Noumea is an intoxicating swirl of contradictions. Urban but with an island time vibe; in the South Pacific, but with character traits from the other side of the world; beachy but surrounded by thickly-forested mountains. It also has a strong time warp factor – it could be a forgotten French resort city from another era.
On the main island of Grand Terre and by far New Caledonia’s largest settlement, Noumea’s businesslike centre sits next to a yacht-filled marina, before giving way to beachside neighbourhoods and green hills. From the top, look out over the world’s largest lagoon and Noumea’s exceptional natural beauty is instantly apparent.