The Best Things to do in Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

DestinationOra Bay Isle of Pines New Caledonia

The Isle of Pines in New Caledonia is the southernmost island in the Melanesian archipelago. It’s named after the rich, emerald-green pine trees that cover the island contrasting against the bright-white sand and endless turquoise waters.

Captain James Cook set his anchor on its coast in 1774 while looking for mast wood. When he laid his eyes on the islands, he was so enamoured with the pine trees and their slender silhouettes – now you know how the island got its name. But there’s more things to do in Isle of Pines than just look at trees. In fact, the island boasts an array of diverse activities to keep all its visitors well-entertained.

The Top 5 Isle of Pines tourist attractions:

Swim in nature’s swimming pool at Oro Bay

Oro Bay's natural pool at Isle of Pines in New Caledonia. Photo Credit: Auriane Demeusy/NCTPS.
Oro Bay’s natural pool at Isle of Pines in New Caledonia. Photo Credit: Auriane Demeusy/NCTPS.

This is the most legendary of the Isle of Pines attractions and it’s easy to see why. Separated from the ocean by a simple barrier of rocks and surrounded by tall pine trees, it’s a secluded little slice of paradise. The water is clear, and the tropical fish abundant. You’re guaranteed a good time and a bunch of killer Instagram pics.

Which five-star infinity pool with champagne service can beat swimming in a natural pool? Photo Credit: Hitomi Mutou.

Climb N’Ga Pea

At 262 metres, this is the highest peak on this low-lying island and offers breath-taking 360° views of the island and its surround lagoon. The hike starts in Kuto and takes less than an hour to summit. People of all fitness levels can participate, just make sure to wear appropriate walking shoes, pack water and sunscreen and don’t forget your camera.

Try the local delicacy Bougna

That’s Bougna. Photo Credit: Lands of Light.

It’s a mouth-watering casserole made from root vegetables, coconut milk and meat. All the ingredients are rolled inside a banana leave and baked for hours underground. At some restaurants, travellers can choose between chicken, fish, or for added indulgence – lobster! That said, you’ll need to order it a day before, so the restaurant has time to prepare.

Bougna - Detailed picture
Bougna: There’s a lot going on in there, but it sure looks scrumptious. Photo Credit: Mimo/NCTPS.

Explore the island on horseback

Horse riding is a fun way to soak in the scenery of Isle of Pines. The rides can be for an hour or for half a day and can take place through the forest, along the cliff-top coastline or on the beach along the water’s edge.

Paddle an outrigger canoe around Upi Bay

A traditional outrigger canoe floating on a lagoon in the Isle of Pines.
For the uninitiated, a traditional outrigger canoe floating on a lagoon in the Isle of Pines. Photo Credit: Sebastien Lebegue/NCTPS

These traditional, handcrafted canoes are the perfect vessel to discover the lagoon and bays that surround the Isle of Pines. On a typical tour, you’ll begin your journey at St. Joseph’s Bay. A local boatman will guide you through the peaceful bays and discuss the island’s culture and history while you take in the stunning sea views.

A typical outrigger canoe in New Caledonia
An outrigger canoe – come on, try your hand. Photo Credit: Ethnotrack.

Need more than this nibble on Isle of Pines, New Caledonia? Read through our destination guide for starters, then. Not a first timer? Well, have you checked out the Heart of Voh – it’s just a huge tract of forestland in the exact shape of a heart! In fact, check out all our blogs on New Caledonia, we’ve quite the growing collection (flex!!). Also, if you feel the need to sound out some epic New Caledonia holiday ideas with a South Pacific Specialist, feel free to call us at 1300 991 751!

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