5 of the Best New Caledonia Snorkelling Spots

Wanting to explore another incredible side of New Caledonia? Slip on some flippers, strap on a snorkel and discover some of the best places to snorkel in New Caledonia. From quaint islands situated off Nouméa to beautiful locales scattered across the Loyalty Islands and the Isle of Pines, there are so many incredible ways to admire the archipelago’s marine diversity. Discover five of the best below:

Îlot Amédée (Amédée Island)

Amedee Lighthouse aerial view

Where is Îlot Amédée?

You’ll find Îlot Amédée to the south of Nouméa.

What can I expect to see?

Perhaps best known for its historic lighthouse, the calm waters surrounding Îlot Amédée are also well worth exploring. The area is known as one of the best places to snorkel in New Caledonia and, in fact, the South Pacific, to see green sea turtles in the wild. While you’re not guaranteed to see these graceful creatures during your visit, you’ll be more likely to find them around the seagrass meadows located offshore. The area's corals are also quite beautiful, with an assortment of fish, including angelfish and anemone fish, calling the island's coastline home.

Good to know

The boat ride to the island takes around 40 minutes, with plenty to see and do upon your arrival. As well as great snorkelling opportunities, you’ll also find a variety of cultural experiences and the world’s tallest metallic lighthouse in the world, Amédée Lighthouse.

Jinek Bay

Snorkelling clownfish and coral

Where is Jinek Bay?

Jinek Bay is situated on Lifou, bordering the northwest coast.

What can I expect to see?

Considered by some to offer the best snorkelling in the South Pacific, it comes as no surprise that Jinek Bay boasts an incredible array of marine life to encounter. As well as clown surgeonfish, parrot fish and butterfly fish, you may also see Maori wrasse, convict surgeonfish and more. Keep an eye on the bay’s sea anemones too, as you may be able to spot clownfish frolicking between their tentacles.

Good to know

In an attempt to help preserve the marine reserve, only 200 lucky visitors are permitted to swim or snorkel in Jinek Bay each day (100 in the morning and 100 in the afternoon). If you are unable to visit on any particular morning, try again in the afternoon or plan a trip to one of the other great places to snorkel in New Caledonia.

If the marine reserve is busy during your visit, try to swim away from the stairs to discover more of the beauty found beneath the waves.

Unless you’re planning to visit Jinek Bay as part of a tour, hiring a car and driving to the snorkelling site is recommended.

Îlot Canard (Duck Island)

Snorkelling coral

Where is Îlot Canard?

Îlot Canard is found just off the coast of Nouméa.

What can I expect to see?

Guided by an underwater trail, when snorkelling in the waters surrounding Îlot Canard, not only will you see an incredible array of marine life, but you’ll also be able to learn more about the area thanks to a collection of submerged educational signs. Alongside corals and sea anemones, you’ll spot species such as sweetlips and groupers, as well as rabbitfish and thicklips. Although it’s not guaranteed, you may even be able to see white tip sharks and green sea turtles in the distance.

Good to know

To reach Îlot Canard, one of the Nouméa Isles, you’ll need to take a taxi boat from Anse Vata. The trip only takes around five minutes all up, but you’ll certainly feel worlds away! On arrival, snorkel equipment is available to hire.

Underwater visibility in the waters surrounding Îlot Canard can be less than ideal on windy or rainy days, so try to plan your visit on clearer days.

La Piscines Naturelle (Natural Pool)

Natural Pool Isle of Pines aerial shot

Where is La Piscines Naturelle?

La Piscines Naturelle (the Natural Pool) is located on the Isle of Pines at Oro Bay.

What can I expect to see?

Although La Piscines Naturelle is relatively small in size, it’s a great place to slip on your snorkel and explore the underwater ecosystem. In just a few metres of water, you may be able to view a variety of angelfish, butterflyfish and clownfish, as well as giant clams, sea anemones, brightly coloured corals and more. Keep your eyes open for the less common fish species, including lionfish and pufferfish, that also call the pool home.

Good to know

La Piscines Naturelle is accessible by car, with some shuttle services running to the area. Tours to La Piscines Naturelle via Upi Bay are also available if you prefer to explore under the guidance of local guides. Some allow you to travel by traditional outrigger to the site.

Kanumera Bay, Isle of Pines

Kanumera Bay Isle of Pines

Where is Kanumera Bay?

Kanumera Bay is situated on the Isle of Pines, close to popular Kuto Bay.

What can I expect to see?

After entering the sheltered turquoise waters of the bay, you’ll discover an abundance of coral teeming with colourful fish. Although the reef may not be as large as those found in great places to go snorkelling in New Caledonia, you’ll be able to see a variety of marine species in the area, from damselfish and groupers to angelfish and butterfly fish.

Good to know

Before you visit, be aware that the large rock formation that divides Kanumera Bay from Kuto Bay is considered to be sacred and should not be approached in respect for the local culture.

If you’re staying on the southern end of Isle of Pines, it’s easy to drive, or even walk, to Kanumera Bay from your accommodation.