A slice of Magenta!
Noumea has two major airports. TONTOUTA is the main one where all of the international flights depart and arrive from. Then there is MAGENTA which handles the inter-island flights.
For such a small airport, Magenta had quite a bit of activity and facilities there. Downstairs there are 2 ticket counters for check-in, and a gift shop. Upstairs there's a cafe and another shop that sells magazines, postcards, and souvenirs. There are even 2 coin-operated internet machines!
I couldn't tear myself away from people-watching while we waited for our departure. You can hear a mixture of various Melanesian dialects and French being spoken all around you.
No time for peanuts!
Isle of Pines is located just 80 km south east from Noumea, and a 20 minute flight.
Air Caledonie is the local carrier that departs almost hourly from the tiny MAGENTA airport in Noumea.
Although the flight is just a quick hop, skip, and a jump.......you do have some magnificent aerial views from above.
Round-Trip airfare to Isle of Pines can cost around $150 USD per person.
bike rental near Kuto Bay
When I visited the island, there was no reliable public transportion, so the only way to do any independent traveling was on foot or by bicycle. At the Hotel Koubugny I was able to rent a bicycle for CFP 1000 for the better part of the day. This was a great way to get around the island, although the southeast portion of the island's ring road can be pretty difficult. That particular section consists of a gradual uphill ascent that slowly wears you down until all you can think about is a cold drink, a shower, and a nap.
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Tour de Pins!
The most exhilarating way to see the island is by bike. Taking a leisurely bike ride across the island was easy. Beautiful scenery, very little car traffic, and the friendly locals always waving you down with a friendly "Bon Jour."
Most of the guest houses accomodate their guests with bicycles for no extra cost.
Its wonderful to see some of the villagers fishing in the surrounding bays, it truly looks like an incredible lifestyle.
If you have the opportunity see if you can hitch a ride on one of the boats on a fishing trip or hire one to expolre the lagoon and maybee do some fishing yourself. You will be amazed by the colours and warmth of the water
There are several flights to the island from Noumea daily.
Note that the airport is in the "remote" interior of the island far from any of the beaches and not served by public transport, so you may be in for an expensive taxi-ride if you arrive here.
More convenient is arriving by sea.
The Betico hydrofoil runs here from Noumea 2 or 3 times weekly, taking about two hours each way.
It docks at the Kuto Peninsula right between Kuto and Kanumera Bays and is met by buses providing transport to various places around the island, including a day-trip to Oro Bay for 1500 francs.
There are some really wonderful bushwalking opportunties. There are adequate raods and most of the island is easily reached by foot.
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