Buying alcohol in New Caledonia
buying alcohol in new caledonia

You believe buying alcohol in New Caledonia will be simple? Not always 😉 !

You cannot buy any type of alcohol, anytime, anywhere… Bans on alcohol exist!

And even for us, as locals we sometimes get to our favourite local shop and find a sign indicating that alcohol cannot be purchased. (:

buying alcohol in new caledonia

This partial ban on alcohol has been in place for many years now and might slightly differ according to the township, but in general here are the rules:




  1. You need to be 18 years old or older to purchase or consume alcohol.
  2. The ban doesn’t apply to bars and restaurants, where alcohol is directly consumed on site.
  3. It doesn’t apply to all alcohol types purchased in specialized bottle shops (“caviste” in French). In a bottle shop during the ban, you can still buy wine, but cannot buy strong alcohol or beers. Not simple indeed 😉
  4. The ban applies to general food stores (grocery stores or supermarkets) . In Nouméa (and it is very similar in most townships of New Caledonia), the sale of alcohol for take away is forbidden the following days:


Morning Afternoon
Monday Allowed Allowed
Tuesday Allowed Allowed
Wednesday Allowed Forbidden during  school period
Thursday Allowed Allowed
Friday Allowed Forbidden
Saturday Allowed Forbidden
Sunday Allowed Forbidden
Day before a bank holiday Allowed Forbidden
Bank holiday Forbidden Forbidden






To summarize, buying alcohol during your trip in New Caledonia, is possible:

  • Anytime in a bar or restaurant
  • Anytime at Tontouta airport dutyfree
  • Anytime wine in a bottle shop
  • In a supermarket or grocery stores, generally mornings are ok.

We agree it is not the simplest set of regulation 😉 Be also aware that there is high level of taxation over alcohol, and drinks in New Caledonia are not cheap!

Excessive drinking is dangerous for the health; alcoholic beverages should be consumed with moderation.

Oleti for reading us!