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Moving to Noumea

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Moving to Noumea

Hi , My Family and I are moving to Noumea in two months time and we have a 11 month old daughter. I was wondering about housing and if there is a place we can view listings for housing. Also could anyone give us an overview of the things we are going to know about his place. Thanks it would be a wonderful help.

Chiang Mai, Thailand
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120 posts
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1. Re: Moving to Noumea


OK like everything else renting is fairly costly in NC, so I hope your employer sponsors you. You may want to call some agencies if you speak French, otherwise you could consider staying in a hotel for the first weeks then visit the agencies until you find a place to rent (speaking English on the phone is much more difficult for people who don't speak the language well, so you will find that people may volunteer their English when you meet them in person, but won't try on the phone; usually best to first ask "Parlez-vous Anglais?" rather than starting in English right away, it is considered more polite and people tend to be more likely to try their English).

Use the phone book to find real estate agencies:


Yellow pages = pages jaunes.

Type AGENCES IMMOBILIERES in Activite and select NOUMEA under Commune. However I suggest asking for local advice on what are good agencies currently (ask colleagues, people you meet there). Most areas of Noumea are OK to live, but you want to avoid the neighbourhoods around the SLN (nickel smelter) which are poor areas and prone to pollution from the smoke, but this is immediately obvious when you see these areas.

As the city is small, I suggest scheduling a tour on "Le Petit Train" initially in the days upon arrival (this gives a basic idea, take a map with you to find where you are), and then in the next day or two take a car and drive all around Noumea for awhile and make notes on what you like.

Some areas are a bit more expensive but in general pricing is more determined by the quality of the dwelling - the city is too small to have large differences apart from a few poor areas which you don't want to live in when you see them. My personal preference would be either one of the bays between downtown and the Baie des Citrons (some good apartments there), or the area behind Anse Vata (houses), or in Magenta (where there are many new developments, but it is a bit further out from the downtown area).

I assume you already have a job there as it is next to impossible to find employment as a foreigner - the foreigners who work there usually have been sent there by the miners and they typically have subsidised housing. Cost of living is significantly higher than in most other places in the world (twice to three times the cost of places like Australia, New Zealand). NC, whilst a French Overseas Territory, does not allow foreigners to work there without a specific reason (e.g. being sent there by a miner, or having been asked to work there by an NC company which could not find local talent), which includes French passport holders who equally need the very hard to get work permit or residence permit.

A few tips: I would suggest to try and avoid "expat-ism" e.g. hanging with the expats all the time and speaking English only. Try to make local friends, invite them over for a barbie, try speaking French if you don't already: get the Pimsleur CD set from ultimatelanguagestore dot com and you can speak basic French within 30 days; make sure to do it every day for 30 minutes for 30 days and do repeat all the repeat words and sentences in the lessons because that is the trick; once you speak basic French after 30 days, you pick up more quickly from colleagues and can be fully fluent in 1-2 years in my experience.

The locals: traditionally there have been issues between the different cultures of the inhabitants, although this is much less now that say thirty years ago or so. There are three main types: the Kanaks, the Caldoches (white or Asian descendants of former immigrants - they have issues with both the Kanaks and the French, and tend to associate with Queensland and cowboys!), and the French, first generation expats/immigrants who are to a degree disliked by the other groups; don't talk about this until you hear more from the locals though!). Then there are some minorities such as the Wallisien (the people from Wallis island, who are Polynesian as opposed to the Kanaks who are Melanesian; they tend to have issues with the Kanaks as the latter feel they intrude on their land, there were big issues in the Mont Dore area near Noumea with people shot and killed between groups of Kanaks and Wallisiens some time ago) and the foreign expats (non-French) who usually work for the miners and of which there are few (probably in the high hundreds only), many of which do not blend in to any degree which is a pity because it is such a different and interesting culture.

When I lived there it took me six months to get used to the culture and lifestyle of NC. After that I was hooked and I still miss the place a lot, however in my trade (corporate IT mostly) there are not enough options there.

For the weather there check www dot meteo dot nc which has some good features (satellite photo etc.)

Any other queries let me know.


Hope this helps.

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2. Re: Moving to Noumea

hi, just wondering if i am an austalian and british passport holder, can i live and work in noumea?


Chiang Mai, Thailand
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120 posts
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3. Re: Moving to Noumea

Hi oonaghBrisbane,

No unfortunately you cannot, unless your employer is one of the large mining companies or other well established company and they sponsor you for a working visa, if you are a specialist in some mining discipline for example.

For foreigners without employer sponsorship it is virtually impossible to get a working visa in NC (one exception may be for those married to a local, but even then it is quite difficult to get the visa, in my personal experience).

The country is small, and they want to employ their own people as much as possible, which is why they are quite strict on employment of foreigners. Even the French need a working visa to work in New Caledonia...

Good luck!

4. Re: Moving to Noumea

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