This gem of southern New Caledonia quite rightly lays claim to the title of ‘the closest island to paradise’. Bordered by crystalline waters, the Isle of Pines (l'Île des Pins) is bathed in the warm Pacific sun and dotted with outrigger canoes that are the pride of its inhabitants, the Kuniés. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. No, you’re not dreaming – you really are on the Isle of Pines, New Caledonia!
The southernmost of the New Caledonian islands is situated almost on the Tropic of Capricorn with a latitude of 22° south. Its geographic location affords the island a very mild climate.
James Cook set down his anchor on its coasts in 1774. It was the English admiral who gave the island its name, due to its abundance of New Caledonia pines and their characteristic slender silhouettes.
Kuto, Oro, Upi, Kanumera: exceptional bays
Accessible by boat or plane (a flight over the southern lagoon is a must!), the island has long been one of New Caledonia’s most popular tourist destinations, without losing anything of its soul or authenticity.
The centre of the island is occupied by a slightly raised plateau, with its highest point sitting at N’ga Peak (262 m), offering breathtaking views of the area. While the peak is one of the island’s unmissable attractions, the Isle of Pines owes its fame to its bays above all else.
Large beaches of incredibly pure white sand, such as Kuto Bay, are scattered across the island, with extraordinarily clear turquoise waters home to remarkable marine flora and fauna just waiting to be discovered. If you’re dreaming of beautifully clear waters and stunning white sands, Kanumera Bay, Oro Bay and Upi Bay are good places to start.
The natural swimming pool of Oro bay: a legendary place
A stone’s throw from Oro Bay is one of the island’s legendary locations: the natural sea water swimming pool. Separated from the bay by a simple barrier of rocks, this ‘swimming pool’ is a gem of natural extravagance much loved by snorkeling fans. Located nearby, and allowing you to reach Oro Bay, we recommend you take a walk along the slender river of sand at low-tide. It is quite simply beautiful.
The perfect excuse to get in touch with nature
Abundant in natural beauty and breathtaking landscapes, a visit to the Isle of Pines, New Caledonia offers no better excuse to head out into the great outdoors and get back in touch with nature. From snorkeling, diving and swimming to sailing, hiking and captivating forest walks, there are no shortage of ways to while away the hours surrounded by nature in this magnificent corner of the archipelago. Whether you prefer to kick back, relax and unwind, or can’t turn down a physical challenge, you’ll find plenty of incredible things to see and do across the island.
Hundreds of years of history just waiting to be explored
Home to a rich and colourful history, the Isle of Pines’ heritage spans several thousand years, from early settlement by the intrepid explorers of Melanesia to the 19th century French penal colony that housed thousands of French political deportees and beyond. Although many buildings that once played an important role in the island’s history now lie in ruins, there are a number of monuments, cemeteries and other must-see sights that are sure to leave any history enthusiast in awe.
An unforgettable addition to any New Caledonian itinerary
Located just a 20 minute flight from Nouméa, the Isle of Pines is an easy addition to any New Caldeonian holiday. Encounter the island’s highlights during an unforgettable day trip from Nouméa or plan a stay at one of the island’s resorts and spend an extended visit relishing in all that makes the island so special, from its scenery and history to its warm and welcoming hospitality.
- Information point in Ile des Pins
- Opening hours:
- Telephone: + 687 46 10 27
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1872, France created a penitentiary colony in the south-west of the island to house insurgents from the Paris municipality deported to Caledonia. The penal colony’s ruins are now largely overgrown by vegetation, but the water tower, dating back to 1875, is still in service. You can also take stock in front of the 230 anonymous graves (except two!) of the deportee cemetery.
Discover the must-sees in the Isle of PinesVoir plus
What to do in Ile des Pins
Relax on board an outrigger canoe in Upi Bay. If you are need of a refreshing break after basking in the sun, visit Oumagne Cave, also known as Queen Hortense’s grotto, in the north of the island, and listen to the story of the great chief Kaoua’s daughter…
Discover more great things to do on the Isle of Pines, New Caledonia.
Isle of Pines mobile app
To know more about Isle of Pines, organise your trip and discover the island, download the free mobile app available on iOS and Android: