One of the things I love most about New Caledonia is the great treking. Every weekend thousands of Noumea residents leap in their cars with their friends and drive to one of the hundreds of trails that criss-cross Grande Terre. The southern part of the island is largely uninhabited and most of it is wilderness - some in protected reserves - some just sitting there. New Caledonia treking is second to none in the South Pacific.
This sphere image was taken from a watchtower on top of the easternmost of the Deux Tetons (that's French for "two tits"). It looks down into the valley of the Riviere des Pirogues. The government set up a series of watchtowers like this one for volunteers who keep a lookout for fires during the dry, hot season.
This trek followed an old mining road to the now-abandoned mine on top of the Deux Tetons. It was great exercise, and by the time we got back down to the river valley we were ready for a cool swim in the cascades.
New Caledonia is the closest South Pacific Island to Australia and New Zealand. It is a French Territory and although the official language is French the culture is a blend of Melanesian, European, Polynesian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indonesian, and more. There is one large mountainous island called Grande Terre and 6 smaller islands - the three Loyalty Islands, Belep and the Isle of Pines.The islands are remarkably unpopulated and there are vast areas of wilderness. There are hundreds of kilometers of walking treks, camp grounds, more than 42 parks and reserves, and crystal clear rivers with sparkling waterfalls. Almost one third of the population is located in the capital city of Noumea. Nickel mining is the primary industry and is the major contributor to the high standard of living in the country. Grande Terre is surrounded by the second largest barrier reef in the world and the protected lagoon created by this barrier reef is the largest in the world. Listed as a World Heritage Site in 2008, the lagoon is 24,000 square kilometers and supports a diverse and luxuriant fauna of fish and invertebrates.The vibrant, clear and rich colors are one of the first things that visitors notice when they arrive. Noumea has a complete range of hotels, resorts, restaurants, and activities to welcome visitors.