New Caledonia

New Caledonia Driving Advice and Car Hire Info

Driving in New Caledonia

New Caledonia drives on the right and officially,you need your own photo driving licence plus an International Driving Permit or French translation of your licence to drive here. I have though noticed that some car rental companies don’t mention an IDP so suggest you check this when reserving a vehicle. Speed limits range from 40kmh in built up areas to 60kmh in rural areas.Road rules are the same as in France- maximum speed limit is 30 kmh in residential areas, 50 kmh in towns and cities and 110 kmh outside built up areas. The permitted blood alcohol level is 0.05%.

New Caledonia includes the islands of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Chesterfield Islands, the Belep archipelago and the Isle of Pines.  90% of the 250,000 population live on the main Island,  Grande Terre, which is 400 kms long and just 50 kms wide.

Main routes on Grand Terre are-

Expressways E1 and E2 are roads with dual carriageway sections near the capital Nouméa.

RT1 highway is the key North-South route connecting  Nouméa and Koné, the capital of the northern province Nord.

Provincial highways are prefixed RP in the South of Grand Terre and RPN in the North. The route from the airport into Nouméa was a toll road until 2013 when tolls were abolished. I have however seen a post online from 2019 where a travellers suggests they still had to pay a toll. If anyone can confirm the current situation, I would be grateful.

Average driving times from Nouméa are: Tontouta 45 minutes, Poum five hours, Bourail two hours 10 minutes and Hienghène five hours and 10 minutes. Roads on Grand Terre are generally in good condition, traffic is generally light but can get busy in Nouméa at rush hour. With some stunning scenery, and easy driving, I’ve seen New Caledonia described as the best ‘driving abroad’ Island in the South Pacific.

Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.

New Caledonia Car Rental
Hertz have branches in Kone and Noumea,Sixt operate in Nouméa and Tontouta,and Europcar,  Avis and Thrifty all have a branch in Nouméa.

We currently have no local car rental partners in New Caledonia. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on



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