Betico 2 ferry, New Caledonia Betico 2 fast passenger ferry – Image courtesy of Ferry Betico

How to get around New Caledonia

There are multiple options to getting around New Caledonia, from frequent inter-island flights and ferries to a choice of land transport.

New Caledonia has a 5,000km (3,125 miles) network of mainly paved roads.

Buses, taxis and hire cars are all available as well as bicycles and motorcycles.


Transport options in New Caledonia

Air: Air Calédonie (www.air-caledonie.nc) offers regular services from Nouméa to Touho (east coast), Koné, Koumac, Belep (west coast), and to the neighbouring Ile des Pins and the Loyalty Islands of Maré, Ouvéa, Lifou and Tiga.

Nouméa Magenta Airport (GEA) serves domestic flights, and is located around 4km (2.4mi) northeast of Nouméa city centre, and approximately 50km (31mi) from La Tontouta International Airport.

Light aircraft and helicopters are also available from Air Alizé (www.airalize.com), Air Loyauté (www.air-loyaute.nc), Hélicocéan and Helisud (www.helisud.nc).


Sea: Betico 2 – an inter-island, fast catamaran ferry – operates a frequent service between Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands and the Iles de Pines (www.ncvoyages.com.au/ferry-betico-new-caledonia).

From Nouméa to Île des Pins takes 2 hours 30 minutes; Nouméa to Maré takes 4 hours; Maré to Lifou takes 2 hours; Lifou to Noumea takes 5 hours. Tickets can be purchased online. Additional sailings coincide with holiday weekends and festivals.

A water taxi service also operates from Anse Vata in Nouméa to the neighboring islets of Ile aux Canards (Duck Island) and l’Ilot Maitre (Master Island). Water taxis can be booked at the kiosk on Plages Loisirs beach at Anse Vata in Nouméa.


On land

New Caledonia has a good network of sealed roads. Drivers tend to be safe and courteous.

Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road. Seat belts are compulsory.

The speed limit on main roads is 110kmh (68mph) – though no one seems to pay attention to it – and in residential areas it is 50kmh (31mph).

Car hire: A good choice of international and local hire-car companies are represented in the capital. Most agencies, including Avis, Budget, Hertz and Europcar, have a desk at the airport as well as an office in Nouméa.

Drivers must be over 21 and hold a valid licence from their own country.

You can also hire bikes, motorbikes and scooters.

Taxi: Taxis are an easy way to get around Nouméa and most of the larger towns in New Caledonia have at least one reliable cab company, including Radio Taxis de Nouméa (+687-283-512) and Blue White Tours VIP (+687-764-128).

Taxis cannot be hailed on the street, instead they are booked in advance via the phone or picked up from a designated taxi stand. Hotels or stores will usually be happy to call a taxi for you.

Taxis run on a meter. Charges are for time and distance. There is a surcharge after 7pm and on Sundays.

Bike: Bicycles are available for hire, but you should be aware that on Grand Terre many drivers speed and are not particularly courteous to cyclists.

However, Ouvéa and Île des Pins are ideal for cycling. Bikes can be transported on the Betico ferry.

Bus: New Caledonia has a well developed bus network with comfortable buses and coaches which are good for getting around town as well as Grand Terre, and are cheaper than taking a taxi.

Karuia Bus (www.karuiabus.nc) runs public buses in the capital. These red-and-white buses operate from 6am to 7pm.

Tickets can be purchased beforehand from the main ticket office opposite the Compact Megastore, vending machines at bus stops or on board from the driver for a little more.

Lines 10 and 11 follow the beach roads to Baie des Citrons and Anse Vata. Line 40 goes to Magenta Airport and the Tjibaou Cultural Centre

Rai (tel: +687 277 766; www.rai.nc) provides a frequent bus service to every town on Grande Terre. There are several departure points around Noumea, depending on your destination. Check when you buy your ticket.

On islands other than Grand Terre there are practically no buses.

There are also two tourist bus routes in Nouméa: the Nouméa Explorer takes visitors to all the main attractions and hotels in the city; while a train style shuttle called Le Petit Trainloops along the most scenic parts of the town.


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Latest update: How to get around New Caledonia: 13 June, 2020


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