Noumea - New Caledonia
August 19th and 31st, 2017
Noumea (or Numea) is the capital of New Caledonia and the only gateway to the country. In this page we will discuss the various tourist attractions of Noumea and we will provide useful information.
NOUMEA IN ONE DAY - WHERE TO GO AND WHAT TO SEE
Noumea (sometimes referred as Numea) is the administrative capital of New Caledonia and, with its almost one hundred thousand inhabitants, it is also the largest city in the country. Noumea is located along the south-west coast of the Grande Terre, the main and most extensive island of New Caledonia, and has two airports: the largest, Noumea La Tontouta (NOU), is located about 40 kilometers north of the city and welcomes all international flights, while the smallest, Noumea Magenta (GEA) was recently built right in the downtown, and it is here that all national flights operate by small turboprop aircraft.
Since it is not always possible to connect between international flights and domestic flights on the same day, most visitors to New Caledonia will almost certainly have to spend at least one night in Noumea, regardless of the main destination in the country. In this section of travel-tour-guide web site you will find information on the main attractions of Noumea that can be visited in a few hours, even while waiting for connecting flights operating on the same day, since the national airport is conveniently located in the downtown as said before.
But let's see in details what are the main tourist attractions in Noumea:
Jean-Marie Tjibaou cultural center: built at the end of the 90s on the project of the famous Italian architect Renzo Piano, the architectural complex of Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center celebrates the memory of the independent leader of the native Kanak community, Jean-Marie Tjibaou, who died during an attack in 1989. The structure is located a couple of kilometers from Noumea Magenta domestic airport and therefore you can plan a visit also while waiting for a connecting flight (we suggest to spend a couple of hours at the Cultural Center).
- Aquarium des Lagons Nouvelle Caledonie: Noumea hosts one of the most beautiful and comprehensive aquarium in the Pacific, with an extraordinary variety of corals and fish. Absolutely not to be missed (we suggest to spend here at least one full hour).
- Noumea zoo and botanical garden: on top of a hill, not far from Noumea city center, the Parc Zoologique Et Forestier Michel Corbasson, hosts a huge variety of plants and animals endemic to New Caledonia and not, allowing visitors to better understand what will be seen outside in the wild during the holiday. For a complete visit, we suggest at least a couple of hours (or 4 or 5 to hike all the trails).
- Anse Vata beach: it is a large bay where most of Noumea's hotels are located, surrounded by shops and restaurants. The beach is not of fine sand, but the seascape is pleasant and suitable to spend here a few hours.
- Ilot Canard and Ilot Maitre: Within a few minutes by water taxi from Anse Vata, these two islets are the perfect place to snorkel along a nearby coral reef, or to simply relax on a beach. During the austral summer, visitors can observe rare birds nesting on the islands. You should plan at least 2-3 hours per island, including transfers, for a relaxed tour.
- Noumea downtown: the streets of central downtown offer the opportunity for some pleasant stroll around Des Cocotiers Square, with the nearby city museum (Musee de la Ville) dedicated to the history of New Caledonia and to the nickel industry.
Let's now look in more detail, the photos of these beautiful places.
The Jean-Marie Tjibaou cultural center
is an architectural complex not far from the center of Noumea and close to Magenta national airport. Built in the late '90s on a project by the famous Italian architect Renzo Piano, the structure is dedicated to the memory of the independent leader of the native Kanak community, Jean-Marie Tjibaou, who died following an attack in 1989. The large pavilions designed by Renzo Piano, visible in the distance from most districts of Noumea, join modern international architecture with the traditional one of Kanak
culture, belonging to the indigenous tribes of New Caledonia
The various pavilions of Tjibaou cultural center in Noumea
are connected by a long corridor and host contemporary art exhibitions, archaeological finds, historical documents from New Caledonia and testimonies dedicated to the life of the native tribes of New Caledonia, before and during the France colonization.
The large pavilions of Tjibaou cultural center, a meeting point between traditional Kanak
and modern architecture.
The Tjibaou cultural center also houses a large area dedicated to the original Kanak architecture, with the conical houses that can be still seen in traditional villages throughout New Caledonia.
The panorama from Tjibaou cultural center spans onto Noumea and the Pacific Ocean.
At the top of a hill, not far from the center of Noumea, there is the zoo
and the botanical garden
(Parc Zoologique Et Forestier Michel Corbasson) dedicated mainly to the native fauna and flora of New Caledonia. For a complete visit you have to plan at least a couple of hours, as this can be a good opportunity to learn more about what, with some luck, you will see directly in nature during your holiday on the islands.
is a beautiful bay located along the main tourist street of Noumea, where there are hotels, restaurants and shops. The beach offers the opportunity for a little relaxation, even if the sea is not comparable to that of the Loyalty Islands or of Isle of Pines.
From Anse Vata there is a water taxi service that allows visitors to easily get to the nearby islets of Canard and Maitre, where tourists may snorkel or simply relax on the beach. During the summer, the islands host colonies of breeding birds (the areas where they nest are, however, protected by tourists' access).
The Aquarium of the Lagoon
(Aquarium des Lagons Nouvelle Caledonie
) is located in Noumea at Anse Vata and houses large tanks with an incredible variety of fish, corals and other marine creatures. It is considered the most beautiful aquarium in the Pacific
and for a complete visit it is necessary to plan at least an hour.
Some of the creatures that can be observed at Noumea Aquarium
. Tropical fishes, endless varieties of coral (including bubble coral), giant clams, dangerous stone fish or mandarin fish, are just a small example of what can be seen here.
A section of Noumea aquarium is dedicated to the bioluminescence
of mollusks, corals and other creatures, a phenomenon highlighted in a room lit only by a Wood lamp (a lamp that emits light mainly in the ultraviolet spectrum).
The Noumea aquarium also houses a pool with numerous sea turtles.
During a trip to New Caledonia, if you want to visit more islands, you will inevitably spend time in the city airport of Noumea Magenta (GEA), where the ATR-72 and other Air Caledonie
turboprop aircraft operate. In the picture, the ATR-72 (F-OZIP) came out of the factory just in 2017 and it is a quiet, comfortable and perfect plane for these short flights between small airports.