Car Hire in New Caledonia

Searching for the easiest way to explore New Caledonia’s Main Island, the Loyalty Islands or the Isle of Pines? While there are plenty of great ways to discover the region, one of the simplest is to hire a car and explore at your own pace.

The essentials

  • Road traffic regulations 
  • Where can I rent a car? 
  • What sort of vehicle should I rent? 
  • What’s the cost?

Driving in New Caledonia

If you’re planning to drive in New Caledonia, it’s important that you take some time to become acquainted with the local road rules and regulations. Discover some of the main things you should know below:

Which side of the road do you drive on?

As you do in France, when driving in New Caledonia you drive on the right hand side of the road. You may overtake on the left, where permitted, and are required to give way to traffic approaching your right.

What is the speed limit?

Speed limits vary in New Caledonia, so it is important to keep an eye out for any signage. As a general rule of thumb, towns and cities have an upper limit of 50 km/h, while the main roads permit a maximum of 110 km/h.

Do you need an international drivers licence to drive in New Caledonia?

If you plan to stay for less than six months, you will only need a valid licence from your home country to be able to drive in New Caledonia.

What are the roads like in New Caledonia?

Most of New Caledonia’s roads are well maintained, but you should still remain vigilant. Some rural roads can be narrow and winding, while the famed Canala-Thio Scheduled Road can cause problems if you aren’t careful.

Are petrol stations common?

Sometimes petrol stations can be few and far between in New Caledonia. If you are planning to head out on a long drive, ensure that you will have enough petrol to reach the next major town without worry.

Hiring a car

A number of different international car rental companies, including Avis, Europcar, Hertz and more, have offices at Tontouta International Airport that are open 24/7. You can find a list of the car rental companies operating at the airport here. If you’re looking for car hire in Nouméa, there are also plenty of great options available, while the Loyalty Islands and the Isle of Pines also provide a variety of vehicles to choose from.

Please note: Although there are a number of car rental services operating across the archipelago, the total number of vehicles available can be limited. It’s best to book your car rental ahead of your stay to avoid disappointment.

How old do you need to be to rent a car?

Although requirements do vary from car rental firm to car rental firm, most do require drivers to be at least 21 year old and have held a valid drivers licence for at least two to three years.

What type of vehicle should I rent?

There are plenty of 4WD SUVs and pickup trucks on the roads in New Caledonia, but this doesn’t mean you are obliged to rent a 4WD. The type of car you choose really depends on what you plan to do. If you’re only planning to drive on sealed roads, a standard 2WD car is fine, but it can be best to look for a model with good ground clearance. Most car hire companies offer automatic vehicles, with GPS and Pocket Wi-Fi available.

If you’re planning to venture off the beaten track, opt for a 4WD model with higher ground clearance.

What’s the cost of car hire in New Caledonia?

Car hire costs do vary depending on your car hire company of choice and the model of car that you decide on. Some economy services can be under $100 a day, while premium vehicle attract a higher daily rate.

While exploring New Caledonia, there’s no need to worry about finding a good deal on petrol, as prices are regulated across the archipelago. You’ll pay the same price in Nouméa as you will on the islands.

Ready to see the best of New Caledonia? Follow a self-drive itinerary and explore at your own pace.