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Welcome to Noumea, the centre of New Caledonia

With its cheerful multi-ethnic community, New Caledonia’s cosmopolitan capital, Noumea, is both sophisticated and uncomplicated, classy and casual. The relaxed city sits on a large peninsula, surrounded by picturesque bays, and offers visitors a variety of experiences.

Diners can eat out at sassy French restaurants hidden in Quartier Latin, dine at bold water-fronting bistros or grab a bargain meal from a nocturnal van in a car park. Meanwhile, shopaholics can blow their savings on the latest Parisian fashions or go bargain hunting for imported Asian textiles.

Central Noumea revolves around Place des Cocotiers, a large, shady square with landscaped gardens, a couple of blocks in from the waterfront. The main leisure area where locals and tourists hang out lies south of the city centre at Baie des Citrons and Anse Vata, with beaches, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

While Noumea city has 100,000 residents, the greater Noumea area, including Le Mont-Dore, Dumbéa and Paita, is home to 164,000, or about 63% of New Caledonia's population.

Things to do in Noumea

With some free time to spare in your Conference schedule, we recommend you check out the below activities, to enjoy as much of the island as possible.

Place des Cocotiers

This is the heart of the city. The square slopes gently from east to west and at the top is a band rotunda, a famous landmark dating back to the late 1800s. Place des Cocotiers is the perfect spot to watch the world go by. Near the band rotunda there’s a popular pétanque pitch and a giant chessboard. Down the other end it’s like a lush botanical garden, with palms and large spreading trees. There's free wi-fi throughout the square.

Self-Guided Walking Tour

Take a stroll around the city with the Viator audio tour. Start when you want, finish when you want, stay as long as you want at your favorite spots. This self-guided audio tour is completely your own. Find out more here

Aquarium des Lagons

This aquarium is stunning. Species found in New Caledonian waters – including nautilus, sea snakes, stone fish, turtles, sharks and stingrays – have realistic surroundings in their huge tanks. Living coral displays are surprising but don’t miss the emperor of coral reefs: Napoleon fish. Find out more here.

Le Marche de la Moselle - the Port Moselle Market

This colourful multi-hexagonal-shaped market is beside the marina at Port Moselle. Fishermen unload their catch; trucks offload fruit, vegetables and flowers; and there’s fresh-baked bread and cakes, plus delights like terrines and olives. The arts and crafts section includes a central cafe. On Saturday and Sunday live music keeps shoppers entertained. The market is at its busiest early in the morning. Find out more.

Anse Vata beach

Orientated east–west, this popular beach is a hotspot for visitors to Noumea, with hotels, restaurants, shopping and other attractions. Only 10 minutes from the city centre, the locals relax here too, especially on the petanque courts next to the beach. On a breezy day at Anse Vata, you can watch the colourful kite- and windsurfers skimming up and down the bay. It's only five minutes by taxiboat from here out to Île aux Canards.

Baie des Citrons beach

Orientated north–south and less than 10 minutes from the city centre, trendy Baie des Citrons attracts locals and visitors alike. The beach is great for swimming, while the strip of restaurants, bars and nightclubs along the main road could well pull you in from breakfast until the wee hours.

Tjibaou Cultural Centre

The cultural centre is a tribute to a pro-independence Kanak leader Jean-Marie Tjibaou, who was assassinated in 1989. It sits in a peaceful woodland and mangrove setting on Tina Peninsula. Displays include sculpture, paintings and photographs representing Kanak culture, as well as other cultures from around the Pacific. The main buildings are a series of tall, curved wooden structures which rise majestically above the trees. Find out more.

Cathedrale St Joseph

The cathedral was built in 1888 by convict labour and is one of Noumea’s landmarks. It has beautiful stained-glass windows and an elaborately carved pulpit, altar panels and confessional. The main entrance is sometimes locked, but you should find the side doors open.

Mwa Ka

Mwâ Ka is erected in a landscaped square opposite Musée de Nouvelle-Calédonie. The 12m totem pole is topped by a grande case (chief’s hut), complete with flèche faîtière (carved rooftop spear), and its carvings represent the eight customary regions of New Caledonia. The Mwâ Ka is mounted as the mast on a concrete double-hulled pirogue, steered by a wooden helmsman, and celebrates Kanak identity as well as the multi-ethnic reality of New Caledonia.



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