The simplest and easiest way to travel around New Caledonia is by car. However, you’ll need to turn to other means of transport if your plans include a trip to the Loyalty Islands, and you can also travel around the Main Island on scheduled bus and coach services to destinations on both the West and East Coasts.
- Rent a car
- Take the bus lines
- Travel to the islands by plane or by boat
- From Tontouta Airport to Noumea
- Getting around in Noumea
Rent a car and go where you like, when you like
Renting a car is an excellent way of visiting New Caledonia. The road system is very well maintained overall and, unless you intend to drive on the minor mountain roads, you won’t need to rent a 4WD.
Note: fuel prices are strictly regulated. Whether you fill up at a big supermarket in Noumea or in a remote outback service station, you’ll pay the same price per litre. You can’t argue with that! Although New Caledonia now boasts a very extensive network of service stations, it’s a good idea to think ahead on Sundays and some public holidays, when you could have more difficulty in finding somewhere open in the North or along the East Coast.
Coach routes serving 360 stops
You don’t fancy driving but you’d still like to travel around the Main Island? The long-distance coach network (www.rai.nc - Tel +687 05 81 61) is the ideal solution! Offering 25 routes and 360 stops throughout the country, the RAI network of 40 long-distance touring coaches is an easy and affordable way of seeing the sights of New Caledonia.
Getting to the islands? By air or by sea, it’s up to you!
The fastest way to travel to the islands is by air. New Caledonia's domestic airline Air Calédonie www.air-caledonie.nc operates from Magenta airport in Noumea, running scheduled flights to the Isle of Pines and to the main Loyalty Islands (Maré, Lifou & Ouvéa). To move around Loyalty Islands, Air Loyauté airline www.air-loyaute.nc proposes inter-island connections (flight last between 25 and 35 minutes from Lifou).
If travelling by sea is your fancy, you can also get to the Isle of Pines, Maré or Lifou aboard hi-speed passenger catamaran Betico 2. You’ll find schedules and prices on www.betico.nc.
From Tontouta Airport to Noumea
If you’re making your own arrangements for your stay in New Caledonia, unless you’re renting a car on arrival, don’t forget to book ahead for a shuttle service from the airport to wherever you’re staying in Noumea. Several private firms offer shuttle services at very comparable prices. Some of the most popular : Les Mouettes, Arc en ciel, Philotours, Go Shuttle, or Allo Transports.
Getting around in Noumea
You can visit most of the city on foot or by hopping aboard one of the little tourist trains which follow routes taking in all the major sights - Tel +687 25 30 55 or 77 21 76. If you want to get from one neighbourhood to another, you can either call a taxi Tel +687 28 35 12 - www.noumea.nc/taxi, travel on the “Karuïa Bus” city bus routes Tel +687 26 97 10 - www.karuiabus.nc or rent a moped or a bike. Noumea is quite a hilly city, so you’ll need to be fairly fit to go sightseeing by bike!
And finally, the most attractive and exotic local means of transport deserves a mention: taxi-boats. You’ll find taxi-boats both in Noumea and in the bush, ready to whisk you off to dream islets just off the coast of the Main Island. An absolute must for any visitor to New Caledonia! Various private operators run services from Noumea, Bourail, Boulouparis, La Foa, Poindimié, Poum, etc.