New Caledonia - Getting there & away, getting around
New Caledonia - Getting there & away
Major airlines that serve New Caledonia regularly include Air France, Qantas, Air New Zealand, Air Vanuatu, AOM and the charter company Corsair. Aircalin, or Air Calédonie International, is the other major airline, but its focus is Pacific destinations. After the Japanese and the French, the majority of tourists come from Australia, so you can often get good deals out of Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne. From Europe your best bet is to fly from France, or from the UK to eastern Australia where you can get a reasonable fare to New Caledonia. The major North American west coast departure points are San Francisco, Los Angeles and Vancouver. All international airlines land at Tontouta International Airport, 45km (28mi) north-west of Noumea. An airport departure tax of about US$15 was introduced in 1997 for adults and children.
If arriving by sea, Noumea is the only official port of entry for yachts; the peak season for arrivals is August to October. All cruise ships dock in Baie de la Moselle, Noumea's natural, deepwater harbour. They also drop anchor at various spots around New Caledonia so passengers can spend a day on the beach.
Getting around New Caledonia
Air Calédonie domestic services serve several towns on Grande Terre, each of the Loyalty Islands, Île des Pins and Waala on Îles Belep. You can also charter private planes and helicopters. The road network on Grande Terre is extensive and all the main roads are sealed, and nearly every major town or large village is connected by bus, leaving from Noumea's bus station (gare routière). All car rental companies are based in Noumea, but unfortunately their rates are high, and none will rent to anyone under 21. Animals and pedestrians on secondary roads can make driving hazardous in some areas, particularly at night. Thre is also a ferry service between Noumea and the loyalty islands and Île des Pins.