While there's plenty to see and do on the land, New Caledonia also offers up a sub-aquatic smorgasbord beneath the waves.
New Caledonia is home to the largest lagoon in the world and there are several scuba diving clubs located on the mainland and the islands, offering dives for both beginners and pros. The underwater exploration includes the barrier reef, natural caves and shipwrecks, habitat for an extremely dense fauna and flora. Top spots include The Dieppoise at the Amédée Lighthouse, the Humboldt near the Dumbéa channel, the Arrogant at Boulari and the Sun Burnt Country towards Goéland Islet.
The waters around the Isle of Pines and Lifou are renowned for their exceptional richness, but the islands also offer cave diving, where the atmosphere is necessarily different. The gallery of caves around Lifou remain largely unexplored, but you’ll need someone to show you around as this is intended primarily for experienced divers and caving enthusiasts.
Some of the best dive spots include The Prony Needle, a geological curiosity found nowhere else on the planet. Found in Prony Bay, south of Grande Terre, the Needle rises from the area’s thermal springs more than 30 meters from the sea floor to the surface of the water. The fauna here is simply extraordinary.
Located in Grand Sud off the coast of Goro, the Shark Pit combines an abrupt drop into the deep, a sandy bottom, coral to observe and a wide range of exceptional marine wildlife, including sharks. Off the coast of Hienghène, The Cathedral is a majestic dive site where you can discover both large pelagic fish and smaller fish of shimmering colours.
You can still discover New Caledonia’s underwater treasures without strapping on a tank. With only a mask, flippers and a snorkel, a swimmer can also meet up with butterfly fish, triggerfish, parrotfish and clownfish. The underwater path at Ilot Canard (Duck Island), the depths off the coast of the Amédée Island, the lagoon of Poé, the waters off Hienghène or the Loyalty Islands are the best spots to snorkel.
Duck Island is a 10-minute journey by water taxi from the beach of Anse Vata and is a registered marine reserve. Its marked underwater trail is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and masks and snorkels are available for rent. You will find another trail for discoveries in Hienghène on the island of Hienga to the north.
Anchored to the Tamanou reef in Sainte Marie Bay in Noumea, the Pontoon offers an original way to explore the lagoon. The 400-square-metre leisure complex has a trail called the underwater tunnel that lets visitors discover rich flora and fauna, especially at the outskirts of the coral. The floating restaurant is open for lunch or a night out. Family snorkelling can also be practiced in Noumea between the beaches of Lemon Bay, L’Anse Vata, or Chateau Royal.
Subscription successful! Thank you for subscribing.