New Caledonia Traveller Tips
Air New Zealand and Aircalin from Auckland
; Qantas and Aircalin from Sydney
; Aircalin and Qantas from Brisbane
. Air Caledonie operates domestic services from Grande Terre to the Loyalty Islands
or the Isle of Pines
Tontouta International Airport, 45km northwest of Noumea
. Coach companies, public buses and taxis operate regular transfers between Tontouta and Noumea.
- Bank hours are 7.30am-3.45pm Monday to Friday. Most bank branches can be found on Av de la Victoire.
- The Banque Caledonienne d'Investissement (BCI) is open Saturday mornings.
- American Express on the ground floor of Center Voyages, on Av du Marechal Foch, changes travellers cheques and cash.
- Shops and offices open from 7.30-11.30am and 1.30-6.30pm Monday to Friday, closing for lunch from 11.30am-1.30pm. Some shops open on Saturday and supermarkets are usually open Saturday and Sunday mornings.
- The Noumea Market, with its fresh local produce, is held daily at the Baie de la Moselle. It opens from 5am to 10.30am daily, and is closed the third Monday of the month.
- Mail, telephone and internet services are available in most areas.
- Post Offices are open 7.30am-3.45pm weekdays. The main post office is at 9 Rue Eugene Porcheron in Noumea.
- International direct dial is available via a modern satellite communication system. Télé Nouvelle Calédonie broadcasts French programmes.
- Radio stations include the private Radio Rythme Bleu and the government-owned Radio Nouvelle Caledonie and Radio Djiido.
- The daily newspaper is Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes. The only English paper is the International Herald Tribune.
- Australia, 7th floor, Immeuble Foch, 19-21 Ave du Marechal Foch, BP22.
- Japan: 45 Rue du 5 Mai, Magenta.
- Netherlands: 33 Rue de Sebastopol, BP 370.
- New Zealand: 2nd floor, 4 Blvd Vauban, BP 2219.
- Vanuatu: 53 Rue de Sebastopol, BP 2499.
French Pacific Franc (XPF).
XPF1440 per person (except infants under 2 years). Normally included in the airline ticket.
What to wear
Light summer clothes, with one or two sweatshirts for cooler evenings. Smarter dress is a good idea if dining out (shorts are not recommended). Sturdy shoes are required for walking on island tracks or reefs.
Le Grande Terre, Loyalty Islands and the Isle of Pines all have a good network of roads enabling you to explore the countryside outside of Noumea. Major roads are all sealed. Driving is on the right side of the road.
220V current with 50 cycles so most appliances will work. A European style two-prong plug adaptor will be required for the different outlets.
Travellers on valid EEC, New Zealand or Australian passports do not need an entry visa for stays of up to three months but do require a return ticket. Passports must be valid for six months from date of arrival.
There is a huge variety of styles including French provincial, Indonesian, Chinese, Italian, West Indian, French traditional, Mexican, North African and seafood specialties. Try a Bougna, a traditional Melanesian dish of fruit, vegetables, pork, fish, chicken and lobster wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in coconut milk over hot stones in a hole in the ground.
There are excellent medical facilities in New Caledonia. No vaccination certificates are required.
The great voyaging canoes of the Melanesian people sailed into New Caledonia two or three thousand years ago. But it was Captain Cook who named the land in memory of his beloved Scotland when he arrived here en route to New Zealand in 1774. The land was sighted again, in 1792, by Frenchman d’Entrecasteaux. In September 1853 Admiral Febvrier-Despointes claimed New Caledonia as a French territory. This opened the floodgates for hundreds of French settlers. Thousands of convicts were also deported to the island and many remnants of that era can still be seen today. In the 1890s migrants from Indonesia and Java arrived, adding another element to the country’s cultural diversity.
The official language is French. English is widely spoken and understood. There are also about 30 different Melanesian dialects.
Excellent medical and dental care with public and private hospitals.
Overall law enforcement and other national interests are the responsibility of France with the New Caledonian government holding an executive role. The government is elected by the congress which is a union of the country’s three provincial assemblies. The provinces are North
and Loyalty Islands, and each one is largely self-governing.
Nearly two thirds of the population is Catholic, with Protestants making up a quarter. Other denominations include Muslim, Mormons, Buddhists and Seventh-Day Adventists.
There is plenty to entice the holiday shopper, from European designer wear, jewellery and shoes to Melanesian resort wear, crafts and souvenirs. There are art galleries and antique shops plus a wide range of gourmet foods and wines. Duty-free shops in Noumea sell imported French perfumes, jewellery and clothing, and offer a 30% discount.
Sport and Recreation
A host of activities includes diving, snorkelling, swimming, boating, fishing, cycling, hiking, windsurfing, petanque, golf, four-wheel drive excursions, canoeing, helicopter
rides, tennis, horse riding, scenic flights, dancing, nightclubbing and casinos.
Tipping is not required.
New Caledonia Tourism
- Noumea’s bus service is frequent, cheap and easy to use. There are also taxis, rental cars, mopeds and motorbikes.
- A valid driving licence is required to rent a car - the Visitor Centre has a list of companies.
- Air Caledonie has frequent services from Noumea’s Magenta Domestic Airport to Isle of Pines, Loyalty Islands, Kone, Koumac and Touho.
- A ferry service operates between Noumea, the Loyalty Islands and the Isle of Pines.
Noumea and Southern Province Tourist Office
Place Des Cocotiers
14 rue Anabele France
Email the tourism office
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