Do you need a car in Noumea?

Should you rent a car in Noumea New Caledonia > Noumea

Noumea Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

So for any visitor who just wants to fly into Noumea, put their feet up in a beach hotel, and of course spend a few hours looking round the amazing Tjibaou centre, then there really is no need for a car, because the main international airport is close enough to town for local taxis to suffice. With new Caledonia still having such a strong French influence, local buses are also perfectly reasonable, but don’t expect urban French standards with real time displays!

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However, to only stick around Noumea simply wouldn’t be doing New Caledonia justice, hence we would strongly recommend getting hold of a hire car and driving around this stunning island. Allow up to 6 hours to head all the way up to the top non-stop, and then a little bit more again to head down the eastern side. There really aren’t that many driving roads here, but it would be a bit of a stretch to do all this full circuit in a single day!

Why not? Visiting Noumea without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Noumea public transport quick facts

Train score



Water travel score


Overall public transport score


Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)


Many visitors will also want to continue island hopping by plane, and this might mean a relatively short stay in Noumea before heading on elsewhere. Local flights within New Caldeonia use the smaller Magenta Airport in Noumea, whereas international flights use the large Tontua Airport, some 50km away.

James says - a few trip notes:

Noumea is the one place in the world where I would love to go if he was given a blank airline ticket, but this capital of New Caledonia really is such a long way from anywhere that few Europeans or North Americans will have heard for it, unless they are French, because New Caledonia is a French overseas territory with local autonomy.

The most striking image of Noumea is one which might be familiar to anyone with an interest in architecture, and this is the Tjibaou Cultural Centre. This vast imposing complex, which was built to celebrate the local Kanak culture, is the only one of the late French President Mitterrand’s massive “Grand Projects” to be built outside Metropolitan France. This set of buildings was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, who first made his name by co-designing the Pompidou Centre in Paris (also a Grand Project), with British architect Richard Rogers. He has also since designed The Shard in London.

So our car hire advice verdict is that getting a rental car in Noumea is far from essential, but it’s probably still worth doing.


Car rental in - Noumea Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Noumea?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.

Is it worth hiring a car in Noumea?

Based on value for money

Should you rent a car in Noumea?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Noumea if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?


Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Noumea if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?


What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Noumea if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?



Final score:


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Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Would you hire a car in Noumea?

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