As soon as you arrive you will realise why the Isle of Pines is nicknamed ‘the nearest island to paradise’!
Its white sandy beaches and its clear turquoise waters will amaze you during the whole of your stay. It is a unique place with breath taking scenery. Its population numbers about 2000 inhabitants, mostly Melanesians, called the ‘Kunie’ people.
There are 2 possibilities to reach the Isle of Pines – by boat (about 2 ½ hours) or by plane (20 minutes) from Noumea.
Boat trip in a traditional pirogue from Saint Joseph Bay to Upi Bay.
This crossing lasts about 2 hours and will no doubt be one of your most memorable experiences, navigating between the coral rocks from Saint Joseph Bay to Upi Bay. If you are lucky you will spot turtles, dolphins and manta rays. Upon arrival your skipper will show you the path to follow through a forest and a palm grove to reach Oro Bay (a 40 minute walk).
Oro Bay and its natural swimming pool
You can get to Oro Bay by boat or car – through a channel. You have 2 choices – turn right to the natural swimming pool (entrance fee 200 CFP), preferably at low tide, or turn to the left and discover the magnificent Oro Bay. Bring your snorkelling gear to make the most of the beautiful marine life in this magnificent natural swimming pool.
The Nokanhui island and its long stretch of white sand is a unique place in New Caledonia.You can go there with an organised boat trip and if you wish you can have a special ‘crayfish’ meal prepared on another island. Don’t forget your camera for unforgettable memories of this dream-like landscape.
Prison camp ruins
3000 prisoners were exiled to this prison camp in 1872. The building was used for different purposes over the years – cemetery, prison, water tower and even a convent. Today the tropical vegetation has taken over the camp but allows glimpses of the prison ruins.
This is one of the most sought after beaches on the island , with its long white sandy beach, opposite the Kou-Bugny hotel. A rocky peninsula separates it from Kanumera Bay.
The beautiful beach, which is accessible to everyone, is opposite the Oure Tera Beach Resort hotel. Its rock is sacred and therefore it is forbidden to touch and walk on it.
Queen Hortense Cave
(Entrance fee 200 CFP)
Queen Hortense, daughter of the tribal chief Vandegou, took refuge in this cave during the conflicts of succession in 1855. She is famous for having resisted the French authorities in the conflict over the exile of the Kunie tribe.
Cave of the Third
This cave’s name comes from the prison camp era – it was the third community of prisoners to have used it as a hideout. Today it still has some stalagmite and stalactites and is hidden away under dense vegetation. It is a favourite spot for experienced cave explorers.
Notre Dame de l’Assomption Church
This church was built in 1860 by prisoners and the Kunie people and is located in the village of Vao, the only village on the Isle of Pines. Mass is held there every Sunday at 9am.
After an hour’s walk you can admire the panoramic view over the whole island at the N’ga Peak, the highest point on the island (262 m). The start of this trail is at the Kuberka lodge.