New Caledonia photo by Jeremy Bezanger

New Caledonia Driving Guide

New Caledonia is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-08-03 · 9mins.

New Caledonia is an exceptional island resting in the territorial continent of Oceania near Australia. The British navigator, James Cook, made the legendary discovery of this fancy treasure in 1774. The sovereign state’s name originates from its natural mountainous surroundings, making James remember his hometown, Scotland. Wandering around New Caledonia’s mesmerizing gems, the fantastic ecosystem’s diversity will welcome the tourists.

New Caledonia features the Terre rouge. It’s a gneiss outcrop that interestingly turns into a 40-mile mountain range housing the states’ Mount Panie, the highest elevated point. Some majestic streams and lagoons also gorgeously cascade at the bottom. Based on the 2020 population estimate by the United Nations, New Caledonia’s citizens are now at 285, 498. For the mother language, Spanish is the state’s native.

How Can This Guide Help You?

When considering engaging tourism in this country, travelers should take the innovative wanderlust style. Driving in New Caledonia can assure explorers an ultimate enticing experience in discovering the nation’s beautiful jewels. Its convenience is like a life hack that will mind-blown others that it’s possible to work out. Allotting time for purchasing a ticket and loading a transportation card will no longer be needed in crafting an itinerary

But, before an explorer grabs the chance to hit New Caledonia’s road, obtaining an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is an essential item to possess. It’s an official translation of a foreigner’s driver’s license that is valid to use abroad. Knowing more about the legal information about driving in New Caledonia by car, this driving guide will give tourists an idea about an IDP essence, the nation, and the road rules.

General Information

New Caledonia is a Melanesian state near the picturesque nation of Australia and Vanuatu. Its surrounding reefs and pristine lagoons were on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 2008. It’s no wonder why most of the natural treasures in this nation are precious like a diamond.

If travelers locate the central tourist hub, make sure to input Noumeá as the destination point, as it is the country’s vibrant capital city. For culturally curious about what New Caledonia is specifically, read further on this guide. It has useful information about its geography, native dialect, land area, government, and tourism.

Geographical Location

This French Nouvelle-Calédonie state is diplomatically situated over 750 miles off the eastern section of Australia. Along its fascinating coastline is the breathtaking nation’s gorgeous reef, which ranks second to the Great Barrier Reef. Its natural landscapes are gloriously rising in a double chain of central mountains. In observing its whole structure, the nation’s size is smaller than the New Jersey state.

Languages Spoken

In New Caledonia, the mother tongue is French. Another commonly used dialect in the state is the Kanak. The Kanak Language is part of the Austronesian dialect family. Besides the two, there are over 28 local dialects commonly used in the country. Despite the richness in the native tongue, most of them start to disappear. So only a few can still use some of it today. The use of English is primarily in tourist hubs.

Land Area

The country’s territorial scope is 18,576 square kilometers, making it the primary land among the Pacific islands. This Pacific Ocean state with neighboring nations, Australia, and Vanuatu, is a secret gem to explore as it is full of magnificent lagoons and tempting waters to dip in.


Before the British navigator and explorer James Cook discovered New Caledonia in 1774, Melanesians first inhabited the nation for 3000 BCE until the late 18th century CE. After Cook’s epic hunt, another navigator followed him. From that point, the iron industry between sandalwood and Australia began. When the protestants from the Loyalty Islands set foot in 1841, Protestant and Roman Catholicism started to grow.

Delving its intriguing history, New Caledonia is formerly a penal colony of over 5,000 Communard deportees sent by Napoleon III in 1894. It seems to be a perfect site with its remote location to make it a prison for some opponents from different France rulers. However, in 1897, the newly hailed ruler abolished the jail. Because of its legendary battles to solve the nation’s conflicts, New Caledonia now has an impressive mix of cultures.


The existing government system in New Caledonia is a parliamentary democracy, a kind of political ruling where the parliament chooses the government. The sovereign state’s head is the President of the French Republic with a High Commissioner representative.

New Caledonia follows the Noumea Accord 1998 and Organic Law 1999, which primarily mandates its diplomatic relation with France and distributes the government’s accountability to its branches.


Wonderful environmental gems, top-notch lagoons, prosperity in ocean life, there’s no doubt that New Caledonia can perform well in boosting the tourism industry. The country is a mesmerizing place to visit as it can also give a secluded vibe that everyone dreams of experiencing. Another intriguing thing about this nation is the captivating mix and influence of culture. Travelers will wonder how French and Melanesian can blend so well.

The number of tourists visiting the Melanesian state continues to increase each year. According to its 2018 statistical data on tourism, New Caledonia garnered 120,000 visitors in 2018. That’s quite an improvement compared to the 2015 record, which only counted 114,000 foreign explorers. The data information mentioned proves that New Caledonia can match the touristy countries in accommodating nationals worldwide.

International Driver’s Permit FAQs

Non-Caledonians must get an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) to have a legal highway-bound journey on the sovereign’s road. An IDP is an exclusive permit to obtain when choosing to drive in a foreign land. Skipping the essential step will mean prohibition from using any rental cars outside the home country. Also, a driver should have a valid driving license in New Caledonia aside from an IDP. It must have a photo on it and a valid signature.

