Ile Aux Canards is only a 5 minute taxi boat ride from Anse Vata Beach, the toursim capital of Noumea, New Caledonia. The island is within a 190ha Marine Reserve set up in May of 1980, making it one of the oldest marine reserves in New Caledonia. There is an "underwater trail" on the northwest side of the 2ha island, just off the white sand beach, ranging from the intertidal to about 4 meters deep. The water is thick with fish and, on weekends, snorkelers. Huge friendly groupers and snappers laze amid uncountable swarms of brightly colored tropical lagoon fish of astonishing variety.
I don't know of any other coral reef so close to a major city that is so rich in living corals and fish. You can see Ile Aux Canards from the window of your hotel room at la Promenade Hotel in Anse Vata.
Noumea is the capital and vacation centre of the Islands of New Caledonia in the South Pacific. Noumea is a "French" city, but the 91,000 inhabitants are a very mixed cultural group with French, Melanesian, Polynesian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and lots of mixtures of these. Over 60% of the population of New Caledonia lives in Noumea.Noumea is a peninsula on the southwestern end of Grande Terre and the central business district (Centre Ville) is next to one of the best natural harbours in the South Pacific. The lagoon side of the peninsula has two picturesque bays with white sand beaches and is called Anse Vata and Baie des Citrons. These twin bays are the international tourism capital of New Caledonia with hotels, restaurants and bars on the landward side of "La Promenade".First settled by the French in 1854, Noumea retains close political ties with France. It has excellent schools and public facilities - parks, recreation areas, exercise paths, schools and medical facilities. Today it is the fastest growing city in the South Pacific. There are 23 hotels in Noumea ranging from one to five stars and over 100 Restaurants.