With a happy and multi-ethnic community Noumea is the cosmopolitan capital of New Caledonia offering fine French sophistication in a picturesque island setting.
Founded by the French, Noumea sits south of New Caledonia's main Island 'Grand Terre', and is home to a vast multicultural population. With French influencers food lovers can eat at stylish French restaurants hidden in the Latin Quarter, whilst shoppers can save on the latest Parisian fashions or go bargain hunting for Asian textiles.
Apart from the usual island classics, here are some deserving highlights:
- Visit to Tjibauo Cultural Centre Jean Nouvel building that rises from the rainforest
- Eat a traditional Bougna feast in a traditional Melanesian gite (holiday home)
- Snorkel in the emerald waters of the Îles des Pins (Isle of Pines)
- Sea kayak below the black, vertiginous limestone Lindéralique rocks
- Horse trek into the high mountains near Koné for lush vegetation and breathtaking views
- Eat lobster on the white sand beach of Oro Bay.
Surrounded by the largest enclosed lagoon in the world, there is a diverse landscape to explore across the three main islands.
With Noumea as the capital, the biggest island of New Caledonia is surrounded by the world’s largest coral lagoon. The rugged central mountain range and tropical climate have resulted in extraordinary biodiversity with microclimates that allow endemic species such as the red-legged, flightless cagou to thrive.
ĺle de Pins
This small island, a 20 minute flight southeast of Noumea, is named after the distinctive column pines that date from the Triassic and grow to up to 50 metres. The ultimate eco-tourist destination, the island has a network of small trails for easy exploration of the myriad small bays and deserted white sand beaches of the emerald lagoon and for climbing Mount Nga for a panorama of the whole island.
Lifou, Mare and Ouvéa, the small islands east of Noumea, make up the Loyalty group. Life here runs at an even slower pace than in Noumea, and is positively Kanak. The islands geology is also distinctive; what were once coral reefs have become dramatic cliffs that rise from the ocean. And the 25 kilometre white sand beach on the atoll of Ouvéa will meet the definition of perfect for even the pickiest beach lover.
Pacific Franc (CFP)
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The climate is tropical with a hot and humid period from November to March with temperatures that average between 27°C and 30°C, and a cooler, drier period from June to August with temperatures between 20°C and 23°C.
From the airport
The international airport is 50 kilometres from Noumea. There are flights or fast passenger ferry (three times a week) from Noumea to each of the islands of the Loyalty group as well as to Île des Pins and the other key towns on Grande Terre.
In and around the city
Buses connect every town on Grande Terre with Noumea. There is also an urban bus network in Noumea along with Le Petit Train which does a circuit from the city centre to Anse Vata. While none of the other islands of New Caledonia have bus networks, cars, scooters and bicycles are available to hire on each of the islands.
Noumea hire car
Book car hire with Avis, Budget, Hertz and Thrifty. Qantas Frequent Flyer members could earn Qantas Points^ with Avis and Budget.
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