A group of whale watchers are perched on the crest of Cap Ndua on the southernmost tip of Grande Terre, New Caledonia. They are looking for the whales that swim into the southern lagoon of New Caledonia from late July through to October. Whale watchers come from all over the world to see the humpback and sometimes the Cachalot whales. However this group of young ladies from New Zealand had been watching for days without seeing one and if you look out over the lagoon you won't see any either. But it's a beautiful place. For details on whale watching excursions in New Caledonia see the Rocket Guide to New Caledonia.
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.