Things To Do In Isle Of Pines: For Cruise Passengers & More

Come discover Isle of Pines! This South Pacific gem is an absolute paradise whether you enjoy life underwater or prefer to stay dry.

So, with the help of this guide come discover the incredible things to do in Isle of Pines whether you are a cruise ship passenger or are lucky enough to be staying a few nights.


Welcome to the Isle of Pines, part of the Loyalty Islands group in New Caledonia. This beautiful spot entices an assortment of travelers wishing to check out some amazing activities and attractions.

Whether you are simply visiting Isle of Pines on a cruise ship, or perhaps are staying longer you will find plenty of things to do in Isle of Pines.

You may be surprised to learn that many people who visit Isle of Pines actually do so on a cruise ship from Australia or New Zealand. The various island in New Caledonia including Mare, Lifou, Noumea and Isle of Pines all are popular cruise ports, and for good reason.

Here visitors can discover the incredible life with lives under the sea, experience a culture unique to this slice of paradise, and explore some incredible islands.

Personally, I visited Isle of Pines as part of my Carnival South Pacific Cruise which departed from Sydney, Australia. Though to make the most of a singular day to explore we always made sure we were on the first tender boat.

In Isle of Pines as even hired a car which allowed us to explore the highlights further from where the tender boats arrive, which is where you will find the best things to do in Isle of Pines.

Whether you happen to be a travel who enjoys exploring life underground in sacred caves, partaking in a spot of snorkeling discovering an incredible life underwater, or simply someone who wants to discover the local culture.

Luckily enough you will quickly find out there are plenty of things to do in Isle of Pines for cruise ship passengers and holiday makers alike. And prepare yourself as there is no way you could fit this list into one day.

Now, let’s discover the best things to do in Isle of Pines.


calm and clear waters at kanumera bay on isle of pines
calm and clear waters at kanumera bay on isle of pines

Snorkel The Oro Natural Pool

One of the most popular things to do in Isle Of Pines is the Oro natural pool, a crystal-clear lagoon surrounded by coral reefs and pine trees. The pool is a perfect spot for snorkeling, as it offers a glimpse of the diverse and colorful marine life that inhabits the lagoon.

To reach the Oro natural pool, you can either take a boat tour from the main island, access it by road, or through Le Meridien hotel if you are staying on the Isle of Pines. The pool is located in Oro Bay, on the northeastern coast of the island.

Once you arrive at the pool, you will be amazed by the turquoise water and the white sand that contrast with the green pine trees. The pool is about 50 meters wide and 3 to 4 meters deep, and it is protected from the ocean by a rock barrier.

As you snorkel in the pool, you will encounter hundreds of tropical fish of different shapes and sizes, such as butterflyfish, angelfish, parrotfish, damselfish, clownfish, and more.

You will also see giant clams that can reach up to one meter in length, and that display various colors and patterns on their shells. If you are lucky, you might even spot a sea turtle or a stingray swimming gracefully in the water.

hanging out on the perfectly clear waters of the natural pool
hanging out on the perfectly clear waters of the natural pool
the crystal clear waters at the natural aquarium , one of the best things to do in isle of pines
the crystal clear waters at the natural aquarium , one of the best things to do in isle of pines

Climb N’Ga Peak

One of the most rewarding activities on Isle Of Pines is to climb the N’Ga Peak. This is actually the highest point of the island at 262 meters above sea level and starts near Kuto Beach, one of the most popular and beautiful beaches on the island.

The hike itself is about 2.3 kilometers each way and takes an average of one hour to reach the summit. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow, but it can be steep and slippery at some parts, so it is advisable to wear good shoes and bring water.

The first part of the trail goes through a rainforest, where you can see various plants, flowers, and birds. The forest provides some shade and coolness, but it also attracts mosquitoes, so it is recommended to use insect repellent.

The second part of the trail leaves the forest and follows a ridge that offers stunning views of the island and the ocean. The ridge is exposed to the sun, so it can be hot and dry, especially in summer. The trail becomes more rocky and uneven, but also more scenic and rewarding.