If a foreign national has a French driving license, there’s no need to apply for an IDP. However, Caledonian authorities still advise outlanders to secure an IDP. Possessing one is not difficult. An applicant will only have to go to the International Driver’s Association. Tick the application button, fill in the details and provide payment information. Upon submission, the IDA will send the digital copy within the day via email upon approval.

Is A Native Driver’s License Valid in New Caledonia?

The validity of a domestic driving license in New Caledonia will depend if the driver’s card uses a French alphabet. If it is in the French language, tourists may use it. But, if not, having an official translation of a native driver’s license is mandatory. Another thing is, an IDP is a primary requirement for some car rental agencies.

Do not hesitate to acquire an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) if it will bring confidence in taking a highway-bound trip. The International Driver’s Association offers a translation of your driver’s license in 12 languages for over 150 countries worldwide. So, there will be no excuses for not obtaining one when it’s easy to get one.

Do I Need an IDP to Drive in Cities and Districts of New Caledonia?

All nationals holding a non-French driver’s license should have an official translation upon driving in New Caledonia, especially in the city. An International Driver’s Permit (IDP) will serve as the legal translation of a native driver’s license. Road Enforcers and highway police primarily monitor the city roads as it’s the central tourist points. Possible checkpoints are usual in the capital, so acquiring an IDP is a must.

Driving in New Caledonia’s districts may challenge foreign drivers. Unpaved routes, undeveloped roads, and potholes are evident. When it comes to road monitoring, it has less prohibition. However, it doesn’t mean that disobedience is acceptable. An International Driver’s Permit is still mandatory. Getting an IDP from the International Driver’s Association is the most convenient way to own one.

Does An IDP Replace a Native Driver’s License?

Keeping an original and local driver’s license alone does not suffice the legal conditions when driving in New Caledonia by car. A non-citizen of the country needs to have an IDP. Without it, Caledonian officers will see it as driving without a license. It’s not a new fact that operating a steering wheel without legal permission is against the law. An IDP is only an official translation of a driver’s license. It will only validate that a tourist is a competent driver, not a replacement.

Renting a Car in New Caledonia

To find the exquisite visual of New Caledonia’s gems amusing, renting a car is the ideal match to appreciate its beauty. Choosing to maneuver a foreign vehicle can give tourist drivers epic freedom and convenience. Less trigger to stress is among the perks that one can have when planning to drive abroad. It’s a relaxing voyage to experience in a lifetime.

Before checking out rental car websites, be sure that a renter is at least 21 years of age. It is a minimum requirement of car rental shops to its customers. A reserver must also show a valid driver’s license and an IDP to ensure competence in driving. To have an IDP, visit the International Driver’s Association. Begin the application by supplying details, including name, address, city/state, country, and zip code for a permit in driving in New Caledonia.

Car Rental Companies

There are notable and top-rated car rental companies in New Caledonia. Some of those are Europcar, Sixt, Avis, Point Rouge, and Hertz. Booking in any of those car rental shops will guarantee legitimacy. However, renters who will make an online booking should be vigilant against fraudsters.

There are notable and top-rated car rental companies in New Caledonia. Some of those are Europcar, Sixt, Avis, Point Rouge, and Hertz. Booking in any of those car rental shops will guarantee legitimacy. However, renters who will make an online booking should be vigilant against fraudsters.

Documents Required

For novices in tourist driving abroad, mandatory documents need to be present when reserving a rental car. It assures the rental car agent that their renter is a licensed driver. If booked online, physical copies are compulsory to exhibit when meeting the agent at the airport or the store itself. To give newbies an idea of what to bring when reserving a rental vehicle, refer to the list below.

  • Foreign Passport
  • Original Driver’s License
  • International Driver’s Permit (IDP)
  • Paying card
  • Complete Itinerary

Do note that the documents above are still subject to change depending on the chosen rental company. Those are only the general papers that a renter should present upon booking.

Vehicle Types

To choose a car type to book, make sure to have the final passengers’ count. Without it, it will be hard to select what vehicle will suit the group. When everything is on track, start searching online about what car will fit the whole family. In New Caledonia, tourist drivers can have any type they prefer. To have a general knowledge about the usual car rental types to reserve, below are the specific details.

  • Mini (4 adults)
  • Economy (5 adults)
  • Intermediate (5 to 6 adults)

When dealing with the car rental agent, be sure to inform whether there’s a need to install a car seat or not. Do also check if the driving kits and equipment are complete. Of course, do not forget to ask for an emergency number in case of a road emergency. It’s an essential tip that travelers shouldn’t miss out on.

Car Rental Cost

Typically, foreign renters can avail of a rental car for $40/day in New Caledonia. The usual fee coverage of rental vehicles includes gas mileage, driving kits and equipment, airport services, car seats, a navigation system, and third liability insurance. The said fee also includes taxes and other surcharges.

If there are additional features to include, renters should raise them to the car rental provider. For an estimated cost of the vehicle for hire, below are the approximate price to note.

  • Economy - $47/day
  • Intermediate SUV - $58/day
  • Compact - $58/day
  • Standard SUV - $63/day
  • Luxury Van (Passenger) - $67/day
  • Full-size truck - $74/day

Age Requirements

In New Caledonia, they require a person to be at least 18 years to operate a vehicle and have a valid driver’s license. But, talking about rental cars, the age requirement is different. A renter should be at least 21 years old to book. It’s the lowest minimum age that most rental stores ask. There’s also an additional fee to pay depending on the age bracket.

