New Caledonia is a tropical island located only a few hours’ flight from the east coast of Australia. The South Pacific paradise is a French territory, so not only do the natives speak French, but there is plenty of French architecture and the food is served with a French twist. The capital city Noumea is home to over 150 restaurants, many of which specialise in fresh local seafood including gourmet crustaceans. The capital also caters for the shopaholics, with a selection of designer and boutique outlets and thriving morning markets.
Do not travel to New Caledonia.
If beaches are your thing, you’re spoilt for choice in New Caledonia. The island experiences gorgeous blue skies and sunshine all year round, so you can enjoy soaking up the sun or taking a dip in the ocean in any month of the year. The island boasts a long list of beaches with beautiful white sand and crystal-clear waters. One of the best ways to explore is by island-hopping using a sail boat. This way you can dive in for a snorkel and get up close with the marine life that lives in the vibrant coral reefs – keep an eye out for the sea turtles!
Whether you’re planning a relaxing beach holiday or if you’re going to shop ‘til you drop, it’s important to consider your travel health and the risks of disease. Speak with your healthcare professional about the vaccinations or preventative medicines you might need to protect yourself prior to your departure to New Caledonia.
Before you go to New Caledonia
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that all travellers are up-to-date with their routine vaccinations including; measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, polio, influenza and pneumococcal disease. Some if these vaccinations are given as part of the National
Immunisation Program (NIP) for individuals who meet the criteria. .For a full list please refer to the NIP schedule, available here. In some cases, you may need a booster or re-vaccination against a disease to ensure you still have immunity.
Other diseases that are considered a risk in New Caledonia include hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid. Your doctor will be able to let you know which vaccinations or medications are recommended for you, based on the time of year, destination/s, activities planned and the duration of your stay.
All travellers should be up to date with their routine vaccinations before heading off to New Caledonia. These include vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, chicken pox, polio and influenza. For a full list, refer to the National Immunisation Program – available here
There is an increased risk of contracting hepatitis A and typhoid in New Caledonia, both of which can be contracted through contaminated food or water.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver. People are exposed to the virus generally through food or drink contaminated with faeces (poo), however, close personal contact (e.g.
Depending on where you are staying and what activities you have planned, the following vaccinations may be recommended for you by your doctor:
- Hepatitis B
- You can contract this through sexual contact and contaminated needles, so this vaccine is particularly important if you are sexually active in New Caledonia, having any medical procedures or are planning on getting a tattoo
- Yellow Fever
- The New Caledonian government requires visitors to provide evidence of having had a yellow fever vaccination if they are arriving from a country where there is a risk of yellow fever transmission (Australia is NOT one of these countries).
It is best to consult with your doctor or travel health clinic at least one month prior to your departure. They will be able to advise you about any vaccinations that you may need for your trip well before you leave, based on your specific travel plans.
Your doctor may conduct a general health check-up. This may be needed for your travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition. If you are not up-to-date with your routine vaccinations, then your doctor may recommend that you get a booster or be vaccinated/revaccinated against a particular disease.
Some health insurance companies provide coverage for vaccinations. You will need to contact your health insurance provider to see what they cover.
When you see your doctor regarding your trip, Medicare may cover the total cost of your consultation fees (if it is a bulk billing practice), or otherwise a portion of the cost. However, if you need to be vaccinated, Medicare will not cover the cost of the vaccines themselves.
There is a risk of contracting the mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever, chikungunya and zika virus in New Caledonia. Zika virus and dengue fever are spread through the bite of certain types of mosquito which are active during the daytime.
In some cases people who get infected do not show any symptoms, but those that do become ill 4–7 days after the bite, and have flu-like symptoms including intermittent high fever, severe headache, muscle, joint and bone pain, and a skin rash with red spots. In some cases, the illness may progress to dengue haemmorhagic fever, a very serious condition that can be fatal.
Most people who get infected do not show any symptoms, but those that do become ill 3–12 days after the bite, and experience symptoms such as mild fever, headache, muscle and joint pain. The illness is characterised by pink eye (inflammation of the eyelids), a skin rash with red spots and sensitivity to light.
Most people fully recover within 7 days of symptom treatment. Pregnant women can spread the virus to their foetus and should consult their healthcare professional prior to travelling to New Caledonia .
If you travel to New Caledonia you should avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by protecting yourself with insect repellent, wearing clothing that covers your arms and legs, and staying in accommodation that has working door and window screens.
The standard of healthcare facilities in New Caledonia is high, but search and rescue facilities are limited and there is no mobile phone coverage in some parts of the main island. It’s important you are prepared before heading off on your trip.
- Register your trip with Smart Traveller[LJ1]
- Make sure you have enough of your regular prescription medicines;
- Ensure you’re up-to-date with your routine vaccinations
- Take out travel insurance - to cover you and your family for medical and other costs resulting from unexpected incidents and accidents
- Put together a travel kit with medication for pain, diarrhoeal medicine, oral rehydration salts, antiseptic lotion or ointment, adhesive bandages and other wound dressings, insect repellent, sunscreen, latex gloves, thermometer, motion sickness medicine, water purification tablets and compression stockings
- The tap water is generally safe to drink in the towns of New Caledonia, however, if you are visiting rural or remote areas it is advised to drink bottled water only
- Avoid mosquito bites as monsquito borne diseases like dengue fever are risks in New Caledonia.
Protect yourself with insect repellent, wearing clothing that covers your arms and legs, and staying in accommodation that has working door and window screens.
Use condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, human papillomavirus, herpes, syphilis, hepatitis B and HIV.
Sources & Citations
- Worldometers, New Caledonia Population (live). Available at: https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/new-caledonia-population/ [Accessed 05 May 2020].
- Flight Centre. New Caledonia Travel Guide. Available at: https://www.flightcentre.com.au/new-caledonia/travel-guide [Accessed 05 May 2020].
- World Health Organization. Vaccines. Available at: https://www.who.int/ith/vaccines/en/ [Accessed 05 May 2020].
- Australian Government Department of Health. National Immunisation Program Schedule. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/national-immunisation-program-schedule [Accessed 05 May 2020].
- Australian Immunisation Handbook. Vaccination for international travellers. Available at: https://immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au/vaccination-for-special-risk-groups/vaccination-for-international-travellers#expand-collapse-all-top [Accessed 05 May 2020].
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New Caledonia – Traveler View. Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/india [Accessed 05 May 2020].
- Victoria State Government. Better Health Channel – Travel Immunisation. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/travel-immunisation?viewAsPdf=true [Accessed 16 April 2020].
- Finder, Travel Vaccinations – What is a travel vaccine and can you claim it on health insurance? Available at: https://www.finder.com.au/travel-vaccinations [Accessed 05 May 2020].
- International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers (IAMAT). New Caledonia – Zika virus. Available at: https://www.iamat.org/country/new-caledonia/risk/zika-virus [Accessed 05 May 2020].
- International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers (IAMAT). New Caledonia - Dengue. Available at: https://www.iamat.org/country/new-caledonia/risk/dengue [Accessed 05 May 2020].
- Australian Government. Smart Traveller – New Caledonia. Available at: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/pacific/new-caledonia [Accessed 05 May 2020]
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traveler’s Health Pack Smart. Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/pack-smart [Accessed 05 May 2020].
SPANZ.TRAV.20.05.0116- Date of preparation June 2020Show All