Wednesday, 16 September 2009
It's expensive in Noumea. Some things are expensive and avoidable - like the NZ$ 20 loaves of imported kiwi bread (I'll admit to caving in a few weeks ago and relishing the having a vogels toast for a week or so) - but you need to buy toilet paper (NZ$18 for 9 decent rolls) and fruit (NZ$12 for a pineapple in the market) and the odd bit of meat (NZ$30 for a good sized non-organic chicken). I seem to blow most of our budget on food...
There are good value things here. Like champagne ($NZ40 a bottle from a small producer) and delicious cheese and yummy bread ($NZ 2 per baguette) - the list goes on. You can also have an introduction to windsurfing with a teacher and board rental for an hour down at Anse Vata beach and it only costs $NZ 20. Or you can head out to Kuendu beach (you can even catch the bus there from Anse Vata) and spend the day on the water slides.
A trip to the market is lots of fun and it's free - although you might be tempted to check out the little cafe and have a yummy fresh orange juice. If you're there in the weekend, you might also be tempted by the homemade sorbets that are sometimes on offer out beside the car park. The coconut ones are delicious and only a few dollars.
Of course - it's free to swim and snorkel and go for a stroll in the warm breeze on the beach. Ok - it's sunny outside and time for me to go and enjoy it. A la plage!
One of my favourite day trips in Noumea is Duck Island. Actually - it's not really a day trip, it's a five minute blat in a speed boat from the beach over there. Somehow it feels a long way from Noumea though. You jump off the boat, splash on to the beach and find yourself a good posi for chillin'. Ahhhhh bliss.
There's a little snack with funky carvings where you can buy a beer and a toasted sandwich if you feel like it - or a more substantial feed. If you want a deck chair with an umbrella you'll need to fork out some cash - I think it's 2000 per day and 3000 for a larger fare - but you can avoid that by bringing your own stuff and parking a bit further around the island. It's very laid back.
The snorkelling's great. It's protected from the wind and there's a nice array of coral. There's also a resident moray eel who I have enjoyed following around on a few occasion and lots of tame fish who will come up to you and just about tap you on the mask to say hey - come over here and check this out!
We went out a few weeks ago with my nephew. He enjoyed going for a snorkel with Charlie and I dipped the bump in the warm sea. The boys also tucked into some food at the snack. A good way to while away some time as we wait for this baby to make her appearance!
Sunday, 6 September 2009
It's suddenly warmed up here. The evenings are warmer and the beach is getting more and more tempting.
The people who are making the most of the changing seasons though are the kite and wind surfers. At the far end of Anse Vata beach, behind the Meridien is the spot where all the gun kite surfers go. The afternoon winds are strong and it's cool fun to sit and watch them fly. When I feel like a touch of holiday buzz Charlie and I head to the Phare at the Meridien to sip on a yummy drink and watch the kites go.
Charlie did a kite-surf course a few months ago. The aim was to get it done before baby was due but in fact he was stymied by the lack of wind in winter. So he got to have a few goes out at the back of Ilot Maitre - the safest place to learn - with warm, knee deep water. Unfortunately, after too many weekends of waiting for the wind to pick up, he only got half way through his course and probably won't finish. So I don't think we'll be seeing Charlie down with the guns behind the Meridien any time soon. Now we know that it's worth waiting for Spring to learn to fly.
Noumea is one of the best places to world to kite surf. Here's a pic of the sun going down on the kites, with the Phare Amadee in the background.