This is a small emerald in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. ... The New Caledonia is located some 1,500 km east of Australia and 1,700km west of New Zealand, just above the Tropic of Capricorn.
The Grande Terre extends 450 km long by 50 km wide and its geological origins explain the scope of its biodiversity.
Its tempered tropical climate makes a certain mildness of life possible. It is never too hot or too cold. Indeed, in Noumea the mercury hovers between 15 ° and 36 °. This mild climate is faithfully maintained by the trade winds, the chilly winds that blow from east to southeast, 250 days a year on average.
With an area of 19,000 km2 and an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1,450,000 km2, New Caledonia is the second largest territory of French Overseas Territories, after Guyana. Yet it is one of the least populated.
Unlike its neighbouring islands that are volcanic, New Caledonia is a fragment of an ancient continent, which drifted. About 60 million years ago, in the Cretaceous, it was part of the eastern margin of the supercontinent of Gondwana, which, although already highly fragmented, included Australia and Antarctica. New Caledonia was detached and became an island. This isolation protected it from certain developments and destructions, and explains today both the extent of biodiversity and the incredible levels of endemism.
Grande Terre extends 450 km long and is 50 km wide, and is cut in half by a mountain range called "La Chaine" – (the Chain). It is dominated in the north by Mount Panie (1628 m) and in the south by Mount Humboltd (1618 m), and appears as a natural border between two very different regions.
The East Coast is a syncretism of an exotic paradise with lush vegetation, green valleys, magnificent waterfalls, wild rivers, and the Kanak lifestyle relatively preserved.
The West Coast, rich in its miles of white sandy beaches, and also in its Western decor, with the plains of niaoulis where wildlife is abundant, but also a land of livestock farming where the cowboy is still the hero of the film.
New Caledonia is also the lunar landscape of the Deep South, of pass Plum at Yate. It looks like another world, characterized by red earth, the “maquis minier” and the drowned forest of Lake Yaté.
The Iles Loyauté (Loyalty Islands) – Ouvéa in the north, Maré in the south, Lifou between the two, and Tiga - and the Ile des Pins, complete the extraordinary panorama. Unlike the Grande Terre, the Iles Loyauté (Loyalty Islands) have a low-elevation relief (the highest point is only 138 m in Mare), but particularly chaotic, because of its geological history. The cliffs on the coasts, as well as vast networks of caves and chasms on the inside are an invitation to walk.