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New Caledonia Travel Guide

Airports

International Airport

La Tontouta Airport (airport code NOU) is 53 km northwest of Nouméa and 112 km southeast of Bourail. As your plane is taxiing up to the terminal, glance at the French air force hangars across the runway to see if their counterinsurgency helicopters are in.

Flashy airport transfer buses, to the right as you leave the terminal, meet all international flights but the charge stiff fares for the ride to Nouméa. You can also wait for the much less expensive Carsud public bus, to the left as you leave the terminal.

The public buses leave the airport about once an hour Monday to Saturday 0500-1740. On Sunday (a bad day to arrive) there are only a couple of public buses in the early morning and one more in the early afternoon (at 1335). Airport-bound, don't plan a tight connection if you travel this way.

A taxi to Nouméa will cost about US$100. If hitching is your thing, just walk one km out to the main highway—you'll have a ride to Nouméa in no time. Wait at the bus stop opposite the supermarket where all the buses from northern Grande Terre also stop.

Several car rental companies have counters at La Tontouta Airport but they're usually staffed only when they have reservations.

The airport bank branch inside the customs area is open for most arrivals, but not all departures. They give a rate similar to the banks in town with the usual commission deducted. An ATM is next to the airport post office beyond customs. Another bank is on the main highway near the airport but it only opens weekday mornings. The airport post office opens irregularly, and the duty free shop in the departure lounge is too expensive to be interesting. A reasonable self-service restaurant is upstairs in the airport (a plat du jour lunch is served daily). Due to security considerations, it's not possible to store excess luggage at the airport and the terminal building closes at night. The airport tax is included in the ticket price.

Domestic Airport

Magenta Airport (airport code GEA) is five km northeast of downtown Nouméa. A blue city bus passes the terminal door about every 15 minutes during the day. A taxi from the Place des Cocotiers will be over CFP 1,000. There are no coin lockers, so leave excess baggage elsewhere.