Car Insurance Cost

Insurance protects tourist drivers from cashing out large bucks in covering the damages that may occur on the road. Availing one should be directly from the car rental store, or if the renter is a private car owner, extending car insurance abroad will suffice. Buying insurance from a third-party agent may cost the renter higher than the average. Tourists must carry the insurance documents while on the road. It should be with the driver’s license and IDP.

Car Insurance Policy

Some car rental agencies include third liability insurance in their packages. However, a few companies charge it a higher amount. Besides the third liability, other car insurance policies exist. The Collision Insurance can cover damage to the vehicle after an unexpected incident. The Comprehensive Insurance is a next-level version of Collision. Aside from it, the Comprehensive Insurance can cover vandalism, weather condition, and stray animal accidents.

Road photo in New Caledonia Photo by Jeremy Bezanger

Road Rules in New Caledonia

In fulfilling the ways to be an ideal traveler, observing compliance with the sovereign state’s regulations is necessary. An example of mandatory obedience abroad is abiding by traffic rules. It’s an obligation that a tourist driver should never forget. The establishment of traffic protocols ensures that vehicles’ flow on the road is smooth and no congestion. It’s one way of how the New Caledonian Government improves the transportation system.

Important Regulations

Upon hopping inside the vehicle, you must know the basic driving rules in New Caledonia. Enforcers heavily monitor the traffic flow in the state. The country’s authorities also strictly impose zero-tolerance against violators. So, any unlawful actions against the driving rules in New Caledonia will receive appropriate punishment and charges.

Drunk Driving

Incorporating complete senses and focus is a crucial thing on the road. Any disruptions that can make a driver entertain other unnecessary matters can lead to a road accident. Among the top reasons for vehicular road rage is alcoholic driving. In New Caledonia, the legal BAC limit is 0.05% only. Exceeding the blood alcohol level will mean facing severe fines and confiscation of a driver’s license.

When New Caledonian officers caught an outlander driving under the influence of alcohol, they would conduct a random breath test. Any form of rejections from the said test will make the officers invite the foreigner to head to their station.

Mobile Phone Use

Lending full attention on the road is mandatory. Entertaining distractions are strictly against the driving rules in New Caledonia. Using a handheld device while coasting a moving vehicle is an offense. Maneuver at the side of the road to make a call. If in case of emergencies, try to use the hand-free system. When booking a rental car, inquire if you can have a vehicle with that feature.

Parking Norms

Spotting secured parking areas are not that challenging in New Caledonia. Over 3,000 spaces are free of charge. Tourist drivers can pull over at the side of the road to park. However, it is still better to find a secured parking space. It may be free or not, to be at least you know that the area is safe. Do not also leave any valuable items behind.

Before Getting in the Driver’s Seat

Upon beginning the highway-bound journey, the designated tourist driver should have a good health condition. Ensuring that everything is in a healthy state will also assure the safety of the trip. No one wants to get sick on the road trip day, so better take a proper meal and drink medicine if necessary. Building up focus is also essential.

While the others are preparing, checking the car’s condition must be a priority. Do take another verification if the vehicle has enough driving kits and equipment, gas, and extra wheel. Take also a test on the clutches, breaks, and accelerator if it’s working. There’s no harm trying it.

General Standards of Driving

A quick briefer before traversing the highways should be a usual practice to do every time a tourist driver hits the road. It’s a wise exercise to normalize as it can freshen up the driver’s brain about the learnings and essential reminders that need to keep in mind. In this block, explorers will find out the vital notes to jot down before hopping inside the vehicle and passing through the roadways and parking protocols.

Of course, do not miss out on double-checking if the driver has the requirements for driving in New Caledonia, like visa, driver’s license, IDP, and rental car documents.

Speed Limits

As outlanders hit the state’s highways, exercising the standard rules is a brilliant idea. It will help authorities catch stubborn drivers on the road. Now, among the prior knowledge to learn in driving is the speed limit. It is a legal velocity to sustain on the road. It’s also a measure to manage the smooth congestion of moving vehicles. To keep foreign drivers informed about the allotted speed limits range in New Caledonia, below are the designated limits per road section.

  • Residential roads - 30 km/h
  • Towns & Cities - 50 km/h
  • Built-up roads - 110 km/h

Daring to go beyond the limit will have to face sanctions following the law. There are speed cameras on the roads. Better beware of every movement on highways. No one wants to end up in detention on a trip.

Seatbelt Laws

Fastening a seatbelt means reducing the hazardous impact in case of a road crash. It’s also part of a precautionary measure to take when riding a moving car. When driving in New Caledonia, especially in Noumea, all passengers should wear their seat belts. Surprise checkpoints are everywhere in the capital. For tourists with toddlers, be sure to have a car seat installed inside. Ask the car rental provider to install one.

Driving Directions

In discovering the alluring treasures of this sovereign nation, going through a rental vehicle is a bright choice to make. Explorers can freely have a rewarding jewel hunting around New Caledonia. However, before a tourist can get the fantastic convenience, familiarizing the roundabout is the first step. It’s a typical road section when driving in New Caledonia’s city. It’s also the standard zone when a driver should let another vehicle move first.

