Ouvea is an old atoll, tilted up on the southeastern side by a rise in the sea floor over a million years ago. The coral reefs on the uplifted side were thrust up high into the air while the reefs on the northwest sank to open the lagoon to the sea. People live on the 40 km long southeastern arc of uplifted reef - Melanesians on the southern part, Polynesians on the northern part. And the occasional tourist from all over the world scattered just about everywhere, on the land and in the lagoon. On Ouvea, Tourism is about the only source of income and there are guides to take you to visit the more interesting places. The cliffs at Lekiny are undoubtedly the most spectacular scenic place (you don't need a guide for Ouvea's truly world class spectacular scenic place - the beach). After a short walk along the edge of a shallow lagoon you come to the foot of the uplifted coral reefs, now festooned with flowers. You can find out about getting to this very spot on the Guide to New Caledonia.
Visit the official Destination Iles Loyalte website on Ouvea, Loyalty Islands
Ouvea Atoll is the northernmost of the four Loyalty Islands. The eastern side of the atoll was uplifted millions of years ago so the whole eastern side forms one long narrow coral island with one of the world's most spectacular white sand beaches along the proctected lagoon. Ouvea is a 40 minute flight from Noumea, New Caledonia aboard Air Caledonie's new ATR turboprop planes. There is one 4 star Ouvea hotel - the Paradis d'Ouvea - two "Gites" and 6 "tribal stay" accommodation. There are also two managed campsites. Ouvea is popular with visitors - especially Japanese visitors - primarily because of the breathtaking beauty of the beach, but also because of the clear protected waters and coral reefs that offer great diving, interesting walks and annual festivals to attend. Two distinct cultural groups live on Ouvea, the Polynesian speaking people of the northern villages and the Melanesian speaking people of the southern villages. All of them also speak French and are French citizens because New Caledonia is part of France.