Noumea, on the island of Grand Terre, is the capital of the French territory of New Caledonia. The peaceful port city has a diverse population and colourful European architecture, reflecting its colonial history.

Noumea is the capital of the South Pacific archipelago and French territory New Caledonia. Located on the main island, Grand Terre, it’s known for its beaches and its blend of French and native Kanak influences.

We went with Fernando, a tour guide, to Lemon Bay and walked back from there to the cruise ship.The walk was about an hour gentle strolling stopping to view what was along the way. It is a very pleasant walk along the shore with beaches and Marinas on the left and shops, hotels and accommodation on the right.

Everybody we met spoke French, asking directions or information was a way of chatting with locals either walking their dogs, exercising or simply strolling along as we were.

The first European to establish a settlement in the vicinity was British trader James Paddon in 1851. Anxious to assert control of the island, the French established a settlement nearby three years later in 1854, moving from Balade in the north of the island. This settlement was initially called Port-de-France and was renamed Nouméa in 1866. The area served first as a penal colony, later as a centre for the exploitation of the nickel and gold that was mined nearby.

A story from another traveler on Trip Advisor….We arrived in Noumea at 3pm and decided to take our 4yr old to a calm beach for a swim.  So we caught a minibus from the terminal to “Lemon Bay” or more accurately Baie des Citrons. The minibus cost us AUD$30 for the 2 of us, the child was free.

…For our return to the ship, we decided to try the local bus service. This was now about 6:30pm and after sunset. So we waited for no more than 10 mins for a City bus to come by and got on and asked the driver to take us to the Centre. The bus fare for two adults was about the equivalent of AUD$7 when converted from French Pacific Franc (XPF). Once you buy your ticket you immediately validate it at the bus entry. No need to re-validate the ticket when you exit the bus. I believe one ticket is good for multiple trips though. The bus was very clean, modern and had a/c. There was a conductor on the bus but he wasn’t taking money for fares.

On returning to the ship terminal we shopped at the terminal shopping complex for local goods. Items were not cheap but were reasonably priced. They all seemed to take AUD$.

We walked back from Lemon Bay to the cruise ship..the distance around 7.5 kms .We walked past Bay of L’Orphelinet and the Bay La Moselle where the Cruise Ship was docked.Because we did not look at the map, we missed the Artillery but did walk past the Memorial, a huge anchor and what could be bombs along the excellent walking track.

During World War II, Nouméa served as the headquarters of the United States military in the South Pacific. The five-sided U.S. military headquarters complex was adopted after the war as the base for a new regional intergovernmental development organisation: the South Pacific Commission, later known as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

The city maintains much of New Caledonia’s unique mix of French and old Melanesian culture. Even today the U.S. wartime military influence lingers, both with the warmth that many New Caledonian people feel towards the United States after experiencing the relative friendliness of American soldiers and also with the names of several of the quarters in Nouméa. Districts such as “Receiving” and “Robinson”, or even “Motor Pool”, strike the anglophone ear strangely, until the historical context becomes clear.

Published by Ladymaggic

Artist, Traveller, Researcher and Writer, currently living in Australia where I photograph and share experiences and events as I travel. Travel photos and videos about many places in Australia​ and the world

One thought on “Noumea

  1. I just deleted your sentence…the link was there or you would not have got here and seen it. I always link everything I direct copy from another site…and I do this clearly..
    Thanks for giving me permission to use your sentence…Maggi


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