There are two routes where a roundabout is usually around. Suppose travelers are from the La Tontouta International Airport. The second is if the tourists will head from Poindimie, a quite faraway city of New Caledonia. When starting to drive from any of the said points, do not forget to slip the essential items, like the original driver’s license, IDP, passport, and visa intended for driving in New Caledonia.

Traffic Road Signs

Navigating routes and directions in this Melanesian state is easy, especially if the international visitors traverse the city roads. Traffic signages are clear enough to read. However, some street marks have incomplete characters and images. With this, a reliable map when driving in New Caledonia is a must. Particular signs differ from other states. So, better read about them ahead to avoid confusion.

One specific sign that may confuse foreigners is the red slash mark that overlaps a road sign. When encountering this sign, it means that it’s the end of a particular restriction. In dealing with the written language on the road signages, most of them are in French. Tourists may download an application for easy translation of words. Overall, road marks are not that challenging to understand.

Right of Way

The designated driving lane in New Caledonia is on the right side of the road while moving ahead from another vehicle is on the left. Generally, all drivers must always give the right of way whenever they traverse provincial roads. For instance, a car approaching the right side of the road tends to pull over at a rest stop. The driver ahead should give the leeway for the vehicle. This right of way rule only applies to town roads.

Provoking the authorities in committing violations through disobedience has no safe place in the law. Punishment and charges will apply based on the level of a breach. Be wary also on using a map while driving in New Caledonia. Navigate routes with caution.

Following the road traffic law of New Caledonia, drivers should be at least 18 years old to operate a vehicle and qualify to have a driver’s license. To get legal consent, enrolling first in a driving school should be the top priority. Minors and non-legal owners of a driver’s license do not have any rights to hold a steering wheel. Any attempts at risking someone to drive without any valid documents will settle severe fines and charges.

It is vital to assure passengers that the designated driver holds a legal driver’s license. It’s a safety measure to have when an unexpected road accident happens in the middle of the road. Avoiding troubles should be a top priority. Remember that the road trip must be a fun and exciting journey, not a nightmare.

Laws on Overtaking

Going ahead from another vehicle should be done on the left side of the road. It’s the assigned lane for overtaking. In doing this movement, drivers should consider the space and leeway to do it. Illegal overtaking is strictly against the law. If there’s a safe space to do it, be sure to send signals to other drivers. Alert them that you will overtake. It’s the best way to ensure that no one will get hurt.

Be cautious when driving on New Caledonia’s city roads. Always abide by the traffic regulations. Tolerating reckless drivers will leave a nasty remark in the country.

Driving Side

In New Caledonia, the driving side is on the right. Overtaking is on the left lane. Remember to be a responsible traveler in a foreign nation. It’s an essential trait to apply in real-life situations as many forget to follow protocols. Do not tolerate irresponsible explorers. It won’t bring anything good.

If this Melanesian state is the final getaway road-trip destination, obtaining an IDP through the International Driver’s Association is mandatory. The IDA has a lot of services to offer. From translation, replacement, and worldwide shipping, getting an IDP from the site is way more effortless than any other.

Driving Etiquette in New Caledonia

Performing ethical demeanor is one way of displaying respect and decent morals, especially in a foreign territory. It’s an advantageous trait to possess as a person can efficiently deal with different people without worries. It’s also a helpful attitude when driving in New Caledonia with a map. A traveler can comfortably ask a local for assistance. Being a professional individual is not difficult to do unless a person does not welcome that trait.

Adapting dignified values can mold a person to be a respectable citizen. It’s a good practice to exercise as it will help an outlander showcase proper actions in whatever situation comes along the way.

Car Breakdown

Most travel planners often miss out on crafting plans for possible road emergencies. As excitement fills the air, many forgot to include back-up actions in case an unexpected scenario happens. Now, make sure when deciding to have an international trip to try to prioritize the road emergencies. It’s vital to have when driving in New Caledonia, especially if the weather is not fair.

The general first-aid procedures when experiencing a car break down are on the list below. Take note that these guidelines are only the standard ones.

  1. Switch on the hazard lights before coasting at the side
    Do not wait for the vehicle to shut down completely. If something weird goes on, look for a safe zone and turn on the hazard light. In this way, upcoming drivers will have the idea ahead that there is something facing trouble.
  2. Prepare the appropriate kits and outfit to wear
    Once settling the car at a safe side, checking the problem is the next step. But, before doing so, getting the driving kits and a reflective jacket is a primary concern. Those two are vital to have when fixing a vehicle on the road. As the designated driver and one adult hop out from the car, make sure they have enough kits to fix the car’s problem.
  3. Call Out the Car Rental Service Provider for Quick Response
    While seeing the root of the car break down, do not forget to dial the car rental agent’s number. It’s better to contact the agent right away for immediate resolution of the problem. Do make sure that when dealing with a car rental provider, asking for an emergency contact must be a compulsory thing before wrapping up the agreement.
  4. Sneak for a Local Citizen’s Hand for Immediate Help
    Traversing the city highways is not a matter when facing road trouble as travelers can spot a police officer patrolling around. However, only locals can give a quick hand when a tourist driver is on a rural road. Waiting for a professional may take hours to arrive. It’s not that great to get stranded for long in the middle of nowhere. New Caledonians are polite and have a pleasant personality. It’s not that difficult to speak to them.

