|Little Yellow tchou tchou train at the dock in Noumea|
Some passengers elected to take a sightseeing ride on the little yellow train that pulled up beside the dock.
We strolled into Coconut Square, the heart of the city only two blocks from the wharf. The shopping district featured fashions from Paris, the bakeries sold French baguette breads, the restaurants were full of happy diners and we heard French spoken by some locals. If you closed your eyes, you could almost imagine you were in France.
But Noumea is more than its French colonial past. The indigenous Kanak culture of this part of the Pacific is in evidence too.
We took a bus ride up into the hills which gave us a good chance to see the mix of architecture comprising colonial buildings, modern apartment blocks and modest houses. And the views in all directions were spectacular - right out across the water to the Barrier Reef and the little islands dotted about, one with a striking lighthouse that can be visited.
I spent the afternoon at the aquarium. The building's façade is a waterfall which is a stunning visual feature. Inside, there were all manner of fantastic, beautiful, ugly, scary, colourful, poisonous, and altogether weird tropical fish and sea creatures. Quite put me off swimming at the beach, but I was really glad I'd seen them!
Enjoy your visit!