You have just landed in Nouméa, tired and excited to have reached a so far land, almost unknown, not reached by mass tourism and so different from the Western of the world. Once you have overcome the shock of so many hours of flight, the first question that comes to your mind while you are waiting for the passport control is precisely: “How do I reach my accommodation in the city center?” If your intent is to move as cheaply and efficiently as possible, maybe now it is too late to solve…but if you are reading this article it is probably because you have decided to be smart and inform yourself in advance. For the most careless of you, the traditional and timeless taxi is always a good solution, but be aware that here it is particularly expensive, likewise the cost of life in New Caledonia. In this article we are about to tell you all the information we have collected during our trip and our suggestions, so you will be free to travel around the capital Nouméa as cheaper way as you can and without risks.
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The company that manages the local public transport in the capital Nouméa is the Karuia Bus, while the Carsud is the one that takes care of the long-distance routes. The map of urban and interurban lines is a bit like a tangle of colored skeins, as it is used in the big cities, with the difference that here you will not find subways or high speed trains, here you will travel by bus. The urban bus lines are divided into numbers (differently from the inter-city routes that are marked by letters) and each line is associated with a color so that the route on the maps can be easily identified and the intersection with the other lines can be found. The ticket has a fixed cost of 190 XPF (or 210 XPF if purchased directly on board) and is valid for the single trip, every time you change the bus you will have to buy a new one. The timetables of the lines of your interest can be downloaded in pdf format directly on the Karuia Bus website. The lines also connect the city center with the main airports (the international La Tontouta, reachable with the C line operated by Carsud, or the domestic Magenta Aerodrome, connected by line 22 of the Karuia Bus), but be careful with the timetables because at the sunset in New Caledonia all activities cease, shops close and buses stop (after 6 pm you won’t find any more), so you’ll have to consider a plan B for your trips. In general, if you intend to reach your destinations of interest by bus, always check that you also have a return journey. Small curiosity: city bus stops are often identified just by a white totem.
The bus shuttle
They are the most versatile and economical means of transport, they are shuttles with a capacity of around 10 seats that are shared between several travelers and are used mainly for trips from and to the airport (connections are also provided from one airport to another). You can book by following the instructions in the appropriate windows on the websites of the companies, or by sending an e-mail or by calling. You will agree on the pick-up point (a hotel or a home address), you will communicate your flight number and then the meeting time is set by the transporter; generally they have special shuttles to coincide with the flights of the main air companies. In the same way, upon your arrival at the airport you will find the shuttle driver waiting for you but before leaving you will wait for all the passengers who have booked the shuttle; then you will be transfered at your accommodation. The cost is usually 2500 XPF per person (about 20€) and the amount is paid directly to the driver at the end of the service. The same shuttles can be booked for exclusive use, but at that point their price would become that of a private vehicle with drivers (practically like a taxi) and the advantage in terms of cost would be lost. In fact, a taxi would cost you around 100€ one way to/from the airport from/to the city center. The shuttles can also be booked as a transfer service to organize excursions to the main points of interest and for trips outside the capital, for further information we refer you directly to the websites of the companies. Here is a list of the main companies (but they are not the only ones available):
In general, if you plan to take a complete tour of the Grande Terre and for frequent trips outside the capital, we always recommend you to consider the car rental.
As much as those on the land, transports by sea are also important, we remind you that you are in the largest lagoon in the world and boat connections between islands and islets are on the agenda. Around Nouméa you can lean on taxi boats, most of them are anchored at the port and you can just take a walk on the quay to find the right one. However, they are not so many and they are often busy, so we advise you not to wait until you will be on site, but to book online in advance, even from home, a few days before your arrival (in a quick search online you will find exactly the same ones you would find while walking at the port), once you will be sure of the weather conditions (with the bad weather in fact the boats do not make outings). Many taxi boats are beautiful catamarans that will offer you packages for the day all inclusive, they are not cheap but they will transform the outing into an unforgettable and comfortable experience.
For the islands closest to the coast, instead, you will find small boats moored along the beach of the Anse Vata, which are continuously back and forth transporting tourists and locals: an example is the Ducks Island (Île aux Canards), which is less than 10 minutes away by boat and is visible from the beach (but swimming is not recommended), Master Island (Îlot Maître) and so on. Since Ducks Island is a place where people usually stay for a few hours (in fact there are only a bar/restaurant and an equipped beach), you will buy also the return ticket, choosing in advance the time, in order to optimize transfers from the island to the mainland and vice versa; the cost of the service is around 10€ per person.
After this brief overview of the Nouméa area, you should be ready to face the trips during your vacation, having in your mind the complete scenario. If you need more information, we also want to report the presence of two tourist offices (one along the Anse Vata, one in Center Ville, the Maritime Station overlooking the Baia de la Moselle) that will be ready to show you the best solutions and, if necessary, they will help you by calling for you the booking services! The great welcome and the availability are in fact some of the best qualities of this people, so far from us and still so little used to tourism.
See you soon