The capital city of New Caledonia is incredibly developed compared to some other Pacific destinations, and has many great activities and attractions to offer. We spent the better part of a week in Noumea and managed to keep ourselves busy and entertained for the entire time. However, many people will end up visiting Noumea as a day trip as part of a Pacific Cruise. So what should you do if you only have a day in Noumea?
Guide to a day in Noumea
There is such variety in Noumea that you shouldn’t be hard pressed keeping yourself busy. The following itinerary ideas have been developed based on certain interests. However, all the attractions listed here are excellent, and if you have more than a day, I absolutely recommend completing as many of these itinerary’s as possible.
A day in Noumea for Nature Lovers
Morning: Start your morning off with a bang at the Noumea Aquarium. We were super impressed by the aquarium, and Jacob absolutely loved it. One of the highlights of the aquarium was the coral display where the lights in the room regularly switch on and off so you can see the many colours that the coral glows when in total darkness. I had never ever seen anything like this before.
Lunch: Grab lunch at one of the myriad of places in nearby Baie de Citroens.
Afternoon: Head over to the Parc Zoologique et Forestier which is located a few minutes drive from the city centre. Here you can see a variety of native animals, as well as animals native to other nearby Pacific Islands. It’s a nice relaxed place with picnic areas, a forest walk, and a petting zoo for kids.
A day in Noumea for Beach Bums
Morning: Since you only have a day, you will want to visit the best beach first just in case you want to stay there all day. In our opinion, the best beach in Noumea is actually on a small islet just a 5 minute water taxi away from Anse Vata. Duck Islet (Ilot de Canard) is the beach you want to be at. Now, make sure to bring along some snorkel gear because this is where the “underwater walkway” is located. The underwater walkway is basically a trail of buoys that take you past some interesting underwater sights, just a short swim from the beach. You will have to pay a small fee for a spot of beach and a chair, but you can bring your own food.
Afternoon: If you don’t end up staying all day at Ilot de Canard, then you may want to check out some of the more local beaches such as Baie de Citrons or Anse Vata.
A day in Noumea for Culture Buffs
Morning: Start the day by heading out to the Tjibaou Cultural Centre. The exhibitions in the centre change regularly, but the highlight for us was the building itself. Also the traditional house display outside the museum became our new family shot you can see on the site here!
Lunch: Head back into the city centre and check out one of the many great French inspired restaurants in Noumea. We absolutely LOVED La Chaumiere in the Latin Quarter.
Afternoon: Spend the rest of your day at the Museum of New Caledonia. Here you can see cultural displays from not just New Caledonia, but also other Pacific Islands in the region. They also have temporary exhibitions which change regularly.