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FAQs and Travel Tips

1. Where is New Caledonia?
2. How do I get there?
3. What is the weather like?
4. Do I need a visa?
5. What do I need to bring?
6. What is the local currency?
7. Will I be understood?
8. What is the time zone?
9. What if I have to plug in something?
10. What is the tipping policy?
11. Do I require any vaccinations?
12. What about the food?
13. What is the measurement system?

1. Where is New Caledonia?

New Caledonia is located in the western Pacific Ocean, in the Coral Sea, to the east of Australia and west of Vanuatu.

2. How do I get there?

Air France provides code–share flights from Paris via Tokyo, Osaka, or Seoul. Regular flights are available from Tokyo and Osaka on Aircalin. Air New Zealand and Qantas also serve New Caledonia airport. There are no direct flights from USA. You will most likely fly via Australia or Tahiti. There aren't many flights overall and little or no competition on routes, so airfare is usually quite expensive.

3. What is the weather like?

New Caledonia has a tropical climate and the weather is spring-like year round. Average temperatures are between 15° and 32°C depending on the season.

4. Do I need a visa?

Nationals of many countries do not require a visa to visit New Caledonia for a period of up to 3 months. This includes members of the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the US among others. You are required, however, to have return or onward tickets upon entering New Caledonia.

5. What do I need to bring?

You should bring sunscreen, brimmed hats, sunglasses, swimsuits, reef-walking shoes, insect repellent, and prescription medicine. Light clothing for the day, but also a sweat shirt and a windbreaker are recommended.

6. What is the local currency?

The local currency in New Caledonia is the French Pacific Franc (XFP) with 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 francs coins and 500, 1000, 5000 and 10,000 francs notes. US$1 is equivalent to around 83 French Pacific Francs. The French Pacific Franc is tied to the Euro. New Caledonia is part of the French Monetary Area. Australian and New Zealand currency are accepted in many tourist facilities and restaurants.

7. Will I be understood?

French is the official language in New Caledonia however most people involved in the tourist industry speak English and the majority of tourist brochures are written in English. This said, you'll need to speak some French if you venture outside of Noumea. There are an estimated 27 Kanak languages that coexist in New Caledonia, but after being actively discouraged by the French, there is no single unifying Kanak (Melanesian) language.

8. What is the time zone?

Local time in New Caledonia is GMT+11 hrs. New Caledonia is 18 hours ahead of Los Angeles.

9. What if I have to plug something in?

New Caledonia appliances operate on 220 volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. It uses plugs with two round prongs.

10. What is the tipping policy?

Tipping nor bartering are not part of the local culture, although you can round up your bill in the less traditional and more European restaurants where you have experienced great service.

11. Do I require any vaccinations?

No vaccinations are required for entry into New Caledonia unless travelling from an infected area. But once there it is strongly recommended to protect yourself against mosquitoes.

12. What about the food?

Restaurants are expensive. French food is (obviously) a specialty, but the range of foods available can be a little limited. Buy food from local markets, which are common to almost every town.
    Try:
  • Bougna, a traditional meal among the native Melanesians, which consists of some form of meat, pork, chicken, fruitbat, crab, etc, along with roots such as yams and sweet potatoes. This is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked under hot rocks heated in a fire.
  • Coconut crabs
  • All fruits seem to taste very good

13. What is the measurement system?

New Caledonia follows the metric system.

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