While Australians love visiting New Caledonia, either on a cruise or on an island getaway, there’s no avoiding it…
New Caledonia is expensive.
Is it still worth visiting? You bet it is. With a collection of stunning tropical islands and an intoxicating French-Melanesian culture, this South Pacific island has plenty to offer.
So to make the most of your visit, you just need to budget it right from the start. New Caledonia's official currency is the Comptoirs Français du Pacifique, commonly called the Pacific franc (CFP). A suitable daily budget for spending money in New Caledonia is between 5000 CFP and 9000 CFP per person.
What to know more? Read our cost guide below to better figure out your own personal budget. We cover:
- A daily budget
- A weekly budget
- The cost of accommodation
- The cost of food
- The cost of transport
- The cost of activities
- The best way to take money to New Caledonia
Is New Caledonia Expensive to Visit?
New Caledonia has developed a reputation for being an exceptionally expensive destination. Reports suggest that the cost of living is about 20% to 37% more expensive in New Caledonia than in Australia or New Zealand.
This is in part because of the island chain’s location and size, which means it depends on imports for a lot of its consumer goods.
Even so, as with any destination, the amount you decide to budget depends entirely on your preferred travel style, length of time away, and even when you travel (prices in Nouméa are generally more affordable in late August and early September).
The Average Cost Per Day in New Caledonia
We recommend budgeting anywhere between 5000 CFP and 9000 CFP per person in daily expenses. A budget trip might only cost you 2,000 to 5,000 francs while a luxury visit could be anywhere between 10,000 and 18,000 francs a day.
How Much Spending Money for 7 Days in Nouméa or Beyond?
Planning to nip over to Nouméa for a relaxing week on the beach? The average tourist spends roughly 200,000 francs in a week.
Depending on your budget, a week in New Caledonia may cost you:
- Budget trip: 100,000 to 200,000 francs
- Mid-range budget: 200,000 to 300,000 francs
- Luxury trip: 300,000 to 1 million francs
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How Much Do Things Cost in New Caledonia?
The Costs of Accommodation in New Caledonia
New Caledonia boasts a huge range of accommodation options, from standard hotel rooms to tribal accommodation or gîtes (holiday home rentals).
Gîtes are usually privately owned and can sometimes work out cheaper than a hotel room per person (anywhere between 14,000 francs and 40,000 francs a night ). But they’re more likely to be further from the beach than the common Nouméa hotels - and are generally rented on a weekly basis.
Your accommodation is likely to take the biggest chunk of your holiday savings, so here’s a general breakdown of accommodation costs, depending on your budget:
- A budget hotel room: 5000-6000 francs per night
- Mid-range hotel room: 8000-12,000 francs per night
- Luxury hotel: 13,000 to 17,000 francs per night
The Cost of Food in New Caledonia
This island country has earned the moniker Little France - and when you browse the food scene in Nouméa, you’ll understand why. There, you’ll find it all: freshly baked baguettes, cheese, foie gras, French wine.
Luckily for you, that means you can whip up delectable dishes after shopping at the local markets and supermarkets. A French baguette costs about 120 CFP while a ham sandwich might be about 400 CFP.
Dine out and you’ll need to put a little more money aside (but it’s worth it). Some of the average dining costs are as follows:
- A standard meal at an inexpensive restaurant: 1000-3500 francs
- A fine dining experience: at least 8000 francs
- A cup of coffee: 450 CFP
- A beer: 800 CFP
The Costs of Transport in New Caledonia
If you want to make the most of your holiday travelling around the various islands, you’ll be looking at additional transport costs.
You’re likely to start your holiday on the island of Grande Terre, where the capital Nouméa is. The public bus from La Tontouta Airport into Nouméa costs about 280 CFP per person, cheaper than the standard 2500 CFP for the shuttle bus. Getting around town, you can expect to pay 210 CFP per bus trip or 550 CFP for a 2km taxi ride.
To travel further afield - to other islands - you’ll probably want to board a ferry. The main fast passenger ferry company that sails from Nouméa to Île des Pins (Isle of Pines) and the Loyalty Islands is Betico.
From Nouméa to Île des Pins, a journey of 2.5 hours, it costs around 5500 CFP per adult. Lifou to Noumea, a journey of about 5 hours, costs about 7750 CFP per adult.
The Costs of Activities in New Caledonia
On your holiday in New Caledonia, you might be planning nothing more than R&R - lounging on a daybed by your resort pool, interspersed with visits to the beach.
For the more intrepid, there’s plenty on offer, from activities that won’t cost anything at all (beach visits and explorations of Nouméa) to adventure tours and explorations further afield.
Some activities have entrance fees, among them:
What Is the Best Way to Take Money to New Caledonia?
It’s always better to carry some of the local currency on you wherever you’re travelling – both for your own convenience and as a sign of respect for the locals.
In New Caledonia, card payments are only really possible in businesses in the vicinity of the tourist hotspots. ATMs make it easy for you to withdraw cash, while many banks have foreign exchange counters.
Our recommendation is to pick up some francs before you leave home to have the cash immediately on hand on arrival in the country. Use your debit card for ATM withdrawals; your credit card is best kept for the biggest expenses, such as your resort bill.