The capital of New Caledonia, Noumea is a little piece of France in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Before World War II, New Caledonia was a little known and seldom-visited French possession known for its penal colony and its natural resources. (Nickel smelting still plays a major role in the island economy.) Today, travelers are drawn to New Caledonia for its scenic beauty. The island is famed for its white-sand beaches while its barrier reef is the world's second longest. The offshore waters also offer superb diving and snorkeling.
In 1774, James Cook thought the island's rugged hills resembled those of his native Scotland. Hence he christened the island New Caledonia. The island and its outlying groups became a French colony in 1854 and an overseas department of France in 1956.
More about Noumea, New Caledonia Points of Interest
Aquarium of Noumea
The aquarium, founded in 1956 by biologist Rene Catala, boasts an extensive collection of fish and other aquatic life forms of the area.
Mt. Ouen Toro
At the southern tip of the Noumea peninsula, Mt. Ouen Toro (420 feet) offers stunning views of Noumea. A hike to the summit puts you a stone's throw away from Anse Vata Beach.
Baie de Citrons / Lemon Bay Beach
With big shade trees to picnic under, a broad expanse of sand on which to stretch out, and clear shallow water to cool off in, Baie des Citrons Beach is 'where everyone in Noumea goes swimming.'
Perched high above the city, Noumea's zoological and botanical gardens covers 74 miles with an extensive collection of birds and other animals from the region.
The Pierre Vernier promenade stretches along the south coast of Noumea, is an entirely walking trail sheltered from the road by a fence, and is great fun for families and sportsmen who find a place to stretch their legs in a unique setting by the sea with the mountains that hem the horizon.
Anse Vata & Anse Vata Beach
As one of Noumea's most popular resorts, Anse Vata is a favorite spot for swimming, windsurfing, sailing and kayaking.
Duck Island (Ilot Canard) or Amedee
Duck Island is a natural marine park located in the lagoon surrounding Noumea; Amedee is a tiny islet on the barrier reef marine reserve. Both offer the opportunity to sunbathe and swim in a South Pacific paradise.
The Musee Maritime of New Caledonia is located on the road to Nouville, within walking distance from the town centre. It was open in 1999, in the premises of the former maritime terminal, which were made available by the Noumea Port Authority.
Experience the sights and sounds of Noumea on a narrated, half-day drive around town and into the surrounding countryside. You'll visit the renowned Aquarium des Lagons and take in sweeping views from the Ouen Toro Lookout.
Just a 45-minute ride away by luxury, high-speed ferry, a little paradise that is home to many turtles, is waiting for you: Amedee Lighthouse Island. Relax on the beautiful white-sand beach or join in the different activities Amedee has to offer.