Nouméa

Bonjour!

We arrived at Nouméa, New Caledonia about 3pm local time (an hour ahead from Brisbane) on May 29th (Tuesday). Everyone including Varun and I were pretty much ready to get off the boat as cabin fever was starting to set in. We were advised by the captain that the boat would be in port until 9pm at which they would head off to Lifou Isle and anyone missing the boat, would have to find their own way onward.

videoAfter changing into hiking shoes and grabbing some stuff to disembark (water bottles, passports, etc), we headed through security and into the port terminal where everyone was shopping for souvenirs and finding out what to do. I had read before boarding the ship that P&O shore tours were extremely overpriced and that we could book tours for a fraction of the cost, if we did it on our own. Luckily the other blogs were right as for just $10 we could catch a tour bus that would take us around the city (as compared to the $69 P&O was charging). Our tour guide was French but spoke pretty good English and was quite comical. Our driver on the other hand, we suspect was drunk and had a lazy eye (he tried to fight one of the other drivers, it was pretty hilarious).

Our guide briefly went over the current state of Nouméa and New Caledonia as a whole while offering sights to see and tips on getting around. It seems Nouméa was used heavily by the US during WWII and the pacific war as many cannons were still left behind. The tour only lasted an hour but we took a ton of pics and videos before getting off in the city centre and walking around for a bit. We ended stopping by the supermarket as we brought alcohol on board the ship but didn't have any mixers (nor did they sell any onboard the ship). After having walked around for awhile and taking pics/vids we venture to a small cafe next to the boat where everyone with computers seemed to be crowded around. We assumed this was wifi and sat down to join (luckily you didn't have to purchase anything to use the free wifi). Adhering to our strict no Facebook policy that we made at the beginning of the trip, I Google Voiced the parents to let them know everything was alright and that we were at Nouméa. Varun also doing the same. Many of my emails started to come through as well, but most of it was junk email from Bond Uni regarding events, seminars, meaningless things I didn't care about.
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We decided to head back to the boat around 6ish as we were pretty exhausted and felt there wasn't much left to see in Nouméa that we hadn't already seen. Ate dinner then headed to the top deck to get videos of the city at night. We departed the port roughly 9:30pm bound for Lifou Isle but stayed up rather late drinking and dancing (even though knowing we had to get up at 9am to disembark for Lifou Isle).

Overall, Nouméa was a nice stopover. Not a place I would see myself living, but the people were friendly and kept to themselves. If you needed help, they were more than happy to assist you and everything seemed rather self-explanatory. We were able to get our passports stamped for free at the post office in the terminal as soon as we disembarked the ship. We ended up only spending money for the tour bus, mixers at the supermarket and a few souveniers here and there.

Salut!

-H

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