Top Ten New Caledonian Attractions

Top Ten New Caledonian Attractions

       New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, 1,500 km (930 mi) east of Australia and about 20,000 km (12,000 mi) from Metropolitan France. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia sub-region  includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of Pines and a few remote islets. The Chesterfield Islands in the Coral Sea are also part of New Caledonia. Locals refer to Grand Terre as “Le Caillou,” the rock. New Caledonia has a land area of 18,576 square km (7,172 square mi). The population in 2011 is 256,275. The capital and the only sizable city of the territory is Nouméa.

  1. New Caledonia Reef

    The New Caledonia Barrier Reef is located in New Caledonia in the South Pacific, and is the second-longest double-barrier coral reef in the world, after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The New Caledonia Barrier reef surrounds Grande Terre, New Caledonia’s largest island, as well as the Ile des Pins and several smaller islands, reaching a length of 1,500 km (930 mi). The reef encloses a lagoon of 24,000 square km (9,300 sq mi), which has an average depth of 25 m (82 ft). The reefs lie up to 30 km (19 mi) from the shore, but extend almost 200 km (120 mi) to the Entrecasteaux reefs in the northwest. This northwestern extension encloses the Belep Islands and other sand cays. Several natural passages open out to the ocean. The Boulari passage, which leads to Noumea, the capital and chief port of New Caledonia, is marked by the Amédée lighthouse. The reef has great species diversity with a high level of endemism, and is home to endangered dugongs (Dugong dugon), and is an important nesting site for green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). Most of the reefs are generally thought to be in good health. Some of the eastern reefs have been damaged by effluent from nickel mining on Grand Terre. Sedimentation from mining, agriculture, and grazing has affected reefs near river mouths, which has been worsened by the destruction of mangrove forests, which help to retain sediment. Some reefs have been buried under several meters of silt. In the lagoons of New Caledonia there are many water species ranging from plankton to larger fish and even sharks. In January 2002, the French government proposed listing New Caledonia’s reefs as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO listed New Caledonia Barrier Reef on the World Heritage List under the name The Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems on 7 July 2008.
    Links: Top Ten Reefs, Top 100 Fish,
  2. Nouméa

           Nouméa is the capital city of the French territory of New Caledonia. It is situated on a peninsula in the south of New Caledonia’s main island, Grande Terre, and is home to the majority of the island’s European, Polynesian (Wallisians, Futunians, Tahitians), Indonesian and Vietnamese populations, as well as many Melanesians, Ni-Vanuatu and Kanaks that work in one of the South Pacific’s most industrialized cities. The city lies on a protected deep water harbor which serves as the chief port for New Caledonia. The population of the city was 97,579 (2009), up from 76,293 in 1996. 66.7% of the population of New Caledonia live in Greater Nouméa, which covers the communes of Nouméa, Le Mont-Dore, Dumbéa and Païta.
  3. Grande Terre

  4. Links: Islands, Top Ten Oceanic Islands,,