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New Caledonia Frequently Asked Questions
Where is New Caledonia and how do I get there from Australia?
New Caledonia is situated only 1200 kilometres east of Queensland and 1700 kilometres northwest of New Zealand’s North Island, making it one of Australia’s and New Zealand’s nearest neighbours. Noumea, its capital city, is an easy flight from Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, with a maximum journey time of less than three and a half hours.
What is the time difference?
New Caledonia is just an hour ahead of Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).
Do I need a visa to go there?
Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not currently require a visa for a stay as a tourist of up to three months, but must hold a passport with six months validity beyond the date of departure from New Caledonia. For non-Australian passport holders, please check your visa requirements with the appropriate Embassy or Consular office.
Is English Spoken?
French is the official language, but English is spoken and understood in Noumea and tourist areas. It is a great opportunity for you to dust off those French phrases you learnt at school!
What is the local currency?
New Caledonia is part of the French Monetary Area and the local currency is the French Pacific Franc (XPF) which has a fixed exchange rate with the Euro. Australian and New Zealand dollars are widely accepted in shops, hotels and restaurants. ATMS are available in Noumea but some have a maximum weekly withdrawal limit and others are only accessible during business hours.
Is there a Duty Free Store at the airport?
Yes, there is a Duty Free store located in both the arrival and departure areas at Noumea airport.
What are my Duty Free limitations for alcohol & cigarettes for entry to New Caledonia?
Cigarettes: 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco
Alcohol: 2L of non-sparkling wines and either 1L of alcohol with more than 22% volume or 2L alcohol with less than 22% volume
Travellers must be aged 18 or over.
Can I store my luggage at the airport?
No. There is currently no luggage storage unit at the Noumea Airport and the terminal building closes at night.
When is the best time to visit?
Anytime! New Caledonia is sultry paradise no matter the time of the year. The climate is tropical. It is hot and humid from November to March with temperatures in the high 20’s to low 30’s, followed by a cooler, drier period from June to August with temperatures in the low to mid 20’s. You can swim and relax all year round.
Is New Caledonia only for couples or honeymooners?
No! Whilst New Caledonia is a perfect choice for honeymoon and romance, it is also an ideal destination for all types of travellers. Single travellers will make new friends and enjoy great conversation at local pensions where evening meals are shared and the day’s tales retold. Families with younger children will enjoy the safe and pristine waters of the shallow lagoons and older children will be entertained by the vast range of water sports and land activities on offer. Young or old, single or couples, friends looking for adventure or wanting to chill out and be pampered… New Caledonia has something in store for everyone!
Is there much to do in New Caledonia?
Absolutely! There is an almost limitless range of activities on offer in New Caledonia. Explore the largest lagoon in the world by kayak, go whale watching, or brave the deep and see sunken shipwrecks. Grand Terre offers incredible hiking opportunities, and island tours are a fantastic way of experiencing New Caledonia’s unique mix of French and Melanesian cultures. Then, there’s the mouth-watering fusion cuisine that keeps visitors coming back. Check out our Activities section to wet your appetite!
Is there any night-life?
Noumea comes even more alive at night! Gastronomic restaurants, nightclubs, casinos and trendy bars keep the sleepless travellers and night owls with plenty of options for a fun night in the city. The brewery pub Les 3 Brasseurs in Baie des Citrons offers daily half-price happy hour from 4 to 7pm and regular live music, while Code Bar hosts salsa nights and Latin dance evenings.
What is the voltage used in New Caledonia?
The standard voltage is 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. The power sockets are of type F, so be sure to bring a power plug adapter if living in Australia.
What is the international dialling code for New Caledonia?
When calling from Australia to New Caledonia, dial 00 11 and then the country code of 687 along with the local number you want to call. Some Australian mobile phones may not work in New Caledonia so please check with your phone provider before you leave.
Do I need to tip for service?
No, tipping is generally not expected in New Caledonia but of course you are welcome to tip if you prefer.
Is there shopping available?
Of course! From high-end shops to local markets, New Caledonia offers an exciting time for shoppers. Luxury goods such as jewellery, footwear, perfume and handbags from France and Italy can be found in the French-inspired boutiques in Noumea. Rue Georges Clemenceau, Rue Jean Jaures and Rue de l’Alma, Noumea’s most exclusive shopping street, has numerous specialty shops and boutiques. Keep an eye out for the soldes sign which means there’s a sale going on. Duty-free shopping also awaits at Marlene, and Grand Terre’s many markets are the perfect destinations for souvenirs and locally-made goods.
Is haggling accepted when I shop?
No, bargaining and haggling over prices in markets and stores is not customary in New Caledonia and it is expected you pay the marked price.
What are some essentials I should pack?
New Caledonia enjoys a warm climate all year round so pack lightly! It is a good idea to pack a light jacket for evenings in July and August. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, reef shoes if you like to snorkel, insect repellent and of course your camera! If you will be doing any water activities it is a good idea to have a waterproof bag on the boat or near the lagoon to protect your camera and clothes from the sea and salt.
Do I need any vaccinations to travel to New Caledonia?
No vaccinations are required for a stay in New Caledonia but we recommend you ensure your standard vaccinations are up-to-date (DTP, hepatitis B). Typhoid and hepatitis A vaccines are optional.
Mosquito bites can be dangerous. Although New Caledonia is free from malaria, other infectious diseases (dengue, chikungunya and zika viruses) can be spread by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes (particularly Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, a known vector of several viruses) are most prevalent from November to April but never completely disappear from New Caledonia, so you should protect yourself from mosquito bites whatever season you are staying in the country.
Buy a repellent suited to local conditions!
When purchasing mosquito repellent in your home country, make it clear that you are travelling to a tropical zone. Many active ingredients found in products sold in the European Union have no effect whatever on local mosquitoes!
Can I drink the tap water in New Caledonia?
Yes, tap water is drinkable in Noumea and most resorts. However, you should reconfirm when you check-in. For a safer option, bottled water is readily available throughout all the islands in supermarkets, smaller stores, restaurants and hotels.
What are the medical facilities like?
New Caledonia has state-of-the-art medicate centres expected of any developed country and many pharmacies with some open. The Medipole Grand Noumea public hospital is fitted with modern equipment for top-quality medical and surgical term. Emergency assistance via helicopter or plane is also available for quick intervention throughout New Caledonia. Aside from this, plenty of rural health centres can also be found all over the territory to facilitate fast first aid treatment. We recommend your travel insurance policy include Repatriation – please refer to our Travel Insurance section.