Region to discover: Islands of New Caledonia

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Islands of New Caledonia

Somewhere in the middle of South Pacific lies a truly impressive territory – the archipelago of New Caledonia, a group of unique islands, each having its particular charm and beauty. New Caledonia is comprised of Grande Terre, which is the mainland, and a series of islands: the Bélep Islands, the Isle of Pines, the Loyalty Islands (Lifou, Maré, Ouvéa and Tiga), and many other remote islands, isles and islets.

Most of these islands are accessible by boat or by plane and await to be discovered by tourists who decide to spend their holidays there. Let’s take them one by one and see what wonders they have to offer.

Bélep Islands are a coral island group comprising Pott, Art and Dau Ac islands, plus a series of small islets. The main settlement here is Wala, on Art Island, which is the largest of the group, at 10 miles long and 3 miles wide, and is inhabited by a little over 800 people, mainly fishermen. What’s unique about this island group is that it managed to keep a unique authenticity and lacks any tourist amenities.

The Isle of Pines, with its white sandy bays and turquoise waters, seems to be a fairy-tale location. Its beauty is breathtaking, the Oro, Kuto and Kanumera Bays offering an amazing spectacle of colour and tranquility. The island combines traditional life with modernity, but it provides visitors with plenty of secluded spots, and hotels here are sought after by honeymooners due to their privacy.

Moving on, the Loyalty Islands are just some pieces of Pacific perfection, the isles of legends. These are the islands that attract the highest number of tourists in New Caledonia, with their pristine beaches, lush vegetation, and tropical landscapes set on astonishing lagoons.

Locals are very welcoming people and their lifestyle is a mix of traditional and modern. Asian honeymooners and cruise ship passengers alike are drawn to Lifou, Ouvéa and Maré to enjoy their secluded beaches, lush flora and fauna, and hidden caves.

Ouvéa, for instance, with its the azure sky, the beauty of the lagoon, combined with its pure and untainted landscapes, is considered by many the closest island to paradise, a title well deserved by the island. A dazzling white sand beach stretches for almost 25 km, and visitors can find here great diving sites, like those around the Pléïades Reef. Nature lovers will also be able to see some majestic coconut plantations and watch hoards of turtles moving through the channel at Mouli Bridge.

Lifou is another island that amazes tourists with its contrast and scenery variety. It is the largest of the Loyalty Islands at 81 km long and here you can see how immaculate beaches blend with lush forests, steep cliffs and surprising caves.

And finally, those who decide to explore Maré, the third of the Loyalty Islands, will be impressed by the intense, wild beauty of its scenery as spectacular beaches abound here as well. The 42-km long island has its own identity and its narrow beaches are often backed by cliffs.

Want more? Read about the West Coast, the Great South, the East Coast or Noumea.

Last modified: 20 December 2019

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