At low tide the reefs and sand flats emerge from the sea offering a whole new world of exploration. Sea shells and sand dollars burrow down into the sand to escape the harsh realities of wind and sun, but after a few hours the warm sand becomes depleted of oxygen and they begin to get restless.
So when you walk over the bright white coral sand you can see the traces of the sand dwellers and admire the ripple patterns in the sand made by small waves and tidal currents.
Walking way out there on the reef far from the land gives a feeling of freedom combined with a sense of urgency - because while the returning tide brings happy relief to the sand dwellers it could easily be a problem for an unwary walker.
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.