10 Things to Do in Noumea
Known for its idyllic beaches and relaxed atmosphere, Noumea, the capital city of New Caledonia, is a destination sought out by tourists looking for a South Pacific holiday with a touch of European flair. With its gorgeous stretches of white sand and turquoise water, Noumea offers so much to see, do and discover. From family-fun activities, like swimming and snorkelling. to cultural and natural sightseeing, here is our list of top ten things to do in Noumea!
Visit the Noumea Lagoons Aquarium (Aquarium des Lagons Nouvelle Calédonie)
A trip to Nouméa isn’t complete without a visit to the Nouméa Lagoons Aquarium, one of the destination’s most popular tourist attractions. Visit the lagoon and marvel at the fluorescent arrangement of corals and an array of freshwater species, including crustaceans and giant shrimp. A highlight of the aquarium is that it organises its nocturnal creatures together so that visitors can get a chance to see how they behave during the night. As well as being a popular tourist attraction, the aquarium is also home to a health centre where sick animals, including turtles, are treated. Take part in an unforgettable feeding experience or, if your lucky, enjoy the opportunity to watch on as animals of all shapes and sizes are released back into the wild.
Step back in time at the Museum of New Caledonia (Musée de Nouvelle-Calédonie)
As well as being a destination blessed with stunning views and gorgeous landscapes, New Caledonia also holds a rich and diverse history. Learn more about the region’s cultural influences, from its French colonial roots to the deeper Kanak and South Pacific connections at the Museum of New Caledonia. Learn about the richness of South Pacific culture with examples of Kanak art, Polynesian scriptures and Oceanian art on show. Close to the city centre, the museum is conveniently located near Port Moselle Market.
Follow the trail to Ouen Toro
For photographers, as well as anyone else can’t turn down the prospect of picturesque scenery, the hike to Ouen Toro is definitely worth it! Located on the southeastern end of Anse Vata, Ouen Toro offers a 360° view of the scenic New Caledonian lagoon. Gaze out into the distance and you can even spot the Amédée Lighthouse located 20 km away. The hiking trails cater to all levels of fitness, so visitors can choose which trail to take depending on their personal preference. Pack a picnic for a meal with a view or settle in with an aperitif for a sunset to remember.
Explore the Maritime Museum of New Caledonia (Musée Maritime de Nouvelle-Calédonie)
New Caledonia’s location in the South Pacific has positioned it as a destination with a rich maritime history. The Maritime Museum of New Caledonia traces the history of New Caledonia and the Pacific more generally, starting from a time when traditional canoes and ancient navigation techniques were used, to more recent events such as the Pacific War and the United State’s presence during World War Two. The museum also holds over 2,000 objects from the famous La Perouse expedition.
Take in the breathtaking views from Amédée Lighthouse
Situated on Amedee Isle, Amédée Lighthouse is a historic site that should be added to any Nouméa itinerary. Built in 1862, Amédée Lighthouse is the highest metallic lighthouse in the world and was originally built to make access to the channel safer. Surrounded by pristine white sands and crystal clear waters, the marine reserve surrounding Amédée Lighthouse is perfect for swimming and snorkelling. It’s not unusual to even swim past a few turtles! Follow the walking trails that wind their way up to the top of the lighthouse and take in the sweeping, panoramic views, tuck into a buffet on the beach or watch on as the team from Mary D stage all sorts of performances.
Spend the day snorkelling at Duck Island (Île aux Canards)
Located just off the coast from Anse Vata Bay, Duck Island is a great place to head to kickback and unwind in a beautiful, tranquil setting. The nature reserve is bursting with marine wildlife including tropical fish, turtles and more. Have fun snorkelling along the island’s underwater trail and discovering all the incredible marine species that call this reserve home, including the spangled emperor, goatfish, diademes urchins, and a wide array of colourful corals.
Unwind at Anse Vata Beach
A definite tourist hot spot, the beautiful beaches along Anse Vata Bay are perfect for sunbathing, picnicking, kitesurfing and windsurfing. Stretching all the way to Rocher à la Voile, the white sands and calm current make it a safe place for children to swim. The relaxing atmosphere is reminiscent of the coastal retreats of the French Riviera, and, with lovely restaurants nearby, it is a great place to relax and unwind.
Learn about local customs at the Tjibaou Cultural Centre
Offering a great introduction to Kanak culture, the Tjibaou Cultural Centre is the perfect place to learn about the diversity of South Pacific cultures, from local customs and traditional artistic expressions to the myths and legends that have been passed down through the generations. Take a walk along the ‘Kanak Path’ and discover an array of native plantlife, explore the centre’s captivating exhibitions, or catch one of the great performances and events held throughout the year.
Shop ‘til you drop
From home decor and fine jewellery to the latest in luxury clothing, Nouméa offers some of the best shopping in the South Pacific. Spend time browsing through local boutiques and homeware shops or discover an assortment of French labels scattered across Rue de l’Alma and Rue de Sébastopol. Whether you’re looking for a memento to remember your visit to New Caledonia or are considering a complete wardrobe overhaul, Nouméa’s shopping scene has you covered.
Pay a visit to the Port Moselle Market
Filled with local produce, souvenirs, handicrafts, and more, a visit to Port Moselle Market, located by the marina at Port Moselle, offers a great opportunity to rub shoulders with the locals. Dine on delicious French treats such as croissants and cheeses, try local specialities including taro and plantain bananas, or stock up on fresh fruit and veggies to cook up a storm back at your accommodation. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 5 am to 11:30 am it’s a local institution that’s well worth a visit. If you’re planning to stop by on the weekend, be sure to also keep an ear out for the great musical entertainment that fills the market building each weekend.
Looking for more things to do in Noumea? Check out our Noumea guide and plan your next adventure.