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From rich cultural experiences to French pastries and snorkelling over coral reefs, New Caledonia combines some of the best aspects of Melanesian and French culture.

Whether you get there via cruise ship or fly in directly from Australia, it’s vital you have adequate travel insurance for your New Caledonian holiday. This guide explains:

  • The benefits of travel insurance
  • What to look for in a travel insurance policy
  • Policy exclusions highlighting what won’t be covered
  • Tips for travelling to New Caledonia

Should I get travel insurance for a trip to New Caledonia?

Before you say ‘bon voyage’ to Australia, it could be worth looking into travel insurance for your vacation to New Caledonia.

There’s always a possibility that things could go wrong on your trip. For example, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) helped with 911 cases of illness and hospitalisation overseas in the 2021-22 period.1 If you get injured in New Caledonia, DFAT’s Smartraveller website notes that medical care can be quite expensive.2

Medical evacuation back to Australia and medical costs could be particularly pricey if you had to pay for it yourself. These things can be covered by travel insurance, as can a range of other scenarios and events (subject to the terms of your policy). For information on a policy’s cover and exclusions for natural disasters, check out the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

New Caledonia island getaway

Travel insurance for New Caledonia: What to include

Picking travel insurance is like packing your suitcase – you want to ensure you’ve got what you need while you’re away. While travel insurance can cover a vast array of events, we’ll take a look at some of the most important features to consider when planning a trip to New Caledonia.

Medical expenses

While New Caledonia is a largely peaceful island in the South Pacific, it still has its dangers. As noted by Smartraveller, dengue fever, Zika virus and other insect-borne, waterborne, foodborne and parasitic diseases and infections are present in New Caledonia.2 Venomous sea snakes can be found in the ocean or on the beach.

Getting cover for any medical expenses incurred during your time in New Caledonia can provide peace of mind and help you ensure you don’t have to pay for medical costs if you need treatment.

Cruise voyages

New Caledonia is a popular cruise destination but, in most cases, standard travel insurance policies don’t cover cruises. The good news is you can typically purchase an optional extra to add cruise cover onto your policy.

It’s a good idea to double check that medical cover is included in your cruise extra, as Medicare won’t cover you on a cruise once you leave port, even if you’re travelling between Australian ports. If you’re planning on sailing around the Pacific, it’s worth checking whether your preferred travel insurance policy will cover you while you’re on a cruise.

While cruise cover can vary between insurers, most will provide cover for medical expenses, hospitalisation, medical evacuation (should something go wrong at sea), stolen, lost or damaged belongings, and reimbursements for cancelled activities. Note that not all providers or policies cover all these things, and they may only offer a selection of these types of benefits.

When purchasing travel insurance, you’ll need to check how many other destinations you’re visiting besides New Caledonia as it’s common for ships to also sail to other nearby islands such as Vanuatu or Fiji on a South Pacific cruise.

Natural disasters

Smartraveller warns that New Caledonia can experience a number of disruptive weather events, including tsunamis, earthquakes and bushfires. Cyclone season from November to May can bring high winds, heavy rain and big seas to the region.2

Should a natural disaster occur, your coverage will depend on what the insurer covers and when you bought your policy. For example, if you’d purchased travel insurance before the cyclone had formed, you could be covered for lost deposits and cancellation fees (if you aren’t compensated by your airline or accommodation provider).

Or, if you’ve already made it to New Caledonia and a natural disaster occurs, any damage to your belongings or injuries you sustain can be covered – as long as your travel insurance lists this cover in your product disclosure statement.

However, if you purchase travel insurance after a natural disaster occurs, and that event forces you to cancel your holiday plans, this won’t be covered by your travel insurance. This is because it was already a ‘known event’.

Adventure activities

Whether you’re on the main island of Grande Terre or any of the smaller surrounding islands, there’s adventure to be found in New Caledonia.

Whether you’re snorkelling or riding horses across the fields and beaches, it pays to look at what activities are covered by your policy.

Some travel insurance providers cover some basic activities and sports like hiking, snorkelling or horse riding at no extra cost, but not more adventurous activities like kite surfing or motorcycle riding. Even if a travel insurance provider doesn’t cover your favourite activity, you may be able to purchase add-on cover for it, so you can have peace of mind while staying active on holiday.

A world of choice

There are various types of travel insurance out there. Cheaper options may provide cover for a limited number of scenarios or lower amounts of financial compensation if you make a claim, while more comprehensive policies will provide greater coverage.

With Compare the Market, you can compare many policies at the same time. These polices range from medical-only, right through to comprehensive policies that cover an extensive range of benefits. It’s all about what you want to include based on your travel plans.

