Noumea is the capital city of New Caledonia, a special collective territory of France. It is situated in the south peninsula of New Caledonia’s main island, Grande Terre, and is home to majority of the island's population. The city lies on a protected deep water harbor which serves as the chief port for New Caledonia.
The first European to establish a settlement in the vicinity was British trader James Paddon in 1851, followed by the French forces in 1854. The settlement was then called Porte-de-France before it was renamed to Noumea in 1866. The city then called an 'area' was a penal colony before becoming a center for nickel and gold mining.
What to see & do
Being in the Pacific and typically being remote, the city of Noumea is a different take on 'urban' and 'modernity' due to the fact that unlike other Pacific islands and cities (except for Australia and New Zealand's, that is), the city is a multi-ethnic community and yet it does not lack any comfort of a key city in the Mainlands – classy restaurants, its very own Chinatown, shopping centers and bargain hunting stores, and of course, glitzy hotels capable of keeping travelers comfortable and sheltered throughout their stay. But above all these pampering lies the real deal: a large peninsula surrounded by picturesque bays and is coupled with a variety of experiences that will surely make way to the top of your yearly summer to-do list, culture trips through the city which is inspired by Janus' ever changing faces, or just enjoy the breeze by the beach. Whatever it is that you wish to do, the city will almost instantly give it to you. Just take the time to explore some hidden sites that are not covered by those travel blogs for that extra spice on your trip, and fill your tummy with Pacific gastronomy.
How to get around with Noumea
Two of the main modes of transport in the city are through the Little Train (Le Petit Train) and the multicolored buses. The Little Train is a motorized tour on normal roads which run several times a day, and can take you almost anywhere within the confines of the city. Occasionally, you may hop off and venture on your own to explore places and walk to the other destinations that are only a stone's throw away from the next train stop, but check on the train schedule first as the one you rode on might be the last trip for the day. There are eight buses that are also available for use – are color coded, and takes you on the designated route per bus. At least memorize the eight buses, their designated colors, and their routes (if you can) to make sure that you know where you're going. Bus stops are scattered within the city as well, so learn to recognize those. Moreover, there is a system called the “Noumea Explorer” service which operates an hourly run to the key destinations of the city.
How to get there
The La Tontouta International Airport is the main international airport in New Caledonia, serving the city of Noumea. It is located in Paita, some 52 kilometers from the city center of Noumea. Airlines that travel to the destination include Air New Zealand, Air Vanuatu, Aircalin, and Kantas, with trips going mainly to Australia and New Zealand, and also Japan and the island nations of Vanuatu, French Polynesia, and Walllis and Futuna. Cheap flights can be booked using Skyscanner. Skyscanner is an online resource of the cheapest flights from over 600 airlines worldwide. Get more when you log on through www.skyscanner.com. If coming from other countries, make sure to book a flight to the key cities of Tokyo, Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, and Osaka then catch a flight going to La Tontouta International Airport and to Noumea proper. Book a flight at least a few weeks or even a few months before the trip to make sure of the seat availability and to get cheaper tickets.
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Airports near Noumea
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