Police Stops

Non-New Caledonians will most likely face random police stops on city roads. When approaching one, be sure to follow the enforced protocols. When driving in Noumea, New Caledonia, most of the patrol officers are present. Caution and vigilance are essential. Do not recklessly violate any road rules. If a police officer hails a driver, pulling over is the best move.

Keep calm and stay professional. Send the authorities a warm greeting before figuring out the reason for calling out. Wait for the signal when to present travel documents. An IDP, original driver’s license, passport, and car rental documents are the typical requirements that enforcers ask.

Asking Directions

Tracking directions in New Caledonia is manageable when traversing the highways using a navigator. But, when approaching rural sections may give tourists a hard time locating their destination. Some street marks and signages are missing in these particular areas. It is essential to practice the typical phrases used in New Caledonia. French is the official language of the country. Learning the said dialect will leave a stunning impression on locals.

Here are the useful things convenient to learn about the familiar words and phrases in New Caledonia. Don’t forget to note some terms. It’s a tip that an explorer should not miss out on.

  • Hello!
  • Pardon, excuse me!
    (Pardon, excusez-moi)
  • Do you speak English?
    (Parlez-vous anglais?)
  • I do not speak French.
    (Je ne parle pas français)
  • Can you help me?
    (Pourriez-vous m’aider?)
  • Speak slowly, please.
    (Parlez lentement, s’il vous plaît)
  • I am searching for a hotel.
    (Je cherche l’hôtel)
  • Where is the beach/city center?
    (Où est la plage/le centre-ville?)
  • Is it far/close?
    (Est-ce que c’est loin/proche?)
  • Thank you!
  • Police station
    (Le poste de police)
  • Hospital
  • Public restrooms
    (Les toilettes publiques)


Foreign drivers will positively encounter checkpoints in the cities. Since tourists mostly head over to top-rated sites, road enforcers focus more on the crowded people. The possibilities of emergencies are high in a dynamic place. Authorized personnel needs to monitor the crowds from time to time. Prevention of risks and hazards is the primary concern. If an international citizen approaches a checkpoint, presenting the following items is mandatory.

  • International Driver’s Permit (IDP)
  • Original Local Driver’s License
  • Valid Foreign Passport
  • Approved Itinerary
  • Car Rental Documents

To have an IDP, go to the browser and input the International Drivers Association page. Click the application button, supply the information details needed, like name, address, city/state, and country’s zip code for driving in New Caledonia’s legal consent. A digital copy of an IDP will pop out in the email provided upon application within the day.

Other Tips

As the emergency is a top priority, gathering knowledge about appropriate action in solving a vehicular accident is a valuable thing. It can help the people involved reduce their worries and anxieties about what to do.

What Should I Do in Case of Road Accidents?

Worst-case scenarios are the miserable nightmares to have when traveling abroad. It’s like a dreadful curse to avoid when outside the home country. But, no one can predict a safe journey. With this, preparing for such accidents is a must. If a foreign driver is involved in a vehicular accident, unnecessary movements are strictly prohibited. Instead, calling for the police is the appropriate way to resolve the matter.

If there are fatalities like injuries, tapping an ambulance should be a priority. Do not wait for the people with severe cases to face more serious complications without any first-aid medication. When everything is clear and authorities are starting to investigate, prepare the travel documents ahead. An IDP, local driving license, passport, and other related papers should be present upon the officer’s signal.

Driving Conditions in New Caledonia

Dilemmas and fright of getting stuck in a traffic jam are not the enemies to mind in New Caledonia. The highways, street roads, and expressways are in good condition. Meeting congestion typically happens during rush hours. Other than that, the entire roadways are pleasant to drive through.

Before starting the engine to drive, make sure to have complete driving requirements in New Caledonia. Of course, strict compliance with the road rules is mandatory. Beware of vehicles going along with you. Give them the right of way if they have the privilege to go ahead first.

Accident Statistics

One relieving fact about New Caledonia is road incidents are rare to happen. However, it may occur without a signal. Based on the 2018 statistical death records, there are only 55 fatalities. It’s less than 65 on its 2014 database. It only proves how the New Caledonian Government strictly imposes traffic road safety. Severe crimes are also seldom in this Melanesian nation. Occasional car theft and sudden vehicle break-ins are the only petty crimes in the country.

Common Vehicles

Rental cars are among the necessities in New Caledonia. Driving through a vehicle is a convenient style to discover mesmerizing places of this sovereign state. Though public transport is available, tourists still pick to operate a four-wheel car as a transportation mode. Talking about the in-demand vehicle type in this Melanesian nation, mini cars and SUVs are famous. It’s an ideal match for a family.

Toll Roads

The possibility of encountering toll roads within the city is low. Most of the highways in the capital are free. Unless foreign drivers will head outside the central and proceed to the provincial areas, toll roads are present. Traversing state borders is not available in the country. Most of the toll roads are in rural towns. Like when a traveler is from Poindimie, hitting the R.T. 3 highway will lead to a toll. Paying the exact fee is compulsory.

