Noumea, New Caledonia

Nouméa is the capital of the South Pacific archipelago and overseas French territory New Caledonia. Wikipedia says it's known for beaches and its blend of French and native Kanak influences. Many people I spoke to before going saw it as nothing special and not worth visiting.

So I was very keen to see for myself.

We got on the hop on hop off bus and went around the coast, stopping at the markets where they sold a mix of local products and the usual 'Made in China' souvenirs. Every place we go to accepts Australian dollars but prices are in Pacific Franc.

Deciding not to do a tour, we head for the beach. We stop at Baie de Citrons for a swim. It's a shell beach with a swimming pontoon the kids had fun jumping off and swimming around. Warning though - the water is 'fresh' in July. I only dipped my toes in.

My thoughts after just four hours here?

It's touristy.

It's expensive.

It's pretty for a capital.

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