Early morning hours in Noumea

These are the working hours for what kind of business in Noumea (the capital city in New Caledonia) (you have one guess):

Monday to Friday: 6am to 8pm
Saturday: 7:30am to 8pm
Sunday: 8am to 12pm

Bank, telephone company, university, tourist office?


That’s your local gym. Yep, open at 6am during the week. And guess what. People actually work out before work here in Noumea. I hear some of the locals get into Noumea before work starts and go to the gym to pass the time before the work day starts at 7 or 7:30.

Another question – and for those of you who have been following me on Facebook, this will be easy – at what time did the local cable company pass by last Saturday morning to install our cable? Yes, that’s right. 7:30am. On a Saturday morning.

For someone from Paris who could not believe one of the main telephone providers did not open before 10am, this is absolutely incredible service. This is how a country should be run! (Okay, we need extra coffee for 7.30am visits from technicians, but we can cope with that.)

On the downside, guess what time the banks close here. Yep, 4:00pm. And the telecommunications/postal office? Yep, 4:00pm. Do places close for lunch? Yes ma’am. Just yesterday I needed to buy credit for our pay-as-you-go phone (already – after less than a week), but it was lunchtime, and my local provider was closed. So you come back later. Nevermind that you have an important call to make. You’ll plan better next time (always have extra credit on hand).

Of course I remember all this from a few years ago, but it takes some adjusting to.

Sundays, Noumea is a ghost town. Absolutely everything seems to be closed. We live above one of the main axes into the town centre and it goes completely quiet on Sundays (which we are very grateful for). The deadness of the city is a bit eerie for those used to big-city living, but for us, it is quaint, charming, welcome.

What time does work start? 7am for my husband. School? Pablo will start soon at 8:30am. I will work shortly thereafter.

What time does work end? 5pm for my husband, 4pm on Fridays, Wednesday afternoons off. Pablo’s school will end at 3pm every week day.

The sun goes down at 5:30pm at this time of year in New Caledonia, so those who rise at 6am get the most sun … and with only a few hours of sun after school every day, we’re quickly turning early birds! (Okay, I’ll still write, tweet and read late into the night – when everyone is in bed and the city is quiet, as has been my lifelong habit – but shhhhhh … don’t tell anyone!).


6 thoughts on “Early morning hours in Noumea

  1. In Arizona, many people in trades or who have to do anything outdoors start very early in the morning and quit before the heat becomes oppressive mid to late afternoon. But, almost all other businesses that operate in air conditioning keep “normal” U.S. hours (9:00-5:00). In Doha, where the heat is even more mind-boggling, workdays are 7:30-2:30 (although most “Western” expats I know work longer). Businesses close around 1 pm and reopen 3:30ish. But, they also staye open late; you can bank until 8:00 pm, grocery shop till midnight, and there is an active nightlife there because it’s cool. It’s not unusual to see families in parks until 9 or 10 pm. Noumea seems to fall somewhere in the middle?

    • Yep, Noumea is definitely an early morning city – and it does have a night life. But grocery shopping stops about 7pm. We do not have air conditioning all over the city, which probably explains the early closing of banks, etc. Right now it is winter in New Caledonia – about 21 degrees Celsius during the day. We’ll see what things are like as it heats up!

  2. Pingback: Sea snakes, turtles and mangrove crabs in Nouméa « New Caledonia Today

  3. Pingback: Bans on the sale of alcohol in New Caledonia « New Caledonia Today

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