Road Situation

Overall, travelers driving in New Caledonia today will no longer have to worry about unpaved highways. Most of the biggest city's main roads are lovely to pass through. However, when heading out of the capital, rural roadways are quite unpaved. Potholes are frequent to drive around. Extra caution is a must. All drivers should also have a map while going to New Caledonia. Some street signages are not readable, so better to have one.

Driving Culture

The majority of locals in this state are responsible drivers. Tourists won’t have to doubt and question if the residents are reckless. Since they are familiar and used with the road situation, cases like a particular resident running faster than the usual are typical. In case of confusion, let it slide, and you don’t need to tolerate it.

Sending alerts and signals is not a problem in New Caledonia. Though some are still stubborn, the majority of the residents comply and give respect to other drivers.

Other Tips

Tackling extra measures on the road is also essential to learn. To get to know about the legal speed mark and driving at night protocols, read further below.

Are They Using Kph or Mph?

Most of the countries use “KpH” often than the “MpH.” Reading the standard speed limit is easier to understand. As foreign drivers observe the speed limit signages in New Caledonia, the speed measurement unit is in “KpH.” It may result in confusion and difficulties to citizens from a state using an “MpH” velocity sign. But, learning it is not that hard to do

Sustaining the designated speed limit is compulsory. Failure to follow will receive charges and fines. Always monitor your car’s speedometer from time to time. It can help you know whether you are exceeding or not.

Is It Safe to Drive at Night?

Testing to hit the road at night can be a hazardous risk to take. Potholes, road constructions, and unstable routes are inevitable in the evening. Also, stray animals roam around the capital, and street signs aren’t that visible to see. But, in case you need to go on driving in New Caledonia by car at night, be vigilant with bikers and motorists. Take everything slow. Do not forget to switch on the headlights. Make sure it has enough range to see what’s ahead.

Things to Do in New Caledonia

The majestic wonders of New Caledonia are genuinely enticing to explore. After experiencing the state’s fascinating adventures, planning to take another step of treasure hunting is a brilliant idea to come to life. Getting an opportunity to render service under a local agency in New Caledonia is a fulfilling dream to have. In-depth learning of culture and norms is among the perks that a foreigner can have when securing professional work in the country.

Nationals who do not hold French citizenship must secure a working permit. But, be sure to score first a job offer before processing the work permit. It’s an essential requirement to qualify for applying for one. Exemptions won’t apply to citizens under E.U states. They need to undergo a legal process to perform service in New Caledonia.

Drive as a Tourist

Non-residents of New Caledonia can hit the road without worries. But, they need first an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). It’s an official translation document of a driver’s license. Citizens from E.U countries who do not hold a French driving license must obtain an IDP. If the road enforcers caught a foreign driver without it, facing severe offense and punishment will be the consequence.

Owning an IDP is not a difficult thing to comply with. Check out the International Driver’s Association. It has detailed procedures on how to acquire an IDP from them. Approval only takes two hours. They can even ship the physical copy within 24 hours. That’s the most effortless application that one can do.

Work as a Driver

Looking for driving employment in New Caledonia, foreign visitors can have a higher chance to grab one. But, ensure first that the work role has the approval of the relative agencies. An applicant also needs to secure permission from various bureaus in New Caledonia. It may be a complicated process, but the whole journey is worth trying. Once a foreign worker successfully receives grant permission, proceeding to the work permit process is the next.

Another essential factor when seeking driving jobs in New Caledonia is the age. Drivers should be at least 18 years old to operate a four-wheel car. Exchanging a local driver’s license is possible if the applicant prefers to have a French driver’s card. Of course, foreigners should know how to use a map while driving in New Caledonia.

Work as a Travel Guide

Any professional work role is possible to apply in New Caledonia. However, there are a lot of factors to consider when applying for a job. The first one is to get an employment contract under a local agency in the country. Another is seeking legal permission from the Foreign Bureau about rendering services in this sovereign state. They will be the ones to scrutinize, deliberate, and coordinate with other French Government offices on giving the verdict on the application.

If an applicant secures approval, below are the standard documents to have when lodging a work permit request at the French Consulate under the applicant’s jurisdiction.

  • Application Form
  • Valid Passport
  • ID Passport size photos
  • Signed Work Employment Contract (English and French)
  • Medical Certificate
  • Police Record

Apply for Residency

Foreign nationals who dream to live longer in New Caledonia must obtain a long-term visa at the applicant’s local French Embassy or Consulate. Getting an appropriate permit is compulsory before migrating to the country. Do make a verification check about the requirements at the accredited local visa application center

To give outlanders an idea about what to have when applying for a long-term stay permit, below are the standard requirements to possess. Check also the updated documents for legal driving in New Caledonia today. It might help to make the application fast.

  • Original and Valid Passport
  • Financial Support/Sponsorship documents
  • Accommodation in New Caledonia
  • Health Insurance
  • Police Record
  • Medical Certificate

Other Things to Do

Besides being a driver and a travel guide, there are also other employment careers that a foreigner can try. Though it’s challenging to score a permanent work role, the whole experience is fantastic.

Are There Other Job Careers in New Caledonia?

