New Caledonia

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Flag of New Caledonia New Caledonia
Information
Language: French
Capital: Noumea
Population: 240,000
Currency: South Pacific Franc (CFP)
Hitchability: <rating country='nc' />
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<map lat='-21.146071792659118' lng='165.61446838378906' zoom='6' view='0' float='right' />


New Caledonia is a French overseas territory in the Pacific Ocean. It comprises a main island (Grande Terre), the Loyalty Islands (Lifou, Mare, Ouvea, Tiga), the Ile des Pins and several smaller islands. It is approximately half the size of Taiwan. It is located roughly 2000km to the north of New Zealand, and 1500 km to the north-east of Australia.

Geography

Most likely you will arrive by plane or by boat in Nouméa. Everything is in Noumea, most people live there and it is the main city. Nouméa city has about 100.000 people wheras the second biggest city Koné has only about 5.000.

Hitchhiking

Hitching in New Caledonia is pretty easy. Knowing French is very helpful though.

Keep the time in mind and the public holidays. Most people leave Noumea for the weekend and there is plenty of traffic going out of town on Friday afternoon/evening and Saturday morning. Logically Sunday evening is the busy return traffic. But no need to wait for the weekend to hitchhike, there is plenty of traffic all the time.

However, many people have their cars packed up with their camping and diving gear, several eskis, kids, dogs, etc. So there might be a lot of traffic but sometimes there is no space left for a hitch-hiker. Traveling light is a good advice.

There are quite a few hitch-hikers along the road, typically one every 100km. Mostly locals who just sit lazy on the side of the road with their thumb out. With a bit of effort, like a sign, a travellers backpack, etc. people are more likely to stop for you. There are only a few "travellers" on the island and people are usually interested in their story.

Also it happens that one person (usually locals) is standing on the road and several others are hiding behind the bushes and then they suddenly jump out when a car stops. If you look a bit around where you stick your thumb out, so there are no obvious hiding places, it is again more likely that people will stop.

The further you hitch out of Nouméa, the less traffic you will encounter. On a Saturday noon, when there should be peak traffic up in the North, Bernhard counted only about one car every five minutes (mostly local short-distance traffic). However, you will wait no longer than 5 or 10 cars and someone will stop.

Cities, towns