The final part of the trail leads to the cross that marks the summit of N’Ga Peak. The cross was erected by Catholic missionaries in 1864, and it is a symbol of faith and hope for the local people. From the summit, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the whole island and its surroundings.

looking out over kuto bay to n'ga peak in the background
looking out over kuto bay to n’ga peak in the background

Sail On An Outrigger Canoe

Sailing on an outrigger canoe in the Isle of Pines is a wonderful way to experience the beauty and tranquility of this island paradise.

You can board a traditional Melanesian wooden boat at St. Joseph Bay and glide along the calm waters of Upi Bay, surrounded by majestic rock formations and lush vegetation.

You might even spot some dolphins or turtles swimming alongside your canoe, or see colorful fish and coral reefs beneath the clear turquoise water.

You can learn about the island’s culture and history from your local boatman, who will share stories and legends with you. You can also enjoy the stunning views of the lagoon and the bays, and feel the gentle breeze on your face.

There are several options for sailing trips in the Isle of Pines, depending on your preferences and budget. Some of the providers are Mana Nautique, Kou-Bugny Hotel, and Ouré Hotel.


Admire Queen Hortense’s Cave

Queen Hortense’s Cave is a fascinating place to visit in the Isle of Pines, a beautiful island in New Caledonia. The cave is named after Queen Hortense, who was the daughter of the Grand Chief Kaoua Vendégou and the wife of the Grand Chief Samuel Vendégou.

According to legend, Queen Hortense hid in the cave for a year when she was 16 years old, during a time of intertribal conflict. She was afraid that some tribes would not accept her as a female leader after her father’s death.

Only two friends knew where she was and brought her food and news at night. Inside the cave, there is a smooth rock ledge where she slept.

The cave is located in the north of the island. It is surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and crossed by a stream. The cave has many stalactites and stalagmites that create a mysterious atmosphere.

To enter the cave, you need to pay a small donation to the woman who runs the kiosk at the entrance. You also need to wear appropriate shoes and bring a torch to see better inside.

checking out the incredible stalactites at queen hortnese cave, one of my favorite things to do in isle of pines
checking out the incredible stalactites at queen hortnese cave, one of my favorite things to do in isle of pines
admiring the darkness and rock formations before venturing into queen hortense cave in isle of pines
admiring the darkness and rock formations before venturing into queen hortense cave in isle of pines

Try The Local Dish Bougna

One of the best ways to experience a new culture is to try its local cuisine. If you are visiting the Isle of Pines, you should not miss the opportunity to taste the traditional dish of the Kanak people: bougna.

Bougna is a stew made of root vegetables, bananas, meat, and coconut milk, cooked in a banana leaf basket over hot stones. It is a dish that symbolizes sharing and celebration, and it is often served during festivals and ceremonies.

To try bougna in the Isle of Pines, you have several options you can book a meal with a local tribe, where you can also learn about their customs and traditions, or you can also find bougna in some restaurants or snack bars, where you can enjoy it with a view of the turquoise lagoon.


Explore By Horseback

One of the best ways to explore the Isle of Pines, New Caledonia, is by horseback. You can enjoy the scenic views of the island, from its lush forests to its stunning beaches, while riding a gentle and friendly horse.

Horse riding is a fun and relaxing activity that can suit any level of experience, from beginners to experts. You can choose from different options, such as an hour-long ride or a half-day adventure, and you can also customize your itinerary according to your preferences

You are best to contact your accommodation who should have a local contact that can organize this.


Enjoy The White Sands At Kuto Bay

Kuto Bay is a beautiful and popular destination and one of the best things to do in Isle Of Pines. It is famous for its fine white sand, turquoise water, and stunning scenery.

No doubt Kuto Bay is a paradise for beach lovers. The bay has a long and wide beach that stretches for about a kilometer, offering plenty of space for relaxing, sunbathing, swimming, and playing.

The sand is soft and velvety, and the water is clear and calm. The beach is also lined with coconut palms and pine trees, providing shade and a tropical atmosphere.

Kuto Bay is also a great place for snorkeling and diving. The bay has a rich marine life that you can explore with a snorkel or a dive. You can see colorful fish, coral, sea turtles, and even dolphins if you are lucky.

