New Caledonia has some really exotic wildflowers and nearly every time Freddy and I go trekking we see flowers we have never seen before. Of course some flowers are old friends and appear every year in the same areas. Freddy especially likes the huge variety of Xanthostemon flowers. We call them Christmas flowers because they are - normally - everywhere in December. But this year they didn't really start blooming until April!
We take lots of "normal" images of New Caledonia wildflowers but taking sphere images of them is a challenge because they are usually small and widely scattered so a sphere image doesn't give you the same feeling that you get with your nose a couple of inches from them. This particular display of Xanthostemon flowers offered a nice sphere view - and if you pan down you'll be looking right into the flower cups.
The unusual view of this 3 meter high Xanthostemon bush is from 7 GoPro Hero2 cameras mounted on the end of a fishing pole poking up through the thicket of branches.
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.