Noumea Anse Vata Beach Excursion Reviews
Noumea: I went on the island tour with 90 minute stop at Anse Vatu beach. I did not enjoy this excursion at all. We had to go to the Theatre and onto the stage to collect stickers, then wait in the theatre seating area until all of our tour had arrived, then we were called, herded down the stairs to deck 2, and off the ship. I think they'd do better to have the check-in desk at the top of the theatre rather than the stage = there were a lot of people milling around not sure where to go or what to do. It felt like a lot of effort rather than being easy. Anyway, once off the ship, it became immediately clear that the humidity was insane; it made the 28 degree temp feel like 40 degrees. Luckily, the bus was parked right next to the ship, so as soon as we got off the ship, we jumped onto the air conditioned bus and got to cool off - just that 3 minute experience had many of us damp with perspiration. The tour heads off on a rushed jaunt up a hill to a viewpoint (so hot when you got off the bus, my camera immediately condensed and took almost the whole 10 minute stop to unfog) then through the old area of town - to be honest, there is not a lot to see and the commentary was so rushed to keep pace with the speed of the bus that I spent the whole tour looking back trying to work out which building she had been talking about. We were then dropped at Anse Vatu beach and I still don't really understand why. There is no "beach" as such - the water comes up to the little grass "cliff" - so you can lie on the (wet)grass, or sit on the plentiful picnic table and benches. The water was murky - the fine clay soil and the seaweed etc means that the water is not clear, so it's not good for snorkling, and there are no waves, so it's not much fun for playing in. It was great to get in and cool off, but after that there's not much to do. Across the road are a lot of dodgy tourist-trap shops and then we all ended up huddled under a tree waiting for the bus. On the way back to the ship, we stopped off at a cafe five minutes walk (60 seconds drive) up the road for a class of cold soda and a tiny wee macaroon - both were good, but not worth the effort of getting on and off the bus again. And ironically, opposite that cafe is Lemon Bay - a much nicer looking beach!! I would not be in a hurry to head back to Noumea. It might have been different if the Solstice was not too big to dock at the passenger terminal, which is just opposite the main town marketplace; however she is, and we were docked on the freight wharf. By the time we got back, I was so hot and so bothered that the thought of sitting on the little open-top "train" and heading back out for what was clearly going to be a very similar tour, was very unattractive, so I gave up on that idea.
Took tour bus through the city, to two lookouts. Lookouts were ok - not an amazing view. Only stayed at each lookout for around 10 minutes. Dropped off at Anse Vata beach which was also ok - saw sea snake on the beach, and also felt a bit of a sting on my leg whilst in the water (plenty of french people wearing rashies, so I assumed there were stingers in the water) so I didnt swim for long.
Then spent some time walking around the city by ourselves - everything was very expensive - more so than France itself. Not much to see or do in the city.
We had booked paddle boarding which was cancelled that morning and we only found out once we got off in Noumea. So instead, we took a bus tour to a couple of 'high points' around the town on the way to Anse Vata Beach.