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COVID-19: New Caledonia opens to Australians

COVID-19: New Caledonia opens to Australians

From 14 March 2022, international travellers who are vaccinated can arrive in Noumea without serving 7 days in quarantine. An added bonus is that French bureaucratic paperwork has also now been minimised.

As with other Pacific Islands like Fiji, you will need to have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure, or alternatively a supervised RAT test within 48 hours. No doing one at home and photographing the result on the kitchen table!

You’ll also need proof of vaccination with AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, or Janssen – with the last vaccination no longer than 9 months ago.

If you are unvaxxed – what are you doing travelling anyway? No seriously, you deserve the 7 days quarantine on arrival that will be required.

Le Meridien, Noumea

New Caledonia

I’ve visited once and spent my time chillaxing in Noumea. I’m saving up the Ill des Pines for another visit.

It’s a short trip from Sydney or Brisbane – 3 hours and 2 hours respectively to visit this exotic bit of European France in the pacific. The people are lovely, and that cadence of the French language somehow adds to a sense of relaxation.

Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center designed by Renzo Piano in Noumea

Who’s flying and how much?

Air Cailin flies a 3 class A330 neo out of Sydney and an A320 neo out of Brisbane with HD screens with a 90 strong bevvy of programs and the latest seating. Frequencies are:

  • Sydney: Tuesday and Saturday – from 26 March add Fridays
  • Brisbane: Sunday – from 27 March add Friday, and from 5 June add Wednesday

Qantas will be returning to the route from 4 June. You will need to make an early start though with the Sydney Qantas flight leaving at 7:40 am. The Air Cailin flight leaves at a much more reasonable 2:25 pm.

Qantas sale fares start at about AU$760 return economy or AU$1,485 return Business Sale fares.

Air Cailin fares out of Sydney can be as low as AU$530 in Economy, or AU$1,920 return in Business. Remember that Air Cailin has a Premium Economy cabin. The cost there is around AU$1,425 return, but it can be more depending on the day and month of travel. For a 3 hour flight, those premium economy fares might be the sweet spot, it’s not like you really need a lie flatbed, is it?

The upside of Air Cailin out of Sydney is that the flight is the afternoon departure and 6:10 pm local time arrival, just ready for a sundowner! Also, Air Cailin is the only direct flight until Qantas starts on 4 June.

Qantas flights out of Sydney arrive at 11:30 pm local time which means you can dash down to the pool for a late lunch. In June both airlines’ fares are on par at AU$529 return in economy and AU1,925 for Business.

Out of Brisbane, you have a problem at the other end of the day with flights departing

La Tontoura Airport, Noumea, New Caladonia

2PAXfly Takeout

New Caledonia does not have the tourist infrastructure of Fiji, but for what it lacks in that capacity, it makes up for in its food and wine culture. It’s the French you know!

I have only done a quick trip to the capital Noumea but would love to visit again, stay longer and explore a lot further.

The people especially the indigenous Kanak culture are wonderful.

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