New Caledonia has the world's second biggest coral reef stretching 1600 kilometres around the mainland forming the world’s largest lagoon. Smaller islands surround the reef including the Loyalty Islands and the Isle of Pines. This French colony has much to offer with European cuisine and shopping blending with the beauty and the culture of the South Pacific.
The diving and snorkelling are spectacular. In summer the water may not be as clear with wet season runoff from the land, but on calm days in winter, underwater visibility can reach 50m (165ft).
New Caledonia enjoys a sunny climate marked by two seasons: December to March is warm and humid with moderate rainfall; April to November is cool and dry.
- Bay of Prony - hydrothermal activity reacting with sea water has formed the growth of an enormous stalagmite, the Needle of Prony, which has a height of 38 metres. The dramatic formation with sealife clinging to the different depths of the needle is well worth a dive.
- Tenia is well known for its beautful drops of 40-50 metres covered by many types of soft coral. This is a beautifully preserved area of coral and sealife, with dolphins and schools of fish.
- The town of Hienghene, which lies on the east coast of the main island, offers great diverse diving with visibility going beyond 30 metres in good conditions. Caves, tunnels and swim throughs abound with hard and soft corals of every colour. The giant sea fans are of exceptional quality making for excellent photography.
- The Isle of Pines offers numerous diving opportunities but particularly Satan's Cave which is a mysterious fresh water underground cave which can only be reached by a narrow underwater corridor.
|Language:||French, but English is widely spoken|
|Currency:||South Pacific Franc|
|Natural hazards:||Cyclones, most frequent from November to March|
|Diving season:||Year round|
|Air temperature:||Sept to March, 25°C-27°C (77°F-80°F)|
|April to Aug, 20°C-23°C (68°F-73°F)|