Noumea, New Caledonia
Noumea, capital of New Caledonia, is situated on a large peninsula to the south of the region’s main island, Grand Terre. Settled by the French in 1854, today it retains a unique blend of French and old Melanesian culture.
A popular South Pacific destination, with around 40 cruise ships visiting each year, it is bustling and cosmopolitan. Noumea’s dedicated cruise and ferry terminal, Gare Maritime, is situated on Rue Jules Ferry, just a short walk from the city centre’s shops, restaurants and amenities.
The city offers a range of attractions, including shopping, markets, beaches and museums, as well as plentiful dining opportunities, from upmarket French restaurants to authentic Chinese establishments.
Ships dock in Moselle Bay, which is just a short walk to Port Moselle Marina. Noumea Market is just a stone’s throw away and offers a range of local goods and fresh produce.
Noumea’s Gare Maritime is a dedicated ferry and cruise terminal, a short walk from Port Moselle Marina. Along with Tontouta Airport, it is one of the international gateways to the New Caledonia region, handling a high number of passengers each year.
- an information booth
- a cafe
- easy access to the town centre
- nearby shops and markets.
How to Get Around
From Gare Maritime it is only a very short walk to all the major amenities of central Noumea, including markets, shops, restaurants, cafes and supermarkets.
The terminal is well-serviced by public transport, including taxis, rental car facilities and the famous yellow ‘Tchou Tchou Train’ which takes you on a sightseeing tour of the town – pre-booking is recommended.
Travel times from Noumea’s Gare Maritime
- 10 minutes to Ansa Vata Bay (about A$20)
Noumea is serviced by frequent local bus services which operate around the city. They depart from the Gare Routiere ‘Centre Ville’, a short walk from the terminal. The hop-on, hop-off Noumea Explorer bus service runs an hourly circuit from Ansa Vata into the city.
By local bus:
- 10 minutes to Anse Vata Bay via Baie des Citron (about A$2.50)
- Currency - the local currency in Noumea is the Central Pacific Franc (CFP). Coins come in denominations of ₣1, ₣2, ₣5, ₣10, ₣20, ₣50 and ₣100. Notes come in denominations of ₣500, ₣1,000, ₣5,000 and ₣10,000. Australian dollars are widely accepted in shops, restaurants and hotels.
- Time Zone - Noumea uses New Caledonia Time. It is 11 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
- Weather - Noumea has a tropical climate, which is kept temperate by local breezes and easterly winds. The hot, humid season runs from November to April with January reaching an average temperature of 26° Celsius. The fresh season is between May and September with average temperatures of 20° Celsius in July.
- Tjibaou Cultural Centre - located outside central Noumea, the Tjibaou Cultural Centre is serviced by buses, which run every 30 minutes from town. Opened in June 1998, the building was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and is a striking piece of contemporary architecture. The exhibits include films and artwork and offer an interesting insight into the Kanak world.
- Noumea Market - a short walk from the cruise terminal is the multi-ethnic Noumea Market, which sells everything from arts and crafts to flowers, fruit, cakes, meat and fish. It takes place within a cluster of hexagonal buildings with blue tiled roofs and is particularly bustling early in the morning.
- Amedee Lighthouse Island - a small coral islet and marine reserve, Amedee Lighthouse Island is 24 kilometres from Noumea. Accessible by boat, it offers fine sand beaches with clear waters perfect for snorkelling and swimming, plus its own park and a restaurant. Panoramic views can be enjoyed from the top of the iron lighthouse, which was first illuminated in 1865.
- Aquarium des Lagons - situated between Anse Vata and Baie des Citrons, the Noumea Aquarium is a popular attraction. Although it is small, its large ocean tanks are packed with a fascinating selection of exotic fish, coral and small sharks from around New Caledonia.