Noumea is the largest city in and capital of New Caledonia. One of the most westernized capitals in the Pacific Islands, it features beautiful beaches and colonial mansions and is not yet a heavily touristed destination.
- New Caledonia Airport (IATA: NOU) (ICAO: NWWW), in Païta, 52km northwest of Noumea, (687) 35 11 18, [www.cci-nc.com/tontouta] Air France provides direct flights from Paris. Regular flights are available from Tokyo on Aircalin, as New Caledonia is very popular with the Japanese. Air New Zealand and Qantas also serve the airport. There are also flights from various Pacific nations, New Zealand, Australia, and Southeast Asia. There is little or no competition on routes, so be very wary of high flight prices.
- Noumea-Magenta Airport (IATA: GEA) , 4 km from the city center, (687) 25 14 00. Serves all domestic flights within New Caledonia, such as the Loyalty Islands (Maré, Tiga, Lifou, Ouvéa), from Isle of Pines in the south to Belep Islands in the northern tip of the mainland as well as Koné and Koumac on the west coast and Touho on the east coast.
Noumea is a popular port of call for people sailing around the Pacific. Though most dare not sail during cyclone season.
The Little Train is a motorised tour on normal roads, that runs several times a day. It is a area tour, but you can also hop off one train, and catch the following service.
The city is also serviced by 8 colour coded bus routes that costs 200CPF if you feel your French is up to scratch, as the bus drivers very rarely understand anything but French.
Also available for tourists is a "Noumea Explorer" service that runs an hourly loop pass the major tourist sites (Museums, Zoo, Tjibaou and hotels) hourly. That for 1000CPF a day, 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.
Most of the tourist attractions in Noumea are closed on Mondays and open all other days. with the exception of Museum of Caledonia that is closed on Tuesdays. Each venue has its own entry costs, but in 2008 for 1700CFP a "Pass' Nature and Culture" could 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.
- Museum of New Caledonia is close by the Post office in Quartier Latin. Many Kanak and Melanesian art and cultural items like spears, huts, weapons, decorations and boats are to be found in the exhibition rooms. Like most museums in Noumea, the descriptions are all in French with English and Japanese translations of usually the title only. Also as well as being closed on Tuesdays (instead of Mondays like the rest of the tourist attractions) the Museum of New Caledonia is closed for lunch from 11:30 to 12:15 every day.
- Tjibaou Cultural Centre 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) 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.
- City of Nouméa Museum in the old Town hall opposite Place des Corcotiers, this museum houses a miniature model of Noumea during World War II, as well as many other displays about living in Noumea during various historic periods. Most displays in this museum also have English placards.
- The Geological Museum
- Maritime History Museum on the Baie de la Moselle water front, 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 international exhibits like a Piracy exhibit in late 2008.
- Michel Corbasson Zoological and Forest Park
- Aquarium des Lagons between Anse Vata and Baie des Citrons, the Aquarium has a great collection of Nautilus, as well as lots of information about the local marine life of the island.
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, Ill 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. It should be noted that seeing sea snakes is not uncommon in Noumean waters, but they are very unlikely to bite a snorkeler. Sharks are very rarely seen though.
- Island hopping/visiting there are also many tourist operators who will take you to an island to sunbath, swim and explore. Like the Light House tours available from most tourist operators on Anse Vata, or via the hotels.
- Scuba diving
- 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 128m summit is a military base (that can not be visited) and an old battery that has BBQ facilities.
Most of Noumea is also very close together, and safe to walk day and night between the suburbs.
- Local Markets just off rue Clemenceau, South of the CBD every morning of the week is local markets from approx 5:00am till 10:00am. Where cheap food, arts and crafts can be purchased. It is reminded though, that bartering prices is not common in New Caledonia.
- Youth Hostelling International, 51 bis, rue Pasteur Marcel Ariège, Tel: 27 58 79, (Fax: 25 48 17, Email: email@example.com), .
- Le Meridien Noumea*****, Pointe Magni, Tel:: 26 50 00 (Fax: 26 50 03, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org), .
This page was last edited at 11:31, on 6 March 2009 by Wikitravel user 4rgum3nt. Based on work by Ian Sergeant and David, Wikitravel user(s) Episteme and Pashley and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel.