount Koghi

How do you get to mount koghi.

Mount Koghi is located just under 17km from Nouméa and can be reached by car in less than 30 minutes. If you are thinking about exploring the area, hiring a car can give you the freedom to take your time doing so.

What is there to do at Mount Koghi?

Just a short drive from Nouméa, the Mount Koghi area is home to some great walking trails and even better views. Perfect for a warm, sunny day, one trail leads you to a beautiful waterfall at the base of the mountain. Offering a refreshing reward at the end, the trail takes you through lush forest filled with tall trees and ferns, providing some incredible views of the Dumbéa plain along the way. Accessible to the whole family, the trail covers a circuit of 2km. If you’re looking for something a little more challenging, follow the Malaoui Peak trail for some great views of Nouméa and beyond. Covering a total of 6.5km, the trail, which starts from Koghis Inn, is moderately difficult and best suited to those with a good level of physical fitness. If you’re planning to tackle the trail, set aside around 2½ hours to complete the full circuit. Home to some areas of forest that have remained relatively untouched by human activity, be sure to keep an eye out for the diverse birds and animals that call Mount Koghi home.

How do you get to Dumbéa?

Located around 20km from Nouméa, the car ride to Dumbéa takes just under 30 minutes in total. Situated beyond central Nouméa, one of the best ways to explore Dumbéa is by hiring a car and exploring as much or as little as you desire.

What is there to do at Dumbéa?

A little slice of paradise for those who love to step out into the great outdoors and get active, Dumbéa offers plenty of great ways to discover the region’s natural beauty. Head to Fayard Park for swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing or a family picnic along the banks of Dumbéa River. Just a short drive from the archipelago’s capital, you’ll soon discover what makes the park so popular with the residents of Nouméa looking to reconnect with nature. Opened in early 2013, Dumbéa Provincial Park is also very much worth a visit. Plan a scenic hike through the park or pitch a tent for a camping experience you certainly won’t forget any time soon. Established to help protect the natural beauty of New Caledonia, you’ll find everything from native plants and animals to glittering waterways, rock formations and more.

Want to discover more of New Caledonia? Learn more about the archipelago’s World Heritage listed lagoon , incredible natural attractions and more!  

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COMMENTS

  1. The official guide for New Caledonia Tourism

    Nouméa is a modern coastal capital with lots to offer. The islands are picture-postcard perfect with their paradise beaches. The lush East Coast is alive with the Kanak spirit. The West Coast is an opportunity to explore the authentic Wild West inhabited by "bushmen".

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  4. Noumea Travel Guide: Things to Do in Noumea, New Caledonia

    Noumea City Guide: A Brief History Of Noumea, New Caledonia. Noumea, the capital city of New Caledonia, is steeped in a rich history that reflects the diverse influences that have shaped the city. Here is a brief history of Noumea for travelers: The indigenous people of New Caledonia are the Kanak, who have inhabited the region for thousands of ...

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    Facing the sea and lined with inviting beaches and islands, you can practice outdoor sports all year long, not only walking, snorkeling, windsurfing and kitesurfing, but also enjoying a game golf or tennis or, of course, a relaxed ocean swim.

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    When to visit How to get there Where to stay Renting a car You're Going to Love Noumea With 93,060 inhabitants, Noumea is the most populous city in New Caledonia. It is the most popular tourist destination in the country. We recommend you stay at least 4 days in order to fully appreciate everything Noumea has to offer.

  8. Nouméa

    Eat Drink Sleep Go next l'Orphelinat Bay Nouméa is the largest city in and capital of New Caledonia, lying on the main island of Grande Terre. One of the most westernised cities in the Pacific Islands, it features beautiful beaches and colonial mansions and is not yet a heavily touristed destination. Understand

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    01 / Attractions Must-see attractions for your itinerary Place des Cocotiers Noumea This is the heart of the city. The square slopes gently from east to west and at the top is a band rotunda, a famous landmark dating back to the late… Fort Téremba Grande Terre

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    The lookout. Not only are the 360-degree views of Noumea and the Pacific superb, especially at dusk, from the 132-metre Ouen Toro Hill, just up from Le Meridien Noumea Resort & Spa (see below ...

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    New Caledonia has a strong island culture which is fantastic to discover. Add some French notes, and you won't be disappointed with the local dishes. Don't be afraid to eat at the small local "restaurants". You will often need to book in advance for restaurants on the islands, outside of Noumea.

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    New Cal is a melting pot of people -Kanaks, Caledonians, French and more - it offers a unique cultural experience. Immerse yourself in a French language music festival like Francofolies. Visit the Tjibaou Cultural Centre in Noumea for a look back at the Kanak history. Or head to the West Coast for a glimpse of the New Cal's cowboy life ...

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