There are several dive sites nearby, such as the N’Daa Reef and the Gadji Bay. You can also rent equipment or join a guided tour from the local operators.

hanging out at kuto bay in isle of pines with the cruise ship anchored
hanging out at kuto bay in isle of pines with the cruise ship anchored

Visit The Convict Prison

The Convict Prison, also known as the Penal Colony, was a penitentiary establishment that operated from 1864 to 1924. It housed thousands of French prisoners who were deported to New Caledonia for various crimes and political reasons.

The most famous group of prisoners were the Communards, who participated in the Paris Commune of 1871, a socialist uprising that briefly ruled Paris before being crushed by the French government.

Among them were prominent figures such as Louise Michel, a feminist and anarchist activist, and Henri Rochefort, a journalist and politician.

The Convict Prison consisted of several buildings and sites scattered around the island, such as the penitentiary depot of Île Nou, the prison warden’s house, the water tower, the hospital, the cemetery, and the chapel.

You can visit these places and learn more about the lives and stories of the prisoners, their guards, and their families. You can also see the ruins of the cells, workshops, kitchens, and gardens where they worked and lived.

The Convict Prison is not only a historical attraction but also a cultural one. It has influenced the identity and heritage of New Caledonia, as many of the prisoners stayed on the island after their release or amnesty and became settlers.

They started families with the local Kanak people, the indigenous inhabitants of New Caledonia, and contributed to the development of agriculture, industry, education, and art. Some of their descendants still live on the island today and preserve their traditions and memories.

If you are interested in visiting the Convict Prison in Isle of Pines, you can book a tour with a local guide or explore it on your own.


Snorkel Kanumera Bay To The Sacred Rock

Snorkeling Kanumera Bay to the Sacred Rock in the Isle of Pines is a wonderful experience for anyone who loves marine life and coral reefs. Kanumera Bay is located on the south coast of the Isle of Pines, a small island in New Caledonia, a French territory in the South Pacific.

Kanumera Bay is an easy walk where the cruise ship tenders arrive here, making it a great option for cruise-goers wondering what to do in Isle of Pines. The bay is famous for its large limestone rock that sits in the middle of the turquoise water, surrounded by a fringing coral reef.

The rock is considered sacred by the local Melanesian people, who ask visitors not to climb on it or swim around its western side. The best snorkeling spot is on the eastern side of the rock, where you can enter the water from the white sandy beach.

The water is calm and clear, and the reef is shallow and colorful. You can see a variety of corals, such as branching, finger, and table corals, as well as sea anemones that host clownfish.

The fish life is abundant and diverse, with species such as angelfish, butterflyfish, damselfish, wrasses, parrotfish, rabbitfish, surgeonfish, and groupers.

You might also spot a sea turtle or a stingray in the seagrass meadows that extend between the shore and the reef!

Snorkeling in Kanumera Bay is suitable for beginners and families, as the water is warm and easy to access.

There are no restaurants or shops near the bay, but there are some accommodation options within walking distance.

palm tree shadows in the ocean looking out to the sacred rock
palm tree shadows in the ocean looking out to the sacred rock

Learn About The Culture And History At The Isle Of Pines Museum

The Isle of Pines Museum is a small but interesting museum that showcases the history and culture of the island and its people. It is located in the village of Vao, near the Catholic church and the statue of St. Maurice.

Here you can learn about the island’s past, from its discovery by James Cook in 1774 to its role as a penal colony for political prisoners in the 19th and 20th centuries. You can see artifacts, photos, documents, and maps that tell the stories of the island and its inhabitants.

Admire the traditional art and crafts of the Kunié people, the indigenous inhabitants of the island. You can see examples of their wood carving, weaving, pottery, and jewelry. You can also learn about their customs, beliefs, and rituals.

Enjoy the beautiful garden that surrounds the museum, where you can see various plants and flowers native to the island. You can also spot some birds and butterflies that live in the area.

The Isle of Pines Museum is open from Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The entrance fee is 500 XPF / $4.50 per person.


Take A Scenic Flight

One of the best things to do in Isle of Pines is to take a scenic flight over its stunning landscapes. Here you can admire the turquoise waters, the white sandy beaches, the lush forests, and the coral reefs from a bird’s eye view.

You can also see the natural swimming pool of Oro Bay, one of the most spectacular snorkeling spots in the world. A scenic flight is a great way to discover the beauty and diversity of this paradise island in the heart of the Pacific.

