Effortlessly combining the breathtaking beauty of the South Pacific with the elegance of Europe, Nouméa, New Caledonia is a captivating cosmopolitan capital. Lined with magnificent beaches, beautiful waterways and no shortage of breathtaking vantage points, a visit to the New Caledonian capital reveals some of the incredible reasons why this corner of the globe shouldn’t be missed. From engaging cultural attractions to fun activities for the whole family, there’s so much to see and do across the unforgettable oceanside city of Nouméa, New Caledonia.
Nouméa is where the convoys of convicts were taken. The first 250 (of an estimated total of 21,500 convicts) arrived on May 9, 1864 aboard the Iphigénie. Most of the convicts were placed in the penitentiary centre 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.
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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 colour 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 that provide the perfect backdrop for a pleasant stroll. Start with the Zoological Forest Park, located in the heights of the city, and set out on an enjoyable day of discovery, encountering diverse local flora and fauna. Unwind at other green spaces throughout the city, including Coconut Tree Square in the downtown area, which 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.