Baie des Citrons
OK, enough of sightseeing! :-)
For many visitors, Noumea's main attractions are the beaches.
There are several of them, but as I am not a fan of beaches, I only checked out the two most popular ones. I must admit they are very good for beaches in a major city!
Baie des Citrons is the shorter, quieter of the two main beaches. It is also the more sheltered one, usually better for swimming. It tends to attract a more "senior" crowd.
Go to one of the beaches
The beaches are amazing here, and the best thing is, you can walk to some awesome beaches from the heart of the city, it may take you about half an hour, but it will give you a chance to take in the scenery. Most of the beaches are top less, so girls, it gives you a chance to loosen up a bit and just enjoy yourself, while guys, it gives you something else to enjoy apart from the awesome sand and warm water.
The main tourist area in Noumea is Anse Vata, where a lot of the hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops are located.
It also has a good beach, where people swim, snorkel, windsurf and so on. Even if you don't stay here, it's a short bus ride from town.
There aren't terribly many large animals in this place, understandable I suppose given the population of New Caledonia.
There are a lot of birds, and it's quite a pretty place to stroll around and have a look.
I recommend getting there from town either by Taxi, or on the Noumea explorer.
Admission is 300XPF for adults and free for kids, which is a bonus.
The highlight for me was seeing the Kagou, a native bird of New Caledonia.
The territorial museum in Noumea is well worth visiting. Not only does it have ethnographical displays on the peoples of New Caledonia, but there are displays of other cultures from neighbouring countries as well.
A good place to spend a couple of hours exploring.
Ile Aux Canards
Getting the taxi boat over to Ile Aux Canards (Duck Island) was well worth it.
Good swimming, you can hire snorkels and get amongst it. Excellent snorkelling, and a great place to get away from it and relax.
It's a short taxi ride from Anse Vata.
Tjibaou Kanak Cultural Centre
This is the place to come and learn about Kanak culture, there are plenty of interesting exhibits.
Admittance is 500 XPF
You get to learn a bit about Jean-Marie Tjibaou as well, the Kanak leader who was assassinated in 1989.
This is an trip not to be missed.
You are picked up from your hotel, delivered to the Mary D which takes you out to the lighthouse (about 1 hour)
The trip includes fish feeding, snorkling, shark feeding out on the reef, a fantastic lunch with wine and a cultural show.
You can climb to the top of the lighthouse if you wish (I didn't, but I hear the views are spectacular)
The lighthouse was built in France, and shown in Paris. Then dismantled and shipped and re-erected on the attol.
- Arts and Culture
- Diving and Snorkeling
Place des Cocotiers
The main square of central Noumea is a very pretty place with fountains, statues and lots of shady trees. It seems to be a favourite with tourists and Kanaks alike. It is also surrounded by some of Noumea's best bookstores, cafes and souvenir shops, and is where the country's best tourist office is located, so should probably be your first port of call in the city.
Just past the Protestant church is the plce where New Caledonia's 54 seat congress meets.
More of political than architectural interest, it is also supposed to house a small collection of local rocks and shells inside, which are open for public viewing.
If the city beaches are not your thing, you can hire speedboats to fery you across to a number of nearby islets.
Ilot aux Canards, shown on this photo, is the closest one, right in front of Anse Vata.
Noumea's premier beach stretches in the south of the city, flanked by hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops and the like.
It is also the beach preferred by the younger, sportier crowd like surfers and topless sunbathers.
Near Port Moselle, this is the best place in Noumea to stock up on fresh bakery products, fruit, vegetables or fish.
There are also some handicraft stalls with better prices than the souvenir shops in the centre.
Be sure to come in the morning as it closes really early.
The residence of the French High Commissioner is a beautiful, colonial-style villa nearby, which is of course not open for the public.
You can still get a decent view of the exterior across the fence from the western side.
St Joseph's Cathedral
Perhaps the most prominent architectural landmark of Noumea, this impressive cathedral was built in 1888. It is well worth going inside to see the coloured windows - while the main entrance is often closed, you can usually get in through the side-entrance on the left.
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