The Isle of Pines, the Precious Pearl of New Caledonia

The Isle of Pines, the Precious Pearl of New Caledonia

Isola dei Pini,Nuova Caledonia

The Isle of Pines, the Precious Pearl of New Caledonia

The Isle of Pines is considered one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is a small island located 30 miles southwest of Grande Terre in New Caledonia. The isle is characterized by a set of splendid lagoons and beaches of white sand, partly covered by dense forest of columnar pines (Araucaria columnaris), splendid tall trees that date back to 100 million years. Lapped by the crystal clear waters of the Southeast Pacific, the island is located just 40 miles south-east of Nouméa, has an area of 100 square miles, and measures approximately 8 miles in width and 9 miles in length.

The unparalleled beauty of this island, which consists of shallow waters and small bays with beaches surrounded by dense tropical vegetation, is undoubtedly one of the main tourist attractions of New Caledonia. Among its natural beauties is the iconic"Oro Bay", an inlet home to a natural pool full of colorful fish, along with the gorgeous beaches of "Kanuméra" and "Kuto", not to mention "Baie Upi" and "Baie du St Joseph". Their rock formations are lapped by clear waters and extraordinary sea beds covered with corals. This natural habitat is abundant in fauna of sea birds. The isle also has a church dating back to 1860, witness to European missionaries, remaining one of the main places of worship on the island.

The Isle of Pines was discovered in 1774 by the English captain James Cook during one of his voyages to New Zealand. And it was the famous navigator who, at the sight of the majestic pines, baptized it with the name we know today. In 1853, France took possession of the island and in 1872 built a penal colony there, where until 1912, held over 3,000 political prisoners. The prison was then abandoned and today only ruins are found. The Isle of Pines, which still remains under French administrative control, is undoubtedly a place that, in addition to its natural beauties, also fascinates historians due to its rich history.

The island is largely flat, its highest point is the "N'Ga Peak", a small relief of 262 meters above sea level that allows you to admire a breathtaking view of the entire archipelago. Another wonder, hidden in the middle of a forest of tropical trees and plants, is the "Grotte de la Reine Hortense", a limestone cavity with stalactites and stalagmites. The Isle of Pines can be reached in 25 minutes by flight from Nouméa airport or by boat in about 2 and a half hours.

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