French is the official language of New Caledonia and is almost universally understood. Just over one-third of the population knows at least one of the 30 some Kanak languages spoken on the island. While people working in the tourist industry in Nouméa often speak a little English or Japanese, visitors to New Caledonia will find it useful to carry a French phrasebook and learn at least some basic words to help with navigating menus, hotel bookings and transportation.
The official currency of New Caledonia is the Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs, or CFP franc. US dollars, the euro and Australian and New Zealand dollars may be accepted but the exchange rate is usually less favorable that by using the local currency. Money can be changed at banks or bureau de change offices. MasterCard, Visa and to a lesser extent American Express credit cards are accepted by larger hotels, stores and restaurants in towns and tourist areas. Cash is much more commonly used in smaller towns, and many businesses will not accept credit card payments. ATMs are available at banks and some post offices in the larger settlements whereas small towns do not have a bank or ATM at all. A better exchange rate is generally available via ATMs than currency exchange offices. Travelers checks can be cashed at banks but usually incur a fairly high flat fee.
New Caledonia is in the New Caledonia Time (NCT) Zone which is 11 hours ahead of GMT (GMT +11).
New Caledonia uses electricity at 220 V/50 Hz with plug type C, E and F. Visitors bringing appliances that require a different voltage will need a transformer and plug adapter. Devices from France, Belgium and some other parts of Europe will often work in New Caledonia.
The international dialing code for New Caledonia is +687. The New Caledonia Post and Telecommunications Office (OPT) has about 50 branches and provides postal service, mobile, landline and internet telecommunications service including payphones. Internet cafes exist in larger towns and hotels often provide an internet connection. Both options can be expensive, but hotels usually more so.
Visitors to New Caledonia who are over 17 years of age are subject to the following duty free allowances: one liter of spirits, two liters of wine, 50 ml of perfume, 500 gm of coffee, 100 gm of tea, 200 cigarettes or 250 gm of tobacco.
Tourism New Caledonia: 20 Rue Anatole France, Nouméa-Centre, Place des Cocotiers, Nouméa, New Caledonia Ph: +687-242-080 http://en.visitnewcaledonia.com/
Consulates in New Caledonia
Australian Consulate-General, Nouméa: +687-272-414
New Zealand Consulate-General, Nouméa: +687-272-543