Handy tips and visitor information to make vacation planning easier

Planning a vacation to New Caledonia. Then you need to read our helpful tips and useful visitor information to ensure you make the most of your upcoming holiday.

Visas & useful Visitor Information

Immigration
Upon entering New Caledonia a tourist stay of max. 30 days is typically granted. You require a valid passport, which is valid for at least three months on arrival, a valid return or onward ticket and sufficient funds to finance your stay. You can demonstrate this with cash, travelers checks or a credit card. There are no special requirements with respect to mandatory vaccinations for tourists. Upon arrival, an “Arrival Card” “be filled with personal data; This is already being distributed on board the aircraft.

On arrival in New Caledonia, the traveler is asked for an explanation on any brought food, plants and products of animal origin. To protect the pristine nature and agriculture New Caledonia has strict rules regarding the importation of food, animals and plants.

International Departure in New Caledonia
Check-in time for international flights from New Caledonia is 120 minutes before departure. The airport tax (“Airport Departure Tax”) currently stands at 1570 XPF per person. This charge is already included in the price of pre-purchased tickets.

Electricity
The electricity in New Caledonia is 220V / 50Hz. The sockets are three-pole as in France.

Duty Free
In addition to items of a personal nature, visitors are allowed the following:

Tobacco: 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco or 50 cigars, a combination of tobacco products whose weight does not exceed 250g.

Alcoholic drinks 2 liters of wine and 1 liter of spirits.

Entertainment & Night Life
Only in Nouméa, Hienghène and Poindimié you will find a notable nightlife (restaurants, bars and discos). There are two casinos located in Noumea.

Outside these cities tourists mainly socialise in the evening at their hotel restaurants and bars. Some hotels offer on certain nights of the week, a traditional dance show.

Food & Drink
In Noumea there is a large variety of restaurants as well as several fast food restaurants, local “takeaways” and small restaurants (such as bistros, Pizarias and Asian restaurants). There are many excellent restaurants available here. Especially fish specialties are worth trying here. The dress code is usually informal “Casual”, although in upscale restaurants resorts sometimes evening dress is appreciated. Outside the larger cities and you are reliant on the outer islands in the restaurant of your accommodation.

New Caledonia has a varied cuisine, but most is French, Vietnamese, Chinese and Indonesian. A famous local dish is Bougna, a wrap filled with yams, sweet potato, banana and pieces of chicken, fish, crab or lobster.

Internet
If you have your laptop or smartphone along on your trip, you can use it in certain places using a wifi connection (e.g. At airports, hotel lobbies, at Starbucks, etc.)

If you want to access the internet on the go, that you need to purchase a SIM card (or dongle) for the UMTS network. These are for sale in the shops of the major telecom providers (such as Telstra and Vodafone). Along the main routes and in most places the mobile reception is good.

Currency & costs

Currency
The currency in New Caledonia is the Cour de Franc Pacifique (CFP). There are 500 notes, 1000, 5000 and 10,000 CFP and there are coins of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 10 CFP.

Paying by credit card (Visa, MasterCard & American Express) is very common. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks in daytime Francs, which you should take into account exchange costs.

Banks
In New Caledonia the banking system is fairly developed. Outside Noumea you will find only banks in the bigger villages. In Noumea, you can withdraw money without any problems with your debit card at cash machines (ATMs). Outside Noumea you will find ATMs in the bigger towns. Please note that sometimes there is a maximum amount you can take that to a vending machine. At the international airport Tontouta are present in the arrivals currency exchange counters and ATMs. Opening hours are: Mon-Fri 8.30 am 16.00.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)
n goods and services are subject to a sales tax of 8% in New Caledonia. This tax is also the export of articles, non-refundable. Since 1 January 1999 there is also a 6% tax on hotel accommodation.

Tipping
In principle, tipping is not mandatory, but if you have received exceptional service then you can express your appreciation by giving a small tip. Service charges and taxes are generally included in the price.

When to go

Climate
Between September and December, it is not hot and humid in New Caledonia . Therefore, there is less chance of rain. This is the best time to visit the islands. Between June and October it tends to be slightly cooler. For hikers, the cool season is perfect.

What to wear for the climate
When you plan your visit to the New Caledonia it is best to bring light summer clothing. When visiting a local village residents make sure not to show up in swimwear, but with shirt or t-shirt.

Consider a thin raincoat (for walks) and plastic sandals or reef shoes (for protection against coral). Bring a hat or cap to protect against the sun. The shops will otherwise provide virtually everything that you need to enjoy your holiday.

Festivals and Events
In New Caledonia there are four main annual festivals. If you plan to visit an area around a festival date, please book your hotel well in advance.

mid-March festival of yam (nationwide)
Easter Grand-Omelette Festival (Par Fayard)
late May avocado festival (nationwide)
late August Foire de Bourail (Bourail)

Getting there

The International Airport of New Caledonia (Tontouta) lies on the west coast of the main island of Grande Terre, 70 km north of the capital Noumea. At this airport only international flights operated.

These airlines conduct international flights:

Air Caledonie (to Auckland, Brisbane, Honiara, Nadi, Papeete, Port Vila, Walis and Futuna and Sydney)
Air France (to Paris)
Air New Zealand (Auckland [Nw.Zealand])
Air Pacific (Nadi [Fiji] C Air Vanuatu (Port Vila [Vanuatu])
Qantas (to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney [Australia])
Solomon Airlines (Honiara [Solomon Islands])
Virgin Australia (Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney [Australia])

Noumea also has an airport for domestic flights, it is much closer to the city (5 km east of the center).

All other airports and airstrips only serve the domestic air traffic.

Getting around

In Noumea reasonable public transport is available. Outside and on the other islands, you are mainly reliant on private transport (car, transfers, scooters and bikes).

Bus
On Grande Terre buss operate between the different cities. They are cheaper than taxis.

Boat
From Grande Terre a fast catamaran sails regularly between Noumea and Isle of Pines and the Loyalty Islands. You can also rent a boat if you want to sail through the area.

Health & safety

Health
The climate in New Caledonia is pleasant, therefore you usually do not need to take any special medical precautions. However, the best you can go to your family doctor for specific advice.

New Caledonia has almost no dangerous or poisonous animals. The most dangerous animal is probably the shark. Inside the reefs in the lagoon from time to time you will see small harmless reef sharks. The larger shark species – such as the hammer head, tiger shark and white shark – like deep water so you are only likely to encounter if you are scuba diving outside of the lagoon.

Remember that the coral is sharp. To prevent sores and possible infections, we recommend that you wear plastic sandals or reef shoes when you are walking or in shallow water over coral is swimming over the coral. If you have to cut the coral the risk of infection is very large, do not wait to long to use antibiotics.

Water in New Caledonia
Tap water is generally safe to drink on Fiji, but chlorinated. For safety, however, we advise you to boil your drinking water or buy bottled water.

Sunburn in New Caledonia
Fiji is located in the tropics, the air is not polluted and pure. This brings strong solar radiation unhindered on earth. Head covering and a sunscreen with a high protection factor is so highly recommended.

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Country Profile

Population
The population of New Caledonia is 262,00.

Religion
Sixty percent of the people of New Caledonia are Roman Catholic and thirty percent are Protestant.

Language
French is the official language. A number of Melanesian-Polynesian dialects are spoken. English is widely used in tourist areas.