Where is Noumea? A Guide For Cruise Passengers.

Cruising to the South Pacific from Australia? 

Chances are you will be stopping in Noumea – it is one of the most popular Ports of Call for ships cruising from Brisbane and Sydney.  But where is Noumea?

Maybe you have travelled to Noumea before without really knowing where you were, or maybe you are a first-time cruiser who wants to check out the destination before you travel….

Following on from last week , I have put together some real-world information to help you work out where in the world you are going!

Where in the World are we?

Noumea is the Capital city of New Caledonia – New Caledonia being a French-ruled group of islands lying in the Pacific Ocean about 1200kms east of Australia.

map of where is noumea

Did you know that New Caledonia was named by Captain James Cook when he sighted it in 1774 – it reminded him of Scotland, hence the name.


Noumea can be found on the Southern tip of the largest island of the group – Grand Terre (“the Mainland”).

Grande Terre is a long thin island 350km from North to South and between 50-70kms wide with a large mountain range running its entire length.


grand terre new caledonia

The total population of New Caledonia is just over 270,000 people, with close to 100,000 of those living in central Noumea.


Getting to Noumea:

Flight time from Brisbane is 2 hours and from Sydney is 3 hours.  You will land at the Tontouta International Airport which is a 45min drive from the Noumea City Centre.

Cruising from Brisbane you are one sea day away, and from Sydney 2 sea days away from Noumea.

If Noumea is on your cruise schedule you are almost guaranteed to arrive there (unlike some other Ports that can be hit & miss) because of the protected location.


Arrival by Cruise Ship:

Your cruise ship will arrive into the protected deep-water harbour that is right on the doorstep of the Noumea City Centre.

There are two different berths that the Cruise ships may use –

1: Right in front of the Cruise Ship terminal - here you can just walk off the ship and begin your adventures.

2: Just across the bay at the Container Port - here a bus will take you the few minutes across to the Cruise Terminal.  You are not allowed to walk from the Container Port, you must use the bus.  The buses run constantly through the day, so you can take a bus back to the ship whenever you like.


ship docking map noumea

You should think of visiting Noumea the same as visiting a city in Australia; let’s use Brisbane as an example:

Noumea the city is made up of the city centre (just like inner-city Brisbane) and then surrounding suburbs (or districts) which spread out from the city (say Mt Gravatt, Chermside). Further afield you will still be on the main island but travelling further distances to new districts (say the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast).


So Welcome to Noumea!  What now? 

Many people say, “Don’t get off the Ship”!

I say, “Don’t be stupid”!

Of course you want to get off the ship!

Get out and experience the France of the South Pacific

noumea church

Just please don’t walk into the city centre and say you’ve seen it all and you hate it!

To get the most out of your visit to Noumea you need to do more than walk into the city!

We understand when you visit by cruise ship you only have ONE DAY to experience the place,  so geographically there is a limit to how far you can go.

Luckily Noumea packs plenty of variety and beauty into a small area!

For example, the lovely beaches of Lemon Bay and Anse Vata are only a 15 minute bus ride away.


Do yourself a favour and do some research before you arrive in Noumea.

Better still, keep following our Blog and we will share all our knowledge with you!


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