Noumea is the most exciting of all the South Pacific towns and the only one with a picturesque beach area making it the South Pacific's French version of Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. Noumea is a modern city with just under 100,000 inhabitants, boasting a nouveaux rich waterfront with overly priced boutique shops, a casino, multi-million dollar yacht berths and endless rows of expensive waterfront apartments.
The town lies on a peninsula protruding from the sunny south west coast of Grand Terre about an hour drive south of the international airport. The domestic airport at magenta is a ten minute drive from downtown and serves the outer islands as well as several towns around Grand Terre. Noumea also has a thriving port which welcomes overseas Cruise Liners.
Noumea Holidays Overview
Noumea is a beautiful city with several picturesque marinas and bays, a large port receiving overseas cruise ships and the twin beach suburbs of Citron Bay and Anse Vata which has the majority of tourist accommodation. The chic Latin Quarter in downtown Noumea has lively restaurants and clubs whilst the more modern beach suburbs has luxury waterfront apartments, several casinos and plenty of watersports in its lagoon, with a couple of stunning uninhabited islands offshore with gorgeous beaches and snorkelling reefs.
Downtown Noumea City
Noumea's most affordable accommodation can be found in downtown Noumea, a ten minute drive from the beaches with plenty of buses. If you're on a tight budget, and look to enjoy some of Noumea's best restaurants and bars away from the touristy area of Anse Vata, staying in downtown is a good option. There's also the added benefit of being just a few minutes walk to the harbour front where day cruises and charters depart from. The city's other attractions are its National Museum and a pleasant Municipal Market.
Noumea City Accommodation
Noumea Beaches - Anse Vata and Citrons Bay
The majority of tourists stay at the adjacent beach suburbs of Anse Vata and Citrons Bay in one of the many hotels which sit across the road and the Promenade from the beach. Amongst the hotels are plenty of restaurants, bars, a couple of nightclubs, and tourist gift shops. Anse Vata has the prettiest of the two beaches, being of finer sand than Citrons Bay, and the lagoon offshore is better suited to water activities including windsurfing. Citron Bay is more sheltered, and although the sand is not as white, the lagoon is very safe for swimming and popular with families. Its only a five minute walk between the two with most accommodation at Anse Vata.
Anse Vata Accommodation
One of the beauties of Noumea is the offshore islands. Two of these are so close that the energetic could kayak out to them from Anse Vata, although most people visit on day cruises or by water taxis, and these offshore islands make great spots for spending a day and snorkelling in the lagoon. Further out, and accessible on day cruises or charters, are other more secluded uninhabited islands - the hugely popular Amedee Lighthouse day trip can be a little overwhelming within almost a hundred tourists descending on the tiny island. Never-the-less, these out of this world Robinson Crusoe style islands are right there on Noumea's doorstep - only one has a resort, the upmarket Escapade Island Resort.
Noumea Travel Information
Noumea is easy to get around with decent public buses and rather more expensive taxis. There is a small ferry serving Escapade Island every half hour and water taxis can be hired to visit other offshore islands. Several day cruises offer tours of the lagoon, snorkelling in outer reefs and picnics on uninhabited islands. The domestic airport of Magenta is located ten minutes from the city and has regular flights to the outer islands.