The Maa Peninsula in New Caledonia forms the western border of Noumea's commercial harbour. It is a windy and dry place, located in a natural rain shadow on the southwestern coast of Grande Terre. This lovely beach tips the southwestern point of the Peninsula and, together with a coral reef extending to and beyond the tiny island in the panorama, shapes it's own protected little anchorage. During weekends pleasure boats from Noumea flock to the lagoon islands to enjoy snorkelling and diving and picnics on the white sandy beaches. But if the wind picks up and the small lagoon islands become uncomfortable, boats often duck into Baie Maa's sheltered anchorage for a night's rest. For full details on anchoring in Baie Maa see the cruising 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.