There are different options for taking a scenic flight in Isle of Pines. You can book a domestic flight from Noumea with Aircalin, the national airline of New Caledonia.

You can also charter a helicopter with Helicocean or Helisud, two local aviation companies that offer customized tours and packages. You can even land on a deserted island and enjoy a champagne picnic.

The Isle of Pines: the closest island to paradise


Swim In Gadji Bay At The Far Point Of The Island

Gadji Bay is a magical place located in the north of the island, with a dozen of limestone islands rising from the turquoise waters. The bay has a rich underwater life, with coral reefs, caves, and colorful fish.

You can access the bay by car or by boat, but be careful not to damage the car on the sandy road or get stuck in the mud.

Once you reach Gadji Bay, you will see a roundabout where you can park your car without blocking the traffic. From there, you will need to walk for about 15 minutes to reach the far point of the bay, where you will find a secluded beach called Crabs Bay.

Crabs Bay is a perfect spot for swimming and snorkeling, as it has clear water and a sandy bottom. You can also see some shipwrecks and pine trees on the nearby islands.

checking out a beach on the other side of the island called gadji bay, but unfortunately it was low tide
checking out a beach on the other side of the island called gadji bay, but unfortunately it was low tide

Enjoy A Picnic On An Quiet Beach

One of the best things to do in the Isle of Pines is to have a picnic on a quiet beach. The island has many beautiful beaches with soft white sand and clear turquoise water, where you can relax and enjoy the scenery.

Some of the most popular beaches are Kuto Bay, Kanumera Bay, Oro Bay, and Upi Bay. You can bring your own food and drinks, or buy some local specialties from the nearby villages or markets.

You can also rent a kayak, a paddle board or a snorkeling gear to explore the lagoon and its marine life. A picnic on a quiet beach is a perfect way to experience the natural beauty and tranquility of the Isle of Pines. If you are a cruise passenger remember you cannot take food off the ship with you. Instead, you will need to purchase it once on land in Isle of Pines.

walking along some quiet roads in isle of pines // enjoying a sunny day on the beach
walking along some quiet roads in isle of pines // enjoying a sunny day on the beach

Watch Sunset From A Viewpoint

One of the most beautiful and romantic things to do in Isle of Pines is to watch the sunset from a viewpoint. There are many places where you can enjoy the stunning views of the sky changing colors over the lagoon and the pine trees.

Here are some of the best spots to watch the sunset in Isle of Pines:

Pic N’Ga: This is the highest point on the island, and it offers a panoramic view of the whole island and the surrounding sea. You can hike up to the summit in about an hour from Kuto Bay, or drive up to a parking lot near the top.

From there, you can walk to a wooden platform that overlooks the west coast of the island. You will be able to see the sun setting behind the horizon, creating a spectacular display of light and shadows.

Kanumera Bay: This is one of the most popular and picturesque bays on the island, with a white sandy beach and a turquoise lagoon. You can relax on the beach or swim in the calm water, and enjoy the view of the sacred rock that stands in the middle of the bay.

The rock is considered sacred by the local people, and it is forbidden to walk on it or fish around it. As the sun sets, you will see it reflecting on the water and the rock, creating a magical atmosphere.

Oro Bay: This is another beautiful bay on the island, where you can find the famous natural swimming pool. This is a natural pool of seawater that is separated from the ocean by a coral reef.

The water is clear and shallow, and you can snorkel among colorful fish and coral. The natural swimming pool is also a great place to watch the sunset, as you will see it shining through the pine trees that surround the pool.

Cruise Ship: If you are on a cruise ship, you can also watch the sunset from the deck of your ship. This can be a very romantic and relaxing way to end your day, as you will see the sun dipping into the ocean and the sky turning into a canvas of colors.

You can also enjoy the breeze and the sound of the waves, and maybe spot some dolphins or whales in the distance. You can also take advantage of the amenities on your ship, such as a bar, a restaurant, or a spa, and make your evening even more special.

an incredible sunset from our cruise ship while at port at isle of pines
an incredible sunset from our cruise ship while at port at isle of pines

Shop For Souvenirs

If you are looking for some souvenirs to take home from your visit to the Isle of Pines, New Caledonia, you have a few options to choose from.

