The Baie du Carenage, on the SE tip of Grand Terre Island of New Caledonia has three rivers that enter it and nobody lives on the watersheds of these rivers; a true wilderness area surrounds the deep, protected anchorage. In the 1800's this was the site of a prison colony. The prisoners were forced to dig for minerals and cut down trees for wood to build Noumea, some 36 nautical miles to the northwest. You can find the stone foundations of buildings and hidden graves in the forests. The reason there are no villages or farms or people here is because the land is so rich in heavy metals food plants don't survive and drinking the fresh water for a long time results in heavy metal poisoning.
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.