Though it’s only a few hours’ flight from the east coast of Australia, this tropical oasis can also feel a world away from home – so having some New Caledonia travel tips can help you feel comfortable on your way to your holiday. While certain aspects of the territory may feel familiar, the French influence over the culture and language brings a touch of Europe to proceedings.
It’s always a good idea to leave yourself plenty of time to plan ahead, no matter how close to home your destination is. Sufficient planning and preparation will ensure you get the maximum amount of enjoyment possible out of your travels.
Whether travelling by air or sea, all visitors to New Caledonia must hold a valid passport. Visitors from Australia and New Zealand can spend up to three months in New Caledonia without having to apply for a visa, provided your passport is valid for at least six months after your original departure date.
The local currency in New Caledonia is the Central Pacific Franc (CFP). New Caledonia is part of the French monetary area and, as such, the cash you exchange here can also be used in other regions of French Polynesia. Australian and New Zealand dollars are also widely accepted currencies in shops, hotels, and restaurants. For more on currency, visit the currency page.
New Caledonian food is a varied mix of fresh seafood, poultry, root vegetables, and fresh fruit. The influence of classic French cuisine means that certain delicacies such as venison, aged cheese, and French wines are also available in certain restaurants and hotels. If you have any special dietary requirements, it’s always best to ask your waiter or a member of staff for required amendments to the menu.
Tipping is not widely practised in New Caledonia. Much like in many European nations, you can round up your bill or leave a tip if you have received exceptional service, at your own discretion. It’s also good to note that bartering in markets and shops is not part of the accepted local trade culture.
Electrical outlets in New Caledonia usually supply electricity at 220 volts, compared to Australia’s standard of 240 volts. To enable the use of Australian standard electrical products, you’ll need to purchase an appropriate adapter prior to your trip. This will ensure you can keep your phone, laptop, camera, and other gadgets charged each day.
New Caledonia, as part of the French Republic, uses French as its official language. However, 28 distinct Kanak languages are also spoken across the territory, in addition to Indonesian, Vietnamese, Tahitian, Wallisian, and Chinese. With the territory’s relative proximity to Australia and New Zealand, English is also spoken in many hotels, restaurants, shops, and across many guided tours.
La Tontouta International Airport is the primary airport serving New Caledonia. La Tontouta is located on the main island of Grand Terre, in the Paita commune of Noumea. The airport is approximately a 47km drive from the capital city's centre. New Caledonia enforces strict customs laws, especially in regards to the importation of foodstuffs and flora.