Why go to Noumea?
The Paris of the Pacific is a dreamscape of turquoise beaches that line the capital.
A tour or local transport is needed to explore beyond Noumea.
New Caledonia's capital offers a colourful mix of cultures.
Noumea Cruise Port Facilities?
After exiting the terminal, turn right and walk along the water to get to the daily morning market. Or turn left and then right, away from the waterfront, toward the delightful public park and shopping area known as Coconut Square. The square -- actually a series of four squares with a park in the middle -- is a great meeting place, with benches for resting, shops, cafes, the main tourist office and the fascinating Town Museum (see below). The Office de Tourism is at 14, rue Jean-Jaures on Square Olry, the closest block of Coconut Square to the ship terminal. Do not go to the tourism office to enquire about Wi-Fi. Instead, head to the booth that backs onto the cafe in the middle of the park, which is the information point for the square's free Wi-Fi.
Good to Know?
Sunburn. When you're outside for any extended period, wear a good sunscreen, broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses for protection from the powerful South Pacific rays.
On Foot: The market and main shopping areas are short walks. Other beaches are a longer walk of 30 minutes or more.
By Taxi: Taxis are available at Coconut Square, the cruise terminal and at Anse Vata beach. Rates are regulated, but prices can vary with the density of the traffic.
By Rental Car: Agencies are housed near the cruise terminal. Ask at the tourism office.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
While most of Europe, including France, spends euros, French territories such as New Caledonia (called 'collectives') use the CFP franc. Visit XE.com for current rates. ATMs are plentiful, and they're the cheapest way to acquire local currency in Noumea. You'll find ATMs at the market and outside banks and on the corner of General Gallieni and rue Anatol France, and corner of General Mangin and rue Anatol France.
Credit cards are accepted in shops and restaurants, though not at outside markets. Since many travellers now connect a PIN number to their credit card for protection from thieves, you will be asked for yours at shops and restaurants. If you don't have a PIN, you can simply sign for the charge. Expect a foreign currency transaction fee from a few cents to a few dollars for each ATM and credit card use. No one in New Caledonia is interested in accepting American dollars and most businesses in Noumea only accept the French Pacific Franc (XPF).
It's French. Yet, due to Noumea's status as a destination for Australia and New Zealand vacationers, many people -- especially in more touristy areas and downtown -- speak some English. Still, a little bonjour (hello) or merci (thank you) wouldn't hurt.
Where You're Docked?
The cruise terminal in Noumea is in a fairly drab commercial section of town on Moselle Bay. The view of warehouse buildings changes substantially within a walk of 10 minutes or less, whether you head for the morning market or Coconut Square in the heart of the city. The cruise terminal has an information booth -- usually staffed when a cruise ship is in town -- with free maps and directions. Across the street is a Casino, which is not a gambling place, but a supermarket. It's a 1.6 km walk to Port Moselle Market, which is conveniently located beside the marina at Port Moselle: it's where you will find an array of fresh foods, souvenirs and handicrafts that fit its stalls. (Port Moselle Harbour, 52 Avenue du Marechal Foch)