Outlanders can check out the teaching jobs in New Caledonia. Some of them offer French and English language sessions. It’s a practical work to apply for, especially for multilingual tourists. They can go ahead and search for teaching employment opportunities in New Caledonia online.

The Top Destinations in New Caledonia

New Caledonia is only among the sovereign states often overshadowed by famous countries. Though it’s unfortunate to the state, it does not hinder them from improving the tourism sector over the years. It’s still a perfect hideout to go for travelers who wish to escape from reality.

This Oceania paradise is abundant in pristine and enticing water lagoons, islands, and historical treasures. For wanderers who wish to hunt them, going on a fair-weather driving in New Caledonia is the best choice to make. Grab now the IDP, passport, domestic driver’s license, and other essentials before switching the car’s engine on.

La Parc de la Riviére Bleue photo by Sebastian Jermer

La Parc de la Riviére Bleue

About an hour away from Noumea, the “La Parc de la Riviére Bleue'' is a remote paradise perfect for several water sports. The park is among the untouched islands of the south. It proudly showcases the aquamarine waters that attract tourists to wiggle their toes on it. Land activities are also possible in this paradise. From hiking to cycling, explorers can have an unforgettable experience over the excellent trail ways around.

In targeting a date on when is the perfect schedule to push through, consider going around November and September. Avoid heading on weekends and holidays. Crowds are surging on those days. Tourists may save the day on any weekdays except Mondays. Book ahead to know if it is fair to go to the park, especially during the rainy season.

Driving Directions:

  1. From the La Tontouta International Airport, take the Route de Yate/RP3:
  2. Drive southwest of Allee Guy Celton.
  3. When arriving at the roundabout, hit the second exit going to Route Territoriale 1/ RT1.
  4. Keep on the left to follow the route towards Voie express.
  5. Merge in RT1 and go straight to Voie express - Route du N.
  6. Proceed to the exit going to Route Du S/RP1.
  7. Head over to Route Provinciale du Normandie.
  8. Continue Route de S until the roundabout zone. Take the first exit towards Rue Georges Lecques.
  9. Make a sharp left to merge in Route Express du Mont-Dore.
  10. After exiting the roundabout in Avenue des Deux Baies, continue driving to Route Du S/RP1.
  11. Turn left in Route de Yate/RP3, follow signs until Route du Pont Perignon. It will take an hour and a half to reach the site.

Things to Do

In maximizing the phenomenal chance to play around the site, here are the exciting things to do in “La Parc de la Riviére Bleue.”

  1. Swim in “La Parc de la Riviére Bleue”

    Since it’s a lagoon, there’s no other main game in the water other than swimming. It also has a glorious waterfall for another rewarding refreshment. Do not forget to wear proper attire to make the dip comfortable. Kayaking is also a thrilling adventure. Most tourists do both to fully enjoy the positive momentum.
  2. Unveil the Maison du Parc’s past

    History tracing has never failed to amuse people. Sneaking in Maison du Parc will let tourists backtrack the natural treasures in the park. They can also stream informative documentary videos depicting the significance of animals and plants’ specimens.
  3. Hike at the Palmetum

    For thrillers who are still up for another exploration, hiking wanderlust is a perfect idea. It can test the hiker’s endurance in traversing the trails around the park. A hike in Palmetum can complete the explorer’s cravings for beautiful sceneries. The Palmetum is formerly a mining camp within the park. It surrounds by a fantastic natural palm forest that makes it alluring to explore.
  4. Meet the Giant Kaori

    After witnessing the mining site, travelers can also sight the legendary Giant Kaori tree. It’s a thousand-year-old tree that never ceases to amaze tourists. It stands for 40 meters and stretches for 37 meters. The Giant Kaori tree serves as the replacement for the Kaori trees devastated by fires.
  5. Greet the Kagous

    Endemic creatures are mostly inhabiting the Blue River Park. Among those is the Kagou. It’s a bird species that is notable in New Caledonia’s flora and fauna. Its over 600 population count benefited the South Province the most from the population regeneration program.

Ile aux Canards

Ile aux Canards is one of the notable snorkeling spots in New Caledonia. It mainly offers its guests a rewarding getaway vacation ambiance. From its alluring golden beach perfect for sunbathing to glamorously dipping over the enticing pristine waters, explorers will have a luxurious vibe to this island. Marine treasures are also visible with the naked eye. By only going deep for 50 meters, snorkelers can sight the epic corals, fish, and turtles underwater.

In discovering exotic marine creatures, travelers should plan a trip during the summer season. It’s the ideal period to go as the waters are calm and at peace. Monsoon seasons are probably the worst time. Flooding and high tides are inevitable. Try also to schedule an early morning visit. Getting stranded in large crowds in the morning is impossible. Unlike in the afternoon, the possible surge of guests is relatively high.

