Noumea isn’t just the gateway to the stunning island nation of New Caledonia, our closest South Pacific neighbour, and its world-famous lagoon, Heart of Voh and Isle of Pines.

Nuh-uh. It’s a vibrant destination in its own right, with plenty to see and do AND it’s only a two-hour flight away from Brisbane. That’s closer than Cairns!

In fact, the underrated New Caledonian capital is a treasure trove of unexpected surprises that ooze in traveller appeal.

Here’s how you can fill your days and nights during your stay in this UNESCO lagoon-facing city (the largest lagoon in the world, mind you) that effortlessly blends the best of French charm with South Pacific vibes.

 

Lounge on a tropical island for the day

As a coastal city (and island nation), there are no shortages of beaches and swimming spots in Noumea (for example, Anse Vata is amazing and centrally located).

But for something a bit different, take a short 15-minute boat ride to the gorgeous tropical islands of Îlot Maître and Îlot Canard just off the coast in the bay and commit yourself to a day of snorkelling, swimming and sunbathing in the heart of the lagoon.

Even better, stay a night in one of the overwater bungalows (ooh la la) on Îlot Maître and Instagram your friends into raging jealousy!

 

Feel the adrenaline pumping through your veins

Outdoor sports enthusiasts will be happy to know that Noumea isn’t just somewhere to relax and sip sundowners – it’s also a year-round water sports playground!

If you’ve never kite surfed or windsurfed before and felt the wind blow through your hair, then Noumea is the perfect place to try these water sports out.

Alternatively, you can just play a round of golf at a stunningly beautiful 18-hole course or a game of tennis with your pals. Or go for a run along its amazing promenade, do a trek, go surfing, sailing, diving, etc.

With jaw-dropping landscapes, rich cultural diversity and plenty of activities to suit everyone, New Caledonia is the perfect adventure playground and Noumea is its central court!

 

Get a dose of Kanak culture and French art

As a melting pot of different cultures, Noumea’s artistic and cultural landscape is a perfect blend of French and Melanesian influences that culminates in something truly unique.

Visit one of the city’s many museums and art galleries for a taste of this, such as eclectic The DZ gallery, The New Caledonia Museum (check out the impressive range of Kanak and Oceanian art) and The City Museum (housed in a colonial-era building).

For an insight into Kanak culture and history, don’t miss the Tjibaou Cultural Centre, dedicated to the pro-independence Kanak leader and designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, which contains a plethora of traditional sculptures, paintings and photographs.

 

Go shopping for French chic and tropical trends

Fashionistas! You don’t need to travel all the way to France to get your mitts on the choicest French fashion and update your wardrobe with some European flair, because the New Caledonian capital has you sorted, thanks to its French connections.

Not only is Noumea filled with luxury boutiques and concept stores stocking the biggest international brands, but it’s also a retail paradise not matter what your taste or budget.

Head to Alma Street, Sebastopol Street or the Promenade for a huge variety of clothing, jewellery, shoes, perfumes and, of course, tropical island-wear.

For a local market experience, head to Le Marché, a colourful multi-hexagonal-shaped market next to Port Moselle.

Here, you can buy fresh fruit and veggies, fish, flowers and even freshly baked croissants!

Only a short direct flight from Australia’s eastern coast, New Caledonia is the perfect weekend getaway destination. Flights from Sydney to Noumea come in at just under three hours, while flights from Brisbane to Noumea are around two hours in duration.

 

To learn more about Noumea and New Caledonia, visit https://www.newcaledonia.travel/au/noumea

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