You might not have heard of Nouméa, New Caledonia just yet, but you will. It’s a memorable port of call on any South Pacific cruise leaving from Australia or New Zealand, even affectionately nicknamed the “French Riviera of the Pacific”. You’ll want to stroll the beach and enjoy French-inspired menus at quaint bistros throughout this capital city.
You’ll know there’s something special about Nouméa as soon as you catch sight of the signature white bungalows dotting the shoreline from resort isle Îlot Maître. You might also stop at Îlot Maître for snorkeling and swimming, too, since it’s just a 15-minute boat ride away from the city.
Nouméa shore excursions range from educational to thrill-seeking, like the City of Nouméa Museum for a peek at the extensive Kanak history of the island. The Centre Culturel Tjibaou is a cultural center dedicated to the indigenous Kanak people of Nouméa and features rotating exhibits. The building’s architecture in the style of a traditional Kanak hut is the perfect photo op. You just might stumble upon concerts or cultural festivals at the town square, Place des Cocotiers. Families will love the Aquarium of the Lagoons, where you’ll learn about the tropical fish species (and turtles!) swimming in the South Pacific waters.
In Nouméa, take a relaxed stroll along Rue Clemenceau to meet local vendors and see their wares. Shoppers also love Anse Vata outside Îlot Nouméa for luxury or designer items and handmade goods at Galerie du Palm Beach and La Promenade.
Boat tours and water taxis take often take you to multiple destinations, like Anse Vata, which is the best place to windsurf on the island. Snorkeling the coral reefs of the area is part of the fun on Nouméa cruise excursions, and nearby islands are easily accessible via boat.
If you like heights, the top of Amédée Lighthouse is less than an hour’s boat ride from Nouméa and promises the best views of the city from the top. If you’re feeling more adventurous, your adrenaline will rush during a canopy adventure where you will climb and tackle obstacles on a tour of Koghi's Forest.