Nouméa, the capital city of New Caledonia is on the ocean. Several bays extend along the city, providing magnificent beaches and points of view. Besides its natural features, Nouméa also has very attractive cultural offerings for tourists who choose to visit there.
Nouméa is where the convoys of convicts were taken. The first 250 (out of an estimated total of about 21,500 convict) arrived on May 9, 1864 aboard the Iphigénie. Most of the convicts were placed in the penitentiary center on Île Nou (which became the Nouville peninsula). A guided historical tour of the premises is available. Even though very few buildings have survived (the chapel, the commander’s quarters, the bakery, the water tower and the “boulevard of crime”!), the emotion is still very real.
A green and blue city
The recently renovated Aquarium of the Lagoon houses a stunning collection of living underwater species. Its treasures include the pygmy seahorse and the famous nautilus, which is one of the emblems of New Caledonia.
Still, blue isn’t the only color to represent Nouméa; green also has a prominent place. The luxuriance of the vegetation (palms, coconut trees, flamboyants and hibiscus) commonly surprise visitors.
The city is blessed with several parks and gardens when you can enjoy a pleasant stroll. Start with the Zoological Forest Park, located in the heights of the city and offering an enjoyable day of discovery as well as local flora and fauna. Other ‘green lungs’: Coconut Plaza in the downtown area hosts events and fairs throughout the year, Ouen Toro facing the sea, or even the Nouville Trail to Fort Tereka. The sea pediment was also built to accommodate a beautiful stroll between Orphanage Bay and the Pierre Vernier promenade.