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Common travel insurance exclusions

Exclusions refer to situations where the travel insurance policy does not provide any cover, and as a result you are unable to make a claim. While some specifics can differ between providers, a few exclusions to be aware of on your New Caledonian getaway include:

  • Alcohol and illicit substances. If you were under the influence of an illegal substance or alcohol when something went wrong, this could result in the claim being denied.
  • Reckless behaviour. Acting dangerously, failing to listen to instructions from tour operators or breaking the law can make you ineligible for travel insurance claims for any related incident that occurs.
  • Failing to wear a helmet. While you can get travel insurance for motorcycle, moped or scooter riding, and you may be able to rent one of these vehicles in New Caledonia, you must wear a helmet when doing so. If you get injured and you weren’t wearing a helmet, your insurer is unlikely to pay any claim for medical expenses from the accident.

Our top travel tips for New Caledonia

1.      Practice your French and carry a phrasebook

While you’ll find people in the capital city, Nouméa, who can speak English, they may not speak it fluently. Most people in the rest of the country only speak French. Keep a phrasebook or translation app handy and don’t be afraid to give French a try as your efforts will be appreciated.

Here are a few helpful phrases to get started:

  • Bonjour – Hello
  • Bonsoir – Good evening
  • S’il vous plait – Please
  • Merci – Thank you
  • Désolé – Sorry
  • Où est…? – Where is…?
  • Combien? – How much?
  • Je ne sais pas – I don’t know
  • Au revoir – Goodbye

2.      Be aware of dress codes and local customs

New Caledonia dress customs can be confusing at first glance. At some beaches, mainly in the capital city and tourist areas, it’s fine to be topless, but not at all beaches. Additionally, it’s polite to dress modestly when venturing out of Nouméa or other tourist hot spots.

If you’re exploring the island, you may be required to follow the Kanak people’s traditions, who are indigenous to New Caledonia, when entering certain areas. This can include verbally requesting permission to enter specific areas and offering a small gift.

Additionally, as a territory of France, New Caledonia follows both French law and its own laws. Smartraveller recommends carrying photo ID in case you need to present it to authorities.2

3.      Bring insect repellent

As a tropical island in the Pacific, you’re going to encounter bugs in New Caledonia. Bring along some insect repellent to help keep them away. This won’t only help you avoid annoying bites, but it can also help you to avoid catching an insect-borne disease or virus.

You may also want to consider the following travel vaccinations for New Caledonia, recommended by the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Measles
  • Influenza
  • Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid
  • Yellow Fever2

4.      Be cautious when adventuring

New Caledonia offers plenty of opportunities for adventure but it’s wise to consider your safety before participating in activities, and also what your travel insurance policy will and won’t cover.

For example, if you’re keen to go scuba diving, keep in mind that different insurers offer different cover. Depending on your policy, travel insurance can cover you up to a certain depth, usually 10m-30m, or deeper if you have adventure cover. You may be required to have an open water diving license and be diving with an instructor. Read the PDS to understand the particulars of your cover.

New Caledonia tribal wood carvings

Adrian Taylor, Executive General Manager

Top travel tips from our expert, Adrian Taylor

  • While many insurers are providing cover for COVID-19 (coronavirus) related losses, you will likely need to purchase their top tier cover or comprehensive policy for COVID-19 cover to be included. Look for the COVID-19 icon when you compare products.
  • To ensure you’re covered for cancellations from before you depart Australia, you should compare and purchase comprehensive travel insurance as soon as you make a booking.
  • Decide what cover you need for medical treatment, cancellations, personal liability and delays, luggage and rental vehicle excess when you travel. You may also want to consider additional cover for cruises or adventure activities when shopping for a policy.
  • If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, search for products that allow you to declare these conditions to your insurer as part of your application. Not all conditions can be covered, so be sure to discuss all pre-existing conditions with your insurer so they can assess what cover they can offer you. This ensures there are no unpleasant surprises if you are injured or become ill while overseas and need to make a claim.
  • Petty crime has been known to occur in New Caledonia. To protect yourself and your belongings, don’t leave your possessions unattended in a public place and always lock your car and accommodation to reduce the risk of theft.

Cruise through travel insurance options with ease

Planning your amazing getaway, whether to New Caledonia or elsewhere, can be fun and exciting. Getting travel insurance for it, however, not so much. That’s where we come in.

Our free travel insurance comparison service compares a number of options in minutes, making it easy to weigh up quotes based on price and coverage. You can also compare the PDS of different policies to learn what plans have the cover you need. Also, we don’t mark up prices, so you would pay the same as if you went direct, but with more choice, all online, on one page, in just a couple minutes.


Are you looking to get travel insurance for a different destination? Check out our list of destination guides here for other locations.


1 Consular State of Play 2021-22. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government. 2022. Accessed November 2022.

2 New Caledonia. Smartraveller, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government. Last updated September 2022. Accessed November 2022.

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