New Caledonia — Shopping and Leisure
New Caledonia is not the cheapest place in the world for shopping, mainly due to the fact that locals pay little or no income tax, so the government taxes goods and services instead. However, visitors can still find ample opportunity to pick up some unusual or interesting items. For those who are interested in tribal artifacts, The Artifact Gallery (Ouémo residential District, Nouméa) is a testament to a huge range of Melanesian, New Guinean and other Oceanic art including masks and totem poles which visitors can admire or buy.
New Caledonia has a number of local fresh produce and craft markets. The Jeudi du Centre Ville Street Market (Quartier Latin Place des Cocotiers, Nouméa) is held every Thursday and is a good place to pick up locally made arts and crafts or try to local fresh veggies, fruits and cakes. Nouméa market (Quartier Latin, Port Moselle) is best visited on Saturday or Sunday morning when local ukulele musicians entertain shoppers browsing for bread, sweets, flowers, fruit, olives, and vegetables. Tourists won’t want to miss the chance to oogle at all kinds of seafood at the adjacent fish market. Those lucky enough to be in New Caledonia in December can visit the special Christmas markets that spring up in Nouméa and other larger towns during the festive season.
Duty-free shopping is popular with tourists visiting New Caledonia. Marlene (42 rue de l’Alma, Nouméa) is one of the largest tax exempt stores on the island, stocking alcohol, bags, cosmetics, jewelry, lingerie, perfume, skin care products, textiles, tobacco, and locally made souvenirs. Chocolate is another item that New Caledonia does well, especially from Tonton Jules Chocolate Shop (7 Rue de General Mangin, Nouméa).
Most stores are open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., closing for a siesta between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
For those who need to relax, or just fancy a bit of pampering and indulgence, there are a couple of spas worth trying. Health Spa Nouméa Oxalis (Best Western Premier Hotel, La Promenade, Anse Vata) is especially for women and offers a range of treatments, yoga and tai chi classes, Turkish baths, and massages. Royal Tera Beach & Spa (140 Promenade Roger Laroque, Nouméa) offers massage treatments and has a steam room, sauna and a massive pool with plenty of jets.