We had 5 nights in New Caledonia and decided to “wing it” – We booked 2 nights in a hostel in Noumea for our arrival and then planned to decide where to go and the best places to see when we arrived. We really wanted to go to Isle of Pines, however we didn’t realise it was school holidays AND the weekend meaning there was barely any accommodation left in the whole country. There was only one room left on the Isle of Pines for 1 night for $300, plus our boat there & back was another $300. If you are planning to travel on a budget and definitely during a busy period I recommend NOT winging it and pre-planning your trip!
We still did have an amazing time though and we ended up hiring a car to drive to the North to the region of Bourail and stay at Poe Beach. Again, the accommodation was fully booked so we spent 3 nights in a tent that the hostel was nice enough to pitch in their yard for us 😉
Read my New Caledonia Blog
If you do plan to stay on the main island below are my tips 🙂
WHERE TO GO
- A few hours North of Noumea in the Bourail region you will find Poe Beach. This beach is absolutely stunning! Its popular for kite surfing so it does get extremely windy, but on a good day its beautiful. In this region you should definitely walk the hill in Gouaro Deva. Park your car just before the Sheraton and walk up the hills to get some of the most impressive views in the world! Here you can also check out Le Bonhomme de Bourail – an impressive rock formation and from there you can also do the Three Bays Walk.
- If you’re staying in Noumea get out of the main CBD and head south (around 15 minutes drive) to Palm Beach for sunset and dinner. I saw one of the most amazing sunsets in my life here! And you will feel miles away from the hustle & bustle of Noumea city.
- We couldn’t make it due to accommodation not being available, but were told to visit Hienghene in the North of New Caledonia. It is a couple of hours from Poe Beach so I recommend incorporating both into your road trip.
- Again we couldn’t make it, but really wanted to visit the Isle of Pines which you can check out here: http://www.isle-of-pines.com – There are accommodation options to suit every budget. We were recommended to spend just 2-3 days here.
- Learn some French! I knew this was a French speaking country before going there, but also read English was widely spoken, but I found this wasn’t the case at all. At least learn some basics before your trip! Treat it was if you were going to France 🙂
- Pre-book your trip during peak season or if you are traveling on a budget
- Noumea is around 1 hour and an expensive shuttle from the International Airport. I recommend hiring a car from the airport or stay at an Airbnb close by. We found this one just 5 minutes drive which was super handy for our early flight: https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/9453020?checkin=16-09-2016&checkout=17-09-2016&guests=2&s=Cc9oJjVH&sug=50
- If you are planning to travel really budget and with some friends I recommend camping! There were some amazing camping spots we saw all over the country and a fraction of the price compared to hotels.
COSTS (All in AUD and published in August 2016)
New Caledonia is expensive! I don’t care what anyone says, its simply is, for everything. And I’ve been to some expensive countries in my time. This doesn’t mean not to go there, but be aware of the costs to plan your budget
- Accommodation: Basic hostel twin accommodation with shared bathroom in Noumea was $50 per night. It was NOT nice, but the view was amazing. Average hotel prices in Noumea are around $200-$300 per night. If you are on a budget I recommend Airbnb in Noumea and camping on the rest of the island! Camping was approximately $10-$15 per night per person
- Average meal at a restaurant/cafe $25-$30 / Average meal at a take-away road stop style $15-$20 / Beer at a restaurant $7 / The cheapest thing I found was cheese in the supermarket! Awesome French Brie for $3 🙂 / Cheap bottle of wine in the supermarket $10
- Car Hire for us for a tiny car with unlimited kilometres was $90 per day with a $2500 excess
- Transport from the Airport to City in a shuttle $37 per person!! (This is why I recommend picking up your car hire at the airport if you choose to hire a car.)
- 25 pack cigarettes $7
If you have any questions Email Me ? I’d be happy to help!