Nouméa is the capital and largest city in New Caledonia, and the largest French-speaking city of the Pacific. It is one of the most "westernised" city in the Pacific Islands region, and is in stark contrast with the rest of New Caledonia's wide open spaces, bare jagged hills, and predominantly Kanak population.
The city offers the full range of activities one can expect from a modern city of this size and more, with plenty of restaurants, bars and night clubs - mainly located around the several magnificent beaches that sit literally minutes from the city center, with some of the best hotels also located there. On a fine day, the sea is bustling with windsurfers while adults are sunbathing and kids eating an ice cream.
Local landmarks include: the Baie des Citrons (central beach lined with bars, clubs and restaurants), the Anse Vata (second main beach with many hotels and rows of palm trees), the City Market on Baie de l'Orphelinat, with enough seafood to satisfy even the most demanding gastronome, the recently restored Aquarium on Anse Vata with unique species from the lagoon, remains of the US presence during WWII (including canons on top of the Ouen Toro hill), the local Museum of New Caledonia, the central square "Place des Cocotiers" and more. There are also many islets scattered around the bays and accessible with a canoe or via a short boat trip, and further out into the lagoon with a boat shuttle departing regularly from Nouméa: the Amédée Lighthouse, one of the area's most prized touristic spots.
In spite of a clear potential and high standards of living for the region (Australia and New-Zealand aside), Nouméa is still far from being the tourist haven it could be. Though the number of decent hotels has increased recently and the city is experiencing an economic boom, bad customer service and very high costs are persistent problems that have yet to be solved. Nevertheless, it would be a shame to miss Nouméa's gorgeous beaches, numerous aquatic activities and overall laid-back tropical atmosphere.