A Traveller’s Guide To New Caledonia

From adventure freaks to history buffs, from those seeking for religious fervor to learning about Kanak culture and traditional diversity –New Caledonia is full of surprises. With a semi-tropical climate and diversified landscapes favoring the growth of the plethora of the flora and fauna –you will definitely seek out the most amazing deals to make the best out of the natural vistas. Know more about the natural scenes of New Caledonia. However, before planning for the itinerary you need to take a few things into consideration such as currency exchange, communication, transportation, accommodation and of course the places to discover.

New Caledonia Transportation

The La Tontouta International Airport is the only airport in New Caledonia, which with a ‘B’ ranking, offers extensive passenger services, great comfort and top-notch infrastructure since its opening in the year 2012. Grande Terre and New Caledonian Islands are well connected with Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne in Australia, Osaka and Tokyo in Japan, New Zealand, French Polynesia, Vanuatu and some other regional destinations.

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It is better to rent a car and explore New Caledonia as both Noumea and the airport has a number of rental services providing firms from where you will get cars to travel to Loyalty Islands and beyond. SUVs and trucks are available, but it is better to book in advance.

Karuïa Bus in Greater Noumea and RAI as inter-urban coach services are your local transportation options along with private shuttles which cover 360 stops including the bays, Museum of New Caledonia, Caledonia Maritime Museum, Ouen Toro, Botanical and Wildlife Park, Quai Jules Ferry etc. catamarans are also available to travel by sea to reach Lifou, Mare or Isle of Pines.

What To Keep In Mind While Travelling?

Before your arrival at New Caledonia, keep the essential contacts of airlines, transport companies, tourism offices or your guide, foreign consulates and emergency healthcare centers. Few other things to remember are –

  • Prior booking for visiting local tribal villages or home-cooking venue is necessary. Serving time is 11.30 AM-1 PM for lunch and 7 PM-9 PM for dinner.
  • Food and grocery stores remain open usually from 8AM-7 PM while retail stores remain open from 9 AM-6 PM generally.
  • From Wednesday to Sunday and on holidays, takeaway alcohol is banned
  • Some areas in Noumea accept Dollars and Euros although it is better to take enough Pacific Francs for hassle-free currency transaction. Banks, ATMs and currency exchange offices are there to get currency exchange done.
  • Keep your visa and passport handy as in airports of Australia or Asia will need you to verify your nationality.
  • April, May, September, October and November are the best months to visit New Caledonia for the moderate heat and lesser rainfall –weather remains best for hiking, snorkeling etc.

Thus, being said, you should also be considerate about the local culture and their taboo on naturism as well as their prohibition regarding exploration of certain places. Learning French beforehand will be a great advantage as you will find it hard to communicate with local people as they speak only in their local mother tongue.

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