Taking the opportunity of a running race organized in Noumea I went to spend a week in New Caledonia. It was not especially on my list of islands / countries to visit but I was really conquered!
– Day 1-3 : Noumea (“capitale” of Caledonia): Airbnb at Jane‘s house for 13663Fr (144,5E). => The perfect host that will bring you shopping or Magenta Airport if needed.
– Day 3-5 : Isle of Pines : Atchu ca;psite in hut for 4250Fr per night (35,6E). => Very basic, I advise you rather to rent a tent if you do not have one you will be just as good. Kitchen available. Shared cold shower.
– Day 5 : One night back to Noumea due to flight cancellation. Returned to Jane’s house for free
– Day 6-8 : Ouvea : cocotiers guest house at Mouli, the night in traditional hut 5564Fr (46,63E). => Near the most beautiful beach of the island. Kitchen available. Electricity in the hut and shared cold shower.
Attention, in the islands you will always have to book your meals in advance in restaurants or snacks!
Transport in New Caledonia
For your inter-island flights the local airline is Air Caledonie. There are inter-island passes but it is more expensive than taking each ticket, at least in off season. Moreover with the pass, your tickets are not booked. You will have to go do it yourself once there! There is no place assigned in the airplanes, you will be placed in order of arrival by starting from the front of the aircraft (the first rows stay often empty). The flights do not operate every day for each destination so this is to take into account for your itinerary.
Regarding luggage, on domestic flights you can have: 1 bag in the hold of 12kg max; 1 carry-on bag of 5kg max; 1 non-weighed handbag. Then know that they are now doing checks for domestic flights at Magenta airport. If some items do not pass you can however deposit them at the airport tobacco free (be careful there is no control of identity to recover the object).
The big disadvantage is that in case of a weather problem the flights are often canceled. And know that if the pilot can not land twice on an island, he returns to Noumea! In this case, the accommodation will not be supported by the company. You can ask to make a call to organize you if necessary. On the islands in general the hotels shuttles take you back and you spend the day at the hotel while waiting for the next flight (if it’s in the same day).
Another thing to take into account, the purchase of food! You can not find food everywhere and it is much more expensive in the small convenience store of the islands so do not hesitate to go shopping in Noumea and bring them with you if it respects the weight of the luggage!
You can also connect the islands via regular boat connections. As I spend only 1 week in the islands, I have not tested. On the islands most activities are rather nautical. You can easily book tours of each island by boat.
Noumea has a bus network developed. Be aware however that the timetables and duration of each trip are quite random. Arriving at Tontouta airport there is also a bus but it does not operate on weekends so I could not test it … I learned by chance that there was a Bus at Mouli (Ouvea), I suppose to go to the “village” of Hulup but I did not ask exactly. Not sure that there are buses on each island (not on the Isle of Pines anyway).
Several shuttle systems exist on the islands. On the main island I tested the Arc En Ciel shuttle on my arrival (drop off in front of your door). For the return and the connection between the airports of Magenta (domestic) and Tontouta (international) I used the shuttle Les Mouettes. Both were good.
On each island you will usually need a shuttle to reach your accommodation from the airport. If your host does not organize shuttles you can join another shuttle that goes in your direction, ask staff at airports.
I took the taxi once, to reach Magenta after my unscheduled night in Noumea. I did not find the excessive rate by cons even having programmed the day before it was very late (about twenty minutes) so plan for margin of time!
These are the same plugs as in France! So not the same than New Zealand/Australia.
You will easily find ATM in Noumea. This is not the case on the islands and there are none at airports (except Magenta)! On the isle of Pines there is in the village (Vao). On Ouvea there is one in Hulup. So be prepared on the budget to have on each island. As long as you pass Magenta between each island you can easily take cash. The exchange rate is fixed with the euro but not with other currencies. You will rarely be able to pay by card on the islands.
Budget for a week in New Caledonia
Here my budget without plane tickets (return at $618 or 350E from Auckland).
Accomodation: 33298Fr or 279,04E (with a free night at Noumea)
– Domestic flights : 29818Fr or 249,87E
– Bus/Shuttle/Taxi : 10240Fr or 85,81E
– Excursions : 10700Fr or 89,67E
– Souvenirs : 6715Fr or 56,27E (but I had some extra cash needed to be used at the airport)
– Food/drinks: 23536Fr or 197,23E
A total of 114307Fr or 14288Fr/day. Or 957,89E and 119,74E/day.
For the next time 🙂
What I will do again with pleasure :
– Visit of Isle of Pines (with sun!!)
– Chilling on Mouli’s beach
What I won’t do again :
-Stay at Noumea
What to do in addition :
– The other loyalty islands
– Visit of Grande Terre outside Noumea
– Sortie bateau dans les pléiades du Nord d’Ouvéa pour comparer
New, I made a video of my trip available on Youtube :