Things to see, do and eat in Noumea, New Caledonia: Expert expat travel tips

Debbera Robert is the founder and manager of Comptoir Eco, a wholesaler of reusable goods that aims to help reduce waste. Originally from Gayndah, in country Queensland, Debbera met her Caledonian husband at university and moved to his country for a year – which has somehow turned into almost 25 years, facebook.com/comptoir.eco.nc/

SEE

The amazing Tjibaou Cultural Centre is a stunning waterfront park with 10 pavilions designed by famous architect Renzo Piano. Each showcase Kanak (indigenous) heritage through a mix of permanent and temporary exhibitions, a truly wonderful way to learn about Kanak culture. Make sure you check out the Kanak Trail on the centre's grounds. You can see traditional huts and unique vegetation. Another wonderful foodie attraction is the market at Port Moselle. There's lots of fresh produce and locally made products and souvenirs. The café in the market is a great place to people-watch while enjoying a café au lait and croissant filled with pawpaw jam! I suggest heading down on a Saturday – it's the market's busiest day, newcaledonia.travel

DO

The Promenade Pierre-Vernier is on the other side of Noumea's mountain – Ouen Toro – and just beyond the popular Anse Vata beach. It has a seven-kilometre track lined with coconut trees that runs along the water, with fitness equipment along the way. Locals head here each day to walk, run, cycle, roller blade or work out on the fitness equipment. And the views over the water are spectacular.

EAT

Au Petit Café has creative menus that celebrate locally grown, seasonal produce, and the menu changes weekly. The only thing that stays permanently on the menu is the Uncontournable (unavoidable) passionfruit cheesecake. Every time I eat there it's a culinary discovery. The food is French fusion with fresh local produce, and the service is great. Be careful though, it's popular with locals and is only open Tuesday to Friday. So, make sure to book early. See auptitcafe.nc

DRINK

My favourite bar is MV Lounge. It's located right on the Baie des Citrons and overlooks the water, a great spot for a sunset cocktail. My favourite is the mojito, but The Pink Floyd Martini is popular amongst the locals, and it has a dance floor inside which is perfect for a boogie later in the evening, facebook.com/mvloungenoumea/

AVOID

This is less so an avoid and more so a piece of advice – even if you don't speak French, do try. New Caledonia is a territory of France, and French is the official language. Attempting to speak the language shows good manners, and a simple ''bonjour" or "merci" will go a long way.

Comments