Cruise Guide to Noumea, New Caledonia
Noumea is the capital city of New Caledonia, and is on the island of Grand Terre, a beautiful tropical island with pristine beaches. This incredible city combines the secluded peace of an island paradise with a thriving urban scene, giving you the best of both worlds.
Facts about Noumea
Noumea is one of the fastest growing cities in the Pacific. It has more days of sunshine than any other city in the Pacific and the beaches are close to the city center, but it still isn’t a major tourist destination. That means you won’t have to worry about huge crowds of tourists while you’re there. New Caledonia is a French overseas territory, so most of the locals speak French.
Cruises Line that visit Noumea
As one of the largest cities in the South Pacific region, it’s no surprise that most of the major cruise lines departing from Australia have cruise itineraries that take in the port of Noumea. Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, P&O Australia, and Carnival Cruises are just a few of the cruises lines with departures that stop at this port. The port of Noumea as a cruise destination is quite unique compared to others in the region in that the port is very deep and is able to accommodate the largest cruise ships, including the Ovation Of The Seas (which has a maximum occupancy of 4,905 passengers).
Things to see and do in Noumea
While it isn’t a major tourist destination yet, Noumea is full of exciting activities for your shore excursions. And, since it isn’t a major tourist spot, you don’t have to worry about huge crowds.
Take a Day Trip to Amadee Island
A high speed ferry will carry you across the perfect blue water to this secluded paradise. Snorkeling equipment is available to rent, and the waters around the island are crystal clear. The local population of sea turtles is friendly and often swims alongside the snorkelers. You can also take a tour in a glass-bottomed boat if you prefer to observe the local marine life in comfort. Lunch consists of local delicacies served up while you watch a traditional dance. The whole excursion takes eight hours, so be sure you have enough time before booking it.
Rainforest Canopy Adventure
Take a scenic drive up to Koghis Forest before strapping on your safety harness. Unlike the more typical zip lines you’ll find elsewhere, this is a true exploration experience. You’ll cross a Nepalese Bridge, a Monkey’s Bridge, and other rope structures as you swing and climb your way through the canopy as high as sixty-five feet above the forest floor. You must be at least 12 years old to participate, and you should consider the state of your physical fitness as well. You will be held up in a safety harness the entire time, so there’s no need to worry about falling.
Segway Through the Botanical Gardens
Some of New Caledonia’s most incredible plants and animals are kept in the botanical gardens and the accompanying nature preserve, and the best way to see them all in your limited time is on one of the segways you can rent. There are 20 acres of forest for you to explore, so trying to see it all on foot is impossible if you only here for the day. These guided tours are every bit as educational as they are fun, so they’re ideal for the whole family.
Ride the Tchou Tchou Train
The “Tchou Tchou Train” is really a wheeled trolley, but it has been made to look sort of like a train. This is the best way to get a guided tour of the city and learn about its history and culture. The tour begins with a local market, followed by passes of the scenic bays around Noumea and the incredible view at Ouen Toro lookout point. From there, the tour continues along the waterfront, through the historic and stunning town square, into the shopping district, and then straight back to your cruise ship. Convenient, fun, and educational.
The Cagou is an extremely rare flightless bird that has been adopted as the symbol of New Caledonia. This tour takes you high into the hills of the Parc Forestier, a nature reserve full of rare birds and plants. In addition to the Cagou, you’ll see parakeets, fruit bats, and other native animals. You’ll want wear comfortable walking shoes and dress accordingly, but the excursion is not especially strenuous.
Kayak the Dumbea River
This half-day tour begins with a scenic thirty minute bus ride from the city to the river. You’ll receive a brief kayaking lesson and instructions for using the safety gear before you paddle down the river. This one of the most peaceful and serene shore excursions in Noumea, because the river is part of a protected area. The whole trip is blissfully quiet and you’re surrounded by the lush vegetation of the island. If the noise and crowds of the cruise ship are starting to get to you, this is the perfect excursion for you.
The Aquarium in Noumea is one of the island’s hidden gems. With hundreds of fish, rays and sharks to see it offers an exciting experience for the whole family. They also have a sea turtle exhibit that is sure to amaze you. The black light room is one of the most unique and incredible exhibits, though. In this room, the exhibits contain corals instead of fish. When the lights are turned off and replaced with black lights, the corals begin to fluoresce. They glow in every color of the rainbow. It’s truly one of the most incredible things you can see in Noumea. This is an especially good choice for families cruising with children- it isn’t strenuous and the kids will be fascinated the whole time.
Stand Up Paddleboarding
The Kuendu Beach Resort offers paddle boarding for beginners in its pristine, clear blue waters. The bay is a marine preserve with very calm water, making it the perfect place to learn how this exciting new sport. You’ll have an hour of time on the boards, which is plenty of time to get the hang of using them and paddle around the bay a few times. Once that hour is up, you’ll have time to kayak around the bay or simply kick back and lounge on the beach. With some of the worlds best beaches and purest marine environments, this excursion is guaranteed to please. This is one of the more strenuous activities, though, so bear that in mind. You also need to know how to swim, because you absolutely will fall off the board several times before you get the hang of it.