The second-largest town in New Caledonia by number of inhabitants has two distinct sides. As a neighbor to Nouméa, it’s an integral part of the metropolis. Yet the city is also the gateway to the South, with no shortage of natural and cultural highlights!
There’s less than 10 km separating the city hall of Mont-Dore from the Place des Cocotiers in Nouméa. Yet both towns, even though they are adjacent, have very different appearances. While it’s still the second largest city in New Caledonia, Mont-Dore is a town whose 600 km² is still mostly wild and uninhabited.
Humpbacked whales: real local stars!
Made up of two large coastal plains separated by Mont Dore, the town’s territory also includes several islands. The main one is the only permanently inhabited island, Ile Ouen, which every year is open to tourism with their discovery weekend organized for the “Whale Convention.”
For several years, humpbacked whales have also become real stars, and thousands of visitors come to admire these remarkable cetaceans on sea excursions or from the observatory of the Cap N’Dua reserve.
During the southern winter, hundreds of them come every year to reproduce in the waters of the region, especially in the Bay of Prony, a small inland sea that has become a true sanctuary for the emblematic animal.
Bay of Prony: a village, an underwater smokestack and an island
Also in the Bay of Prony are nestled several local curiosities that are well worth a detour. The old village of Prony, occupied from 1867 to 1911 is only present in ruins today, engulfed by enormous banyans.
The Needle of Prony is an underwater geological curiosity that is virtually unique in the world, fascinating divers who are lucky to experience one of the most special dives in New Caledonia. Finally, the bay also shelters Ilot Casy, a magnificent nature preserve spanning 80 hectares, with a rate of endemic vegetation close to 80%!
- Mont-Dore Tourism Office
- Opening hours: from Tuesday to Friday: 8:00 - 12:30 et 13:30 - 17:00, and Saturday: 8:00 - 12:30
- Telephone: +687 46 06 25
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
History tells that James Paddon, a legendary pioneer (1812-1861) allegedly spread rumors that the Melanesians had found gold flakes on the mountainside, which then was named Mont D’Or (Gold Mountain)! However, many missionaries who settled there, originally from Auvergne, France, quickly changed the spelling to Mont-Dore in reference to a city in Auvergne with the same name! Thus was born the town of Mont-Dore! As for the alleged gold flakes, they were quickly forgotten as soon as nickel, or “green gold”, was discovered!
Discover the must-sees in Mont-DoreVoir plus
What to do in Mont-Dore?
The town of Mont-Dore is also a land of adventure for hikers or avid trekking fans who explore the region’s emblematic red earth.