Although a small stretch of land in the middle of the South Pacific, New Caledonia has plenty of attractive cultural and leisure offerings for tourists who choose to visit it. Among these, the cosmopolitan capital city Noumea is a perfect combination of French sophistication in a pristine, picturesque setting.
The city basically lies on the ocean, as it’s located in a deepwater harbour that serves as the main port for New Caledonia. It is surrounded by picturesque bays and is home to a multi-ethnic community. About 63% of New Caledonia’s population lives here and it includes Europeans, Melanesians, Vietnamese, Tahitians, Indonesians, and other islanders, so those who visit it will be amazed by the cultural variety, as well as the unique experiences they get to enjoy.
As mentioned, there are a series of bays and beautiful beaches around the capital where visitors and locals can go for a swim or just lay on the white sand. Many say that the most beautiful place in Nouméa is Anse Vata. The beach, located just 10 minutes from the city centre, is indeed a hotspot for tourists, mainly due to its many hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and other attractions.
La Baie de l’Orphelinat, on the other hand, is considered the most beautiful bay, while Baie des Citrons also ranks high among the most beautiful beaches.
The central part of Noumea revolves around Place des Cocotiers where regular concerts and street markets are held, and both tourists and locals come here to spend time on the large, shady square with landscaped gardens.
Another place worth mentioning is Le Marché, a multi-hexagonal market located close to the marina at Port Moselle. This is a busy place, especially in the morning, when you can see fishermen unloading their catch and trucks being emptied of other produce.
History lovers can take a walk through the city in search of colonial-era houses. Though scarce nowadays, there still are some that have been restored, such as Maison Célières, the old Nouméa City Hall, or Château Hagen.
Other places you need to visit while in Noumea include the Jean-Marie Tjibauo Cultural Centre which celebrates the indigenous Kanak culture, the colonial-style Musée de la Ville de Noumea, the Parc Zoologique et Forestier, and the Aquarium des Lagons.
As for the activities you should definitely try during your holiday on the islands, we recommend enjoying a traditional Bougna feast in a traditional Melanesian gite and eating lobster on the beach of Oro Bay. Also, the most adventurous ones will have the opportunity to practice outdoor sports, like snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of the Îles des Pins or kayaking below the Lindéralique rocks, as well as windsurfing and kitesurfing. If you prefer on-land activities, a horse ride in the mountains near Koné would be a good idea.
When it comes to climate, just like all the islands of New Caledonia, Noumea enjoys an extremely pleasant weather all year round, with seasonal variations of no more than 6°C, which is perfect for tourism and leisure.
Want more? Read about the West Coast, the Great South, the East Coast or the Islands of New Caledonia.