The "national" museum of New Caledonia is easily the best museum in the whole South Pacific. Its first floor houses a comprehensive array of traditional Kanak artefacts, complete with whole traditional houses and boats, while the second floor has good collections from the wider South Pacific region.
Not to be missed!
This fine museum on the northern side of the square is devoted to the history of Noumea.
It is housed in a fine colonial building, and has varied and interesting exhibits ranging from the early life-style of the city dwellers to the varied cultural mix and even World War II!
Fantastic day trip aboard the Mary D. All inclusive day - boat ride to lighthouse island, lunch (which was fantastic including wine), glass bottom boat tours, boat ride to the edge of the reef where you can snokel.... all for 12,000 CFP. This converted into $173 AUD.
Climbing the 247 steps up to the top of the light house is well worth it. For some reason the cost of climbing the lighthouse is an additional charge... albeit 150CFP. The view from atop of the light house is spectacular.
Check out the web site for the Mary D enterprises. They run the day trip. The company will collect you from your hotel and return you at the end of the day.
You can book you a place at their web site. I would recommend doing this in peak season.
Noumea is a garden town and has may green or paved areas with restaurants and childrens play areas. "Le Place Des Cocotiers" is a park in the centre of town that is divided into four main areas. "Place Feillet" has a rather nice music rotunda that was constructed in 1879 and "La Place Courbet" has a cylindrical fountain where all places around Noumea are measured from! Markets and events are held every Thursday at "La place De La Marne" but the centre piece of the park is "Le Square Orly" where a statue of Governor Orly looks over a swan filled lake and restaurant area.
In the heart of the city, around the beautiful Coconut Square, you will find the main shopping area. The entire area is full of souvenier shops where you can purchase all items from postcards, sarongs, t-shirts, shells and wood carvings. Anne and I felt that Noumea in general is very expensive however we did manage to find this sarong shop that had a number of sarongs for under AUS$10.
Apart from the obvious, swimming, sunbathing and relaxing, the Isle of Pines would have to be one of the most spectacular and picturesque areas that the South Pacific has to offer. Kato and Kanumera Bays are spectacular in themselves and a walk around the shores of both bays should not be missed. There are plenty of photo opportunities to be had along the way and you can treat yourself to coffee and cake at one of the resorts at the end of these bays.
Every day when the cruise ships are docked at the cruise terminal, local villagers come to the waterfront (in front of the ship) and perform traditional dances. This proves a master stroke by them as the constant drum beat and chanting draws the crowds to watch. While this is happening the ladies set up stalls and begin to sell drinks and local wares. This is a great experience and will entertain you while disembarking.
You can experience the amazing power of helicopters as you are whisked away into the sky for the most incredible views of New Caledonia you will see. You can see all of Noumea in only a few minutes, as you will pass over all the major points of interest. A wonderful ride covering Baie de la Moselle, Ile Nou, Pointe Chaleix (the Navy Base), Baie de l’Orphelinat, Baie des Citrons, Anse Vata Beach, Club Med, Ilot Canard, Ilot Maitre (Escapade Resort) and ships at the quay.
COST AUS$180.00 for 30 minutes.
You don’t want to miss snorkelling in the world’s largest lagoon, as you will discover hundreds of varieties of underwater life located just 30 minutes from Noumea. Depending on weather conditions you will gain an excellent view of the manta rays, sting rays and hundreds of varieties of fish and coral. The amazing barrier reef of New Caledonia offers swimmers and snorkellers some of the best viewinf in the world as you witness firsthand the unspoiled and vibrant coral located along the reef.
Taking the ‘Petit Train’ from the cruise ship passenger terminal is a favourite passtime for first time visitors to Noumea.
You will be given a great commentary as you pass by the local market, the Port Moselle Marina and the Southern Province Government House before continuing your way to Baie de l’Orphelina, the Port Plaisance Shopping Center, the Yacht club and the Marina’s housing complex.
You will also visit the Baie des Citrons, one of the most popular beaches in Noumea and the current “Hotspot” where there are many restaurants, cafes, bars, and nightclubs. You then pass by Ansa Vata beach, which is considered to be a paradise for water sport lovers.
The Ouen Toro look out point will provide a breathtaking view of the blue lagoon and the surrounding islands and while you are enjoying the magnificent view, champagne, soft drinks and local pastries are served. Leaving Ouen Toro you continue towards the Le Meridien hotel, and on to the Promenade Pierre Vernier, the popular coconut lined waterfront.
Turn towards Faubourg Blanchot, one of Noumea’s oldest residential districts with many old colonial homes you go by the Military Barracks built over 100 years ago and still in use before stopping at the heart of the city, the beautiful Coconut Square where the main shopping area is located, here you can get off the train to do some shopping, your ship is only a 10 minute walk away, or return to your ship by the train.
A day trip that i truly enjoyed was taking a bus to the lookouts on the hills surrounding Noumea. The give some wonderful views of the port and the city as well as some of the picturesque beaches and small islands that litter the sea near the port. In my opinion it is definately a must.
Without a doubt the worst part of the city is its Nickel refinery. Its situated to the north of the city centre and unfortunately cant be missed. To many of Noumeas inhabitants it is decribed a an eyesore but brings lucrative revenue to the island. Its downright filthy and a blemish to this beautiful city.
The furnace of Doniambo', is a multi-chimney and is very large in size making it one of the largest nickel refinerys in the southern hemisphere
Situated in Anse Vata. It contains rare and unusual marine life, from sponges and coral through to the big fish with sharp teeth. It probabaly is not the biggest aquarium in the world but it is very colourfull non the less and gives a wonderful indication as to what the wildlife in the south pacific has to offer, the marinelife anyway.
A great way to discover Nouméa, these open-sided motorised “trains” depart regularly on a circle route that includes all of Nouméa’s major attractions, incl. the main shopping area, botanic gardens, beaches and Tijabou Cultural Centre.
A wonderful way to experience the diverse culture of the island its to visit the Tjibaou cultural centre. It gives a intersting look into the islands melanesain and islander hertiage as well as more recent occurances. Its definately a must visit if only for its wonderful architecture