Here are some of the most popular and unique items that you can find on the island:

Sandalwood oil: This fragrant oil is made from the roots and inner trunk of sandalwood trees, which grow abundantly on the island. Sandalwood oil has a soothing and relaxing effect and can be used for aromatherapy, massage, or perfume.

You can buy sandalwood oil from local vendors or at some hotels and boutiques.

Pareos: These are colorful sarongs that can be worn as skirts, dresses, or wraps. Pareos are a traditional clothing item in New Caledonia, and they come in various patterns and designs. You can find pareos at handicraft stalls, markets, or shops around the island.

Wood carvings: Some of the local people, called Kunies, carve sandalwood and other woods to create small huts, miniature outriggers, totems, and other decorative items. These wood carvings reflect the Kunie art and culture, and they make great souvenirs for yourself or your loved ones.

Hand-painted beach-wear: Another option for souvenir shopping is to check out the creations of Gina, a talented Kunie woman who paints beach-wear in a studio near Kuto Bay. You can find pareos, t-shirts, postcards, and books about the island in her boutique, Creations Ile des Pins.

Leather work: If you are looking for something more durable and practical, you might want to look for leather products made by Gabriel Lazo-Salazar, a leather worker from Ecuador who settled on the island in the late ’80s.

He makes leather bracelets, belts, bags, and other accessories that you can find in some hotels or boutiques. He can also personalize your leather bracelet by stamping your name on it for a small fee.


Kayak The Calm Waters Of St Joseph Bay

If you are looking for a relaxing and scenic adventure, you might want to consider kayaking the calm waters of St Joseph Bay in the Isle of Pines. This is a beautiful destination in New Caledonia, where you can enjoy the clear and turquoise lagoon, the white sand beaches, and the lush vegetation.

You can also encounter amazing marine life, such as turtles, manta rays, dolphins, and sea urchins.

One of the best ways to explore the bay is by taking a kayak tour with a local guide, who can show you the hidden gems and tell you more about the history and culture of the island. You can also rent your own kayak or paddle board and discover the bay at your own pace.

Kayaking in St Joseph Bay is suitable for all ages and skill levels, as long as you know how to swim and are comfortable in the water. The water is shallow and calm, and the kayaks are stable and easy to maneuver.

You will need to wear appropriate clothing, such as a swimsuit, a T-shirt, and water shoes, and bring sun protection, such as a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.


Visit The Notre Dame de I’Assomption Church

The Notre Dame de l’Assomption Church is a historic and beautiful church located in the village of Vao. The church was built in 1860 by prisoners and the Kunie people, the native inhabitants of the island.

It is made of coral stones and has a distinctive red roof. The interior of the church is decorated with wood panels, stained glass windows, and paintings. The church is still in use today and holds mass every Sunday at 9 a.m.

The church is a symbol of the island’s history and culture, as well as its faith and resilience. The Isle of Pines was used as a penal colony by France from 1872 to 1913, and many prisoners helped to construct the church and other buildings on the island.

The church also witnessed the Kanak revolt of 1878, when the Kunie people rose up against the French colonial authorities and fought for their independence. The revolt was brutally suppressed, and many Kunie people were killed or exiled.

The Notre Dame de l’Assomption Church is a must-see attraction for anyone who visits the Isle of Pines. It offers a glimpse into the island’s past and present, as well as its beauty and spirituality

The church is open to visitors every day from 8 am to 5 pm.


Play Golf At Le Meridien Resort

If you are looking for a unique and memorable golfing experience, you might want to consider playing golf at Le Méridien Ile des Pins, a luxury resort on the Isle of Pines in New Caledonia.

The resort offers a 9-hole golf course that is set in a stunning natural environment, surrounded by pine trees, coconut groves, and turquoise waters. The course is suitable for all levels of players, from beginners to experts, and provides a challenging and enjoyable game.

They also provides golf equipment rental, including clubs, balls, tees, and carts, so you don’t have to worry about bringing your own gear. You can also book a golf lesson with a professional instructor if you want to improve your skills or learn the basics.

After your game, you can relax and unwind at the resort’s infinity pool, spa, restaurant, or bar, and enjoy the breathtaking views of Oro Bay.


