4 Days in Noumea
With your plane ticket to New Caledonia in hand, you will set off to a land that reflects the image of the Pacific. Nowadays Noumea is a pleasant town with a population of around 100,000, moving to the rythm of the Pacific Ocean. Only 40 minutes from La Tontouta International Airport, it offers visitors a change of scenery, relaxation and culture.
A day for the taste buds, with tropical flavours and French cuisine
The Port Moselle market
This is the day-to-day meeting place for Noumeans, rubbing elbows with the tourists passing through. Open every day of the week except Mondays, the Moselle Bay market is a « must » for anyone staying in Noumea. Here you can find seasonal fruit and vegetables, have your breakfast or find some lovely souvenir handicrafts made by local artisans.
La place des Cocotiers
After the market, head for one of the other emblematic locations in the city: Place des Cocotiers. Nice and shady thanks to its abundant trees, this square invites having a short break to watch the comings and goings of local passers-by. There is free WiFi here and if you would like some refreshment, you can drink a fresh fruit juice or enjoy an ice cream at one of the local establishments.
Explosion of flavours
Wind up this full day with a stroll through the Quartier Latin, which takes its name from the famous Parisian neighbourhood. Like its French namesake, the streets here were once cut off from the rest of the town centre by swamps. And this « quartier » is also graced with numerous boutiques and restaurants.
A relaxing time at the Baie des Citrons and L’Anse Vata
The train ride
As soon as you have booked your plane ticket to Noumea, you are already on holiday! If the thought of so much walking puts you off, do not hesitate to jump onto « Tchou Tchou », the little train that departs from the maritime station. For the next two hours, it will take you around all the major sites of the town, from Faubourg Blanchot to the town centre. One stop is at the Cannons of Ouen Toro. More athletic types can climb to Ouen Toro on foot. It is worth the effort: the summit offers a breathtaking view of Noumea and all its coastline.
La Baie des Citrons and Anse Vata
Following this jaunt, on the train or on foot, you can renew your forces on one of the town’s lovely beaches. You may choose between the more sheltered Baie des Citrons and the breezier L’Anse Vata. Water sport fans might opt for L’Anse Vata, where they can rent equipment for surfing, windsurfing or kitesurf. When it is time for lunch, give into the temptations of one of the many restaurants in Baie des Citrons.
Relaxation time at the lagoon aquarium
In the afternoon, treat yourself to a spree at the Aquarium des Lagons, where you can admire more than 150 species of fish, as well as seahorses, sea serpents, turtles, sharks and the famous nautilus.
What better way to finish off this day than a little shopping session on the Promenade de L’Anse Vata and a dinner in one of the local establishments.
Between Kanak culture and colonial heritage
Visit to the Tjibaou Cultural Centre
A stay in Noumea would certainly not be complete without a visit to the Centre Culturel Tjibaou. Setting out on the famous « Kanak Trail », in the midst of endemic trees and plants, you will get to know Kanak culture and the displays in the permanent exhibition will help you to appreciate the wealth of art produced by local people. Set aside a good half-day for this; you can have your lunch here as well.
Faubourg Blanchot and its colonial houses
In the afternoon, wandering the streets of Faubourg Blanchot, you can follow the footsteps of the European settlers, who arrived in New Caledonia at the end of the 19th century. The Parcours du Faubourg offers a signposted route where one can view dozens of colonial houses. A true journey back in time!
After this day full of history, reward yourself with a delicous cocktail, while facing a splendid sunset, as only the Baie de l’Orpheliant knows how to offer.
Sailing out to the islands around Nouméa
Relax on the islands
Booking a flight to Noumea means looking forward to a journey between land and sea. Whenever they have the chance, Noumeans take some time off to spend they day on the little islands nearby. Do as they do and take advantage of the shuttle boats which will transport you to spend the day on the beaches of Île aux Canards, Îlot Signal or Îlot Laregnere. Don’t forget to bring your mask, fins and swimming costume!
Îlot Maitre or Îlot Amédée
An alternative is to spend the day on Îlot Maitre or Îlot Amédée. In the former case, a shuttle boat makes the return journey from Port-Moselle, with the option of a package deal that includes lunch at the Hotel Escapade Îlot Maître. In the latter case, the Mary D company offers daylong excursions, including entry to the lighthouse, lunch and various activities at the site.