This blog on New Caledonia is for those of you who ever wondered what life on a tiny island in the South Pacific might be like. Tired of bracing winter winds, the stress of an inner city or simply dreaming of a life change? This is a blog about what happens when, in the words of Yogi Berra, "you come to a fork in the road, [and] take it".

15 June 2007

How the Mail Works in New Caledonia

Have something urgent to send to a major developed country from a tiny island in the South Pacific? Sit back, relax, and above all, take a deep breath.

The fastest the post office can actually guarantee that your mail will reach Paris from Nouméa is six days. New York or Los Angeles or Toronto? Probably eight to ten days.

Our experience is that it takes 10 days to reach Europe and 14 days to reach the United States.

Why is that, you ask? I recently asked and the answer is: because the mail actually only leaves the island on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. And if you want your mail to leave, you have to get it to the post office the day before. So, for a Saturday flight, stop by the post office on the Friday (before 15:30 - in Nouméa: for other cities you might have to stop by sooner). If you make the mistake of going to the post office on Wednesday and thinking your mail will leave (same day service - who would have thought of such a thing?), think again. Your mail will leave on Saturday.

Which is why, with the wait time, they can only guarantee six days (via priority service or even a courier service such as DHL). Heavens!


Jo Pfaff said...

Very Interesting!
Thank God for email and internet!

Le Cagou said...

Hi everybody,
How right you are Julie.
Margouillette from as you know sent me a lovely and colourful postcard in an enveloppe from the town of Paita, New Caledonia.
The Post Office stamp says: tuesday 5th 2007 6 am on the enveloppe.
The card arrived in Liverpool U-K on thursday the 14th in the morning.
So yes, 9 days to travel.
And because it was posted on one of these 3 weekdays you mentionned in your article.
It is really a snail mail pace.
But I did appreciate the gesture very much.
I did reply to Margouillette however the same day in the afternoon before the mail collection at 5 pm.
May I coin this expression: I will keep you posted.
Maybe we want things yesterday these days.
Thank you for your interesting, informative and appropriate article.
A bientot Julie.
Have a good day everyone. Marc