In the digital holographic measurement of complex surfaces, phase unwrapping is a critical step for accurate reconstruction. The phases of the complex amplitudes calculated from interferometric holograms are disturbed by speckle noise, thus reliable unwrapping results are difficult to be obtained. Most of existing unwrapping algorithms implement denoising operations first to obtain noise-free phases and then conduct phase unwrapping pixel by pixel. This approach is sensitive to spikes and prone to unreliable results in practice. In this paper, a robust unwrapping algorithm based on the non-subsampled contourlet transform (NSCT) is developed. The multiscale and directional decomposition of NSCT enhances the boundary between adjacent phase levels and henceforth the influence of local noise can be eliminated in the transform domain. The wrapped phase map is segmented into several regions corresponding to different phase levels. Finally, an unwrapped phase map is obtained by elevating the phases of a whole segment instead of individual pixels to avoid unwrapping errors caused by local spikes. This algorithm is suitable for dealing with complex and noisy wavefronts. Its universality and superiority in the digital holographic interferometry have been demonstrated by both numerical analysis and practical experiments.