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.
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.
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.
Take a trip to Amedee Lighthouse
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.
- Gay and Lesbian
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
This is a fantastic place to hang out for a morning or afternoon. Most of the tanks display small reef fish, but they're very colorful and a delight to look at. Also on display are a few larger specimans, such as sea turtles, sea snakes, reef sharks, stingrays, and coral. The best room by far, though, is the one which is dark. Once you walk in you can barely see your way around. This is because you are in the fluorescent coral gardens and the only lights are dim ones just bright enough to bring out incredible natural colors from the displayed corals. The last tank in this room is most certainly the most interesting. Inside are several New Caledonia nautiluses. Every once in a while, one hits the window, and the shell makes a clanking sound like an underwater wedding toast.
Anyway, touristy though it may be, I had a great time and highly recommend a visit by anyone interested in the marine life of the Pacific.
Admission at the time was 600 CFP.
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.
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.
Anse Vata Beach
You can see a photo of this spot on my intro page. It's really gorgeous and worth a few hours if you have the time. As you walk along the shoreline coming from the city center, you wil pass some of the high-class haunts of Nouméa's wealthiest residents and visitors--a couple dazzling hotels, the yacht club, and many open-air cafés reminiscent of urban France. Once you get to the beach you will see that there are many tourists, but it's still a great place to hang out.
Visit St Joseph's Cathedral
St Joseph's Cathedral was built in the late 1800s with convict labour and has great views from its elevated position over Noumea. The giant holy water stoups that great visitors are the shells of giant clams - a nod to Noumea's enviable coastal position - while the detailed stained glass windows would be at home in any European cathedral.
Entrance to the Cathedral is free and it is open most days to visitors, apart from Sundays. However, on Sundays visitors are able to attend services. If the front doors aren't open, try to side doors.
- Religious Travel
Meet the Marine Life at the Aquarium
The Aquarium des Lagons is located on the beachfront, a short walk from Anse Vata or Bais de Citrons beach areas. Huge tanks of corals, nautilus and other local sea creatures provide a good chance to learn about local marine life without the need for snorkel or scuba gear. A great option for a break from the beach, especially if you're traveling with kids.
Displays are in both French and English. The entrance fee is 1000cfp for adults and the aquarium is open every day, apart from Monday.
- Family Travel
Take a water taxi to Ile aux Canards (Duck Island)
Ile aux Canards (Duck Island) is one of the small, highly visible islands just off the beach of Anse Vata. Ile aux Canards is the closer (and smaller) of the two islands. There are a few water taxi options to get to the island - the faster, yellow boats from the centre of Anse Vata beach, or the recommended slower boats from the end of Colleen excursions at the end of Anse Vata, at the Bais des Citrons end. Colleen excursions boats are slower, but they have a glass bottomed section that allows you to catch a glimpse of some of the marine life. The return trip is 1000cfp per person.
Once on the island, snorkel gear can be readily hired to explore the underwater snorkel trail, or beach lounge chairs for the less adventurous. There is a bar / restaurant and some (basic) toilets available on the island.
- Diving and Snorkeling
Monuments of the City
You have also to visit the monuments of the city, but don't waste your time just in Noumea, try to travel by boat to the others isles.
- Business Travel
A few hundred metres north of the cathedral, this smaller Protestant church built in 1890 is also very nice and well worth at least a quick look from the outside.
Army Barracks & War Memorial
The old army barracks built in 1864 are still in use.
In front of them is a memorial to those New Caledonians who died in World War I.
South of the city centre, this is the main harbour for yachts in Noumea, and the place to hire one if you can afford to.
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