Driving Directions:

  1. Take Route Territoriale 1/RT1 from La Tontouta International Airport.
  2. Head to the southeast of Allee Guy Celton. Turn left before taking the first exit at the roundabout.
  3. In another roundabout, proceed to the second exit towards Route Territoriale 1/RT1.
  4. To continue in Voie Express, keep left.
  5. In RT1 merge on it, to continue in Voie express - Route du N.
  6. At the roundabout, drive straight towards Route Provinciale du Normandie.
  7. Drive straight to Avenue Victoire Henry Lafleur.
  8. Slightly turn right, heading to Ru Georges Celenceau/Rue du Capitaine Robineau.
  9. In Avenue du Marechal Foch, turn right. Head over to Cote Amiral Halsey.
  10. Continue to Avenue du General de Gaulle until taking the first exit at the roundabout towards Jules Garnier.
  11. To reach Promenade Roger Laroque, proceed to the second exit at the roundabout.

Things to Do

Captivating coral reefs are indeed the main attraction in Ile aux Canards. But, there’s more to this snorkeling island. Below are the mesmerizing activities to do on the site.

  1. Discover the Exotic Marine World.

    Exceptional sea life is a breathtaking underwater scene. It’s a rare view that only snorkelers and divers can see. So, right on this island, do not miss the chance of submerging underneath the pristine waters of Ile aux Canards.
  2. Relax on the Beach Sand.

    If going underwater isn’t your game, you may want to rent an umbrella and a beach chair to relax on the island’s marvelous beach sand. Avail it right on the information desk, and don’t forget to inform them once done.
  3. Snack at the Cafe.

    While in the middle of inhaling the fresh air, you might want to buy some snacks and drinks at the nearby cafe. They also serve light meals that can satisfy your little hunger. Try to eat local foods. It can make your taste buds know a different flavor.
  4. Walk using Reef Shoes.

    Along the smooth sand, scattered washed corals are visible. When choosing to wander around the island, you may try to wear reef shoes. It can prevent you from getting small cuts on your feet.
  5. Catch a water taxi.

    In accessing the island, riding a water taxi from the port is a must. If you arrive at the designated point, watch for a water taxi going to the island. The same goes for returning to the capital.
Amedee Lighthouse Photo by Jeremy Bezanger

Amedee Lighthouse

Amedee Lighthouse is an attraction located in Phare Amedee Island. It soars 56 meters high that gorgeously overlooks the beautiful pristine waters surrounding the site. The lighthouse is originally in Paris. Its iconic creation is during the Universal Exhibition of London in 1862. However, over the years, its pieces are transferred to New Caledonia. The said place has been closed for a couple of months due to renovation. But, today, visitors are welcome to visit.

With the site’s tranquil atmosphere and idleness, it’s no doubt why UNESCO tags it as a World Heritage Site in 2009. Weekdays are the ideal period to explore the alluring beauty of Amedee Lighthouse. Fewer tourists mean more chances to enjoy the entire site for capturing scenic landscapes and stellar views.

Driving Directions:

  1. From the La Tontouta International Airport, Follow RT1 to Voie express n°2 (E2).
  2. From Voie express n°2 (E2), merge to RT1.
  3. Go straight to Voie express n°2 (E2) - Route du N.
  4. Follow routes in Voie express n°1 - Route du Normandie.
  5. To reach Rue Berthelot, go to the third exit at the roundabout.
  6. After turning right in Rue Ali Raleb, slightly turn to the left towards Rue Pallu de la Barriere.
  7. After passing the roundabout, stay on Rue des Deux Vallees.
  8. Upon approaching Rue du Commandant Rougy, turn slightly to the right.
  9. Turn left in Rue de Namur.
  10. In Rue Albert 1er, take the second street to turn right.
  11. In Rue de Liege, turn left.
Things to Do

Stellar views are glorious in Amedee, to have an unforgettable excursion, here are the thrilling activities to do in the lighthouse.

  1. Climb on the 247 cast-iron lighthouse’s staircase

    Stepping on the lighthouse’s 247 cast-iron stairs leading up to the peak can gift you with a glamorous panoramic landscape. Overlooking aquamarine pools will greet you at the top. Another thing is the incredible reefs that are enticing to capture. Grand Terre mountains are also dazzling to see at the elevated spot.
  2. Dive underneath the Amedee Isle

    Besides mounting the lighthouse, engaging with turquoise waters is the best. The Amedee Isle is gloriously resting in the reserve’s heartland. It’s a secured paradise, which any fishing activities are strictly prohibited. Snorkelers and divers can have fun dipping with sea creatures.
  3. Shop local souvenirs

    A small boutique sells local t-shirts, sarongs, postcards, stamps, and many other cute souvenirs. It’s glamorously resting on the island. Snorkelers’ and diver’s equipment are also available at the shop. Be sure to prepare cash for payment. It’s more practical to use than credit cards.
  4. Learn the Tahitian Dance

    As you try to adapt to the culture, exerting effort to learn some traditional dances can leave a touching impression on the locals. In Amedee Lighthouse, you can watch the dynamic Tahiti dance showcase. You can also learn the engaging dance with them. It will be an exciting journey to experience.
  5. Ride on a Glass Boat

    If you can’t manage to go deep, you can still see the marvelous corals while your feet are dry. There’s a glass boat cruising around Amedee waters. You can hop on it and observe the sea creatures on the glass-bottom. It’s a new way to explore the majestic lagoon.

New Caledonia is a beautiful country that you should visit if you want to relax and see magnificent structures. It’s best to be prepared with your documents and itinerary ahead of time so you don’t have to stress over the last minute. Secure an International Driver’s Permit before driving in New Caledonia.


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