Traveling in the country
Airplane: Air Calédonie, not to be confused with the international airline of the same name, operates from Magenta Airport in Nouméa and flies regularly to Koné, Touho and Koumac on Grande Terre as well as to all the Loyalty Islands and the Île des Pins. There are no direct flights between the various loyalty islands; all go through Nouméa.
Air Calédonie has offices on all of the islands it serves. Tickets are also available at Magenta Airport. Children under the age of twelve fly at half price.
Ship:the Bentico, a fast passenger ferry, runs several times a week between Nouméa, the Loyalty Islands and the Île des Pins. Compagnie Maritime des Îles’ slower freighter Havannah sails once a week from Nouméa to Maré and Lifou, including the Loyalty Islands, and back.
Car: by car or mobile home you can explore places in New Caledonia that are remote and not easy to reach by bus. The islands have a well-developed road network. Still, a good map is essential.
Car rental prices in New Caledonia, especially Grande Terre, are reasonable. It’s worth asking about specials. However, the providers on the Loyalty Islands and on the Île des Pins do not have the competitiveness of the rental agencies on Grande Terre.
Larger rental car agencies have offices at La Tontouta Airport. The Nouméa Visitor Information Center also has a list of all local car rental companies. The most important agencies include Point Rouge, Discount Location (also offers caravans), ADA and Location Camping Remorque (fully equipped mobile homes and free transfer from and to the airport).
If you want to rent a car in New Caledonia, you don’t need additional insurance. Some car rental companies charge a deposit.
Bus: almost every town on Grande Terre is connected to the capital by bus. All buses depart from Nouméa’s old bus station, Gare Routière. If you want to travel on the weekends, it is best to book in advance.
Carsud operates buses between Nouméa (Gare de Montravel) and the greater Nouméa region. The buses go north to Païta, Tontouta and Dumbéa and south to Plum (Mount-Dore).
There are almost no buses on the other islands of New Caledonia, apart from school buses.
Local transport: Nouméa is the only city in New Caledonia with an urban bus system.
Bicycle: a tour of the 400-kilometer-long Grande Terre island can be a bit tiring. However, all the Loyalty Islands, especially Ouvéa, and the Île des Pins are ideal for exploring by bike. The company Nouméa Fun Ride rents out bicycles.
Bicycles can be transported on the regular passenger ships Bentico and Havannah.
There are few bike paths in Nouméa and motorists on the islands are not always considerate of cyclists, so they should ride carefully.
New Caledonia Sightseeing
As a country located in Oceania defined by internetsailors.com, New Caledonia has many interesting sights to offer its visitors.
Koné is an absolute must. There you should definitely look at the Lapita site. The site is the starting point for the Lapita theory, which aims to understand the migration movements of the Melanian people. This is possible through various pottery finds that can be found with special patterns throughout Melanesia.
The petroglyphs are definitely impressive. Across New Caledonia there are more than six hundred sites of rock carvings, which experts call petroglyphs. Its origin has not yet been clarified. It is believed that they were made by the Melanesians around three hundred years after the birth of Christ. Some scientists estimate the age of the carvings to be even older. The most popular petroglyphs are in Col de Katiramona and Montfaoue at Poya and Bogota Peninsula.
The Vaos Mission is also worth seeing. The church was built in 1860 on the island of Vao.
You should also have seen the Tiébaghi mine. The mine used to be a huge chrome mine. You can take part in a three-hour sightseeing tour there.
Anyone visiting New Caledonia should not miss the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center. There are various exhibitions and events on a wide variety of topics. But the building with its modern architecture is also worth a visit.
Museum lovers will not miss out in New Caledonia either. These should not miss a visit to the Musée d l’Histoire Maritime, the Musee Territorial and the Musee Neoä-Caledonia.
The island of Lifou, which is the largest atoll on earth, is also absolutely impressive.
Divers especially like to come to New Caledonia. The island is not called a ship graveyard for nothing. There are tons of different wrecks to explore around New Caledonia. The exact number of shipwrecks is about 216. This large number is due to the surrounding coral reefs and the strong currents.
For the divers among the tourists, the needle reef in Prony is an absolute insider tip, as it is really unique in the world. The underwater formation is very similar to a pyramid, the base of which is fifteen by fifteen meters and the lengths shrinking up to five meters.
Those who enjoy surfing can do so in two places in New Caledonia. These would be Ilot Tenia and Roche Perce.