New Caledonia Flag

New Caledonia Travel Guide

The Northwest Coast

Koumac

This town of 3,500 inhabitants, 370 km northwest of Nouméa, has a Catholic church (1950) on the roundabout that was originally an aircraft hangar! Inside is a striking modern stained glass window, and a number of outstanding Melanesian-style woodcarvings. The cagou lectern is by Léonce Weiss, while the altar formed from an outrigger canoe, tabernacle shaped like a Kanak case, and holy water bearer in the form of a man are by Léonce's father, Charles Weiss. The Christ figure is by his grandfather, Victor Weiss.

The road inland beside the Catholic church leads eight km to some rather intriguing limestone caves (admission free, bring a flashlight). The first cave is back to the right and up some rocks, and the longest stretches three km underground. You could camp free at the entrance to the caves and there are picnic tables, but no water in the vicinity.

Koumac's small boat harbor is three km southwest of the traffic circle (turn left on the first road after the gendarmerie and keep straight). Several charter yachts operate out of here, and it's a nice picnic spot with tables overlooking the beach. A large army base is at the southeastern entrance to the city.

Transportation

Koumac's airport is four km northwest of the traffic circle. Air Calédonie has flights from Koumac to the Belep Islands and Nouméa.

Koumac's bus station (gare routière) is just 500 meters southeast of the traffic circle in town.

Drivers must be aware that the gas stations in Ouégoa and Pouébo don't sell unleaded gas, and no gas at all is available at Hienghène. Thus it's important to tank up at Koumac if you're headed east.

Continue to   Northwest Coast: North of Koumac   »