Who said there was nothing to do in Noumea? Well, just about everyone I spoke to before I left actually. They were the same people who told me what it was also too expensive. But on a recent trip to New Caledonia I have discovered 11 myth-busting reasons why they were wrong and why you should add Noumea to your bucket list asap!
1. The Beautiful Bays
The city streets might be a bit narrow and steep to welcome cyclists, but bike lanes make the coast perfect to explore on two wheels. Start in the city, passing the ports and marinas full of colourful small boats and great white yachts, continue around to the Baie de Citrons with its coconut tree-lined roads, come out to L’Anse Vata with its bright blue water, paddle boarders and locals playing bocce along the boardwalk. Next, stop under the shadow of Ouen Toro mountain to watch fishermen wade into the water with nothing but a rod.
The whole trip will take only a couple of hours, but why not make a day of it and test out all the beaches along your way?
2. The Colonial Suburbs
Ok so it’s just one suburb, and it won’t take you long, but these cute colonial houses and buildings from the late 1800s to 1930s along the Heritage Trail in the Faubourg Blanchot area are worth checking out.
3. Fresh Food from the Noumea Markets
Ignore the rumours that these markets are far more expensive than the supermarkets. There’s sometimes a slight increase, but nothing that’s going to break the bank, and just the sight of all this fresh, locally sourced fruit and seafood is worth the extra few cents.
4. Picnic Heaven
Restaurants and bars here can be expensive and, frankly, a little sub-par. This is the only part of the myth I did find to hold some truth. But does it at all hinder your enjoyment or quality of eating? Nope! Pack up all that delicious local produce you just bought from the markets, add a baguette and dessert from a bakery and you have yourself a top-notch picnic. Just don’t forget the wine and cheese, this is a French settlement after all!