New Caledonia is a “sui generis” that means kind/genus or unique in its characteristics. It is the third-largest island in the Pacific Region after Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. It is located in southern Melanesia in the southwest Pacific.
The island is situated about 1,700 km from New Zealand, 5,000 km from Tahiti, 1,500 km from Australia, 10,000 km from the West Coast of the USA, 7,000 km from Japan, and 20,000 km from France.
The Mainland is divided into 2 very different areas:
The East Coast, humid and open to the trade winds is a fertile, exotic land with lush tropical vegetation, green valleys, beautiful waterfalls, rivers, and authentic Melanesian huts along the roads.
The West Coast, a drier, temperate zone. There are fewer coconut trees but “niaouli” trees grow by the thousands and the endemic wildlife is rich. It is “cattle country,” shaped by people who live at the pace of their cattle. There is an abundance of beautiful beaches too.
The Territory of New Caledonia is consists of a cigar-shaped mainland (Grande Terre), the Isle of Pines to the south of Mainland, the Loyalty Island to the east of Mainland (Tiga, Lifou, Ouvéa, and Maré), and the small uninhabited dependencies of Walpole Island (125 hectares), the d’Entrecasteaux Reefs (64 hectares), and the more distant Chesterfield Islands (101 hectares). The d’Entrecasteaux Reefs is consist of two separate lagoons centered on tiny Huon and Surprise Islands, with a deep strait 10 km wide between.
Unlike the other volcanic neighbors, New Caledonia is a fragment of an ancient continent that drifted away some 250 million years ago. Its flora and fauna evolved in isolation, and are now quite unique: 3500 recorded species of plants, three-quarters of which occur only here; 4300 species of land animals, 1000 species of fish, 6500 species of marine invertebrates.
Five hundred kilometers long, fifty kilometers wide, New Caledonia offers an endless variety of landscapes, from some of the best white sand beaches in the Pacific to spectacular mountain retreats.
New Caledonia also boasts the largest lagoon in the world, which is surrounded by 1,600 km long coral reef. The reef can be as close as a few kilometers from the coast in some places and as far as 65 km in others – with an average depth of 40 m.
The interior is made up of row upon row of craggy mountains throughout its length. The verdant northeast coast of this island is broken and narrow, cut by tortuous rivers and jagged peaks falling directly into the lagoon. The drier southwest coast is low, swampy, and mosquito-ridden, with wide coastal plains and alluvial lowlands.
The Loyalty Islands, on the other hand, are uplifted atolls with no rivers but many limestone caves. Maré, Tiga, Lifou, and Ouvéa form a chain 100 km east of Grande Terre. The Belep Islands and Isle of Pines are geological extensions of the main island.
New Caledonia is also known on its heart-shaped piece of land in incredible mangrove.
You can watch the video of New Caledonia.