Hike The Island Trails

The Isle of Pines is a beautiful island in the Pacific Ocean, with stunning beaches, lagoons and pine trees. If you are looking for some hiking trails to explore this natural paradise, here are some options for you:

N’ga Peak Trail: This trail takes you to the highest point of the island, at 262 meters above sea level. You can enjoy a panoramic view of the island and the surrounding lagoon from the top.

The trail starts from Kuto Bay and takes about an hour to complete. It is suitable for most fitness levels, but you should wear sturdy shoes and bring water and sunscreen.

Oro Bay Natural Pool Trail: This trail leads you to one of the most famous attractions of the island, the natural swimming pool of Oro Bay. This is a natural lagoon separated from the ocean by a coral reef, where you can swim and snorkel in crystal-clear water.

The trail starts from Oro Bay and takes about 15 minutes to reach the pool. You can also walk along the sand river that connects the bay and the pool at low tide.

Queen Hortense’s Cave Trail: This trail takes you to a historical and cultural site, the cave where Queen Hortense, a local leader, hid for several months during an intertribal conflict. The cave is located in a lush rainforest, with a wide entrance and a beautiful garden.

You can learn about the legend of the queen and the history of the island from the site’s caretaker. The trail starts from Vao village and takes about 20 minutes to reach the cave.

exploring some of the trails in isle of pines
exploring some of the trails in isle of pines

Watch A Traditional Dance Show

One of the things you can do on the Isle of Pines, New Caledonia, is to watch a traditional dance show performed by the local people. The dance show is a way of expressing the culture and history of the island, as well as celebrating its natural beauty.

The dancers wear colorful costumes and accessories made from shells, feathers, flowers, and leaves. They move gracefully and rhythmically to the sound of drums, flutes, and chants.

The dance show is usually held at the tribal village of Vao, where you can also visit the church and the statue of Saint Maurice. You can also watch the dance show at some hotels or resorts on the island, such as Le Méridien or Oure Lodge.


Go Fishing With A Local Guide

Fishing is one of the main activities on the island, and you can enjoy it with a local guide who will show you the best spots and techniques. One of the advantages of fishing with a local guide is that you can learn about the culture and history of the island and its people, the Kuniés.

Another benefit of fishing with a local guide is that you can access some of the most scenic and secluded fishing spots on the island. The Isle of Pines has several bays that offer excellent fishing opportunities, such as Kuto Bay, Kanumera Bay, Oro Bay, and Upi Bay.

Fishing with a local guide is not only fun and relaxing but also rewarding. You can enjoy the thrill of catching your own fish and then savoring it for lunch or dinner. Some guides will even cook your catch for you on the beach or at their home.

If you are interested in fishing with a local guide in Isle of Pines, you can book your trip online or through your hotel. There are several reputable fishing operators on the island that offer different packages and prices.


Buy Some Fresh Fruits From A Roadside Stall

If you are visiting the Isle of Pines, you should not miss the opportunity to buy some fresh fruits from a roadside stall. You will find a variety of fruits that are grown locally, such as bananas, papayas, mangoes, pineapples, passion fruits, coconuts, and more.

These fruits are not only juicy and sweet, but also rich in vitamins and minerals that are good for your health.

Look for a roadside stall that has a sign that says “Fruits Frais” or “Fresh Fruits”. These stalls are usually run by friendly locals who will welcome you with a smile and offer you a taste of their fruits.

exploring the beaches is the best things to do in isle of pines
exploring the beaches is the best things to do in isle of pines

Relax With A Massage

Getting a massage is a wonderful way to relax and one of the best things to do in Isle of Pines. You can choose from different types of massages, such as Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone, or aromatherapy, depending on your preference and needs.

You can also opt for a couples massage, where you and your partner can share the experience in a private bungalow overlooking the lagoon.

One of the best places to get a massage in Isle of Pines is the Deep Nature Spa, located in Le Méridien Ile des Pins hotel. This spa offers a sanctuary for well-being, where you can indulge in signature treatments using natural products and techniques.

You can also enjoy the outdoor jacuzzi, the infinity pool, and the white sandy beach nearby. The spa has three treatment cabins, including one double, and a charming bungalow where you can unwind in a serene setting.


Practice The Language With Friendly Locals

One of the best ways to learn about the culture of the Isle of Pines is to practice the language with friendly locals. The native inhabitants of the island are the Kunies, who speak their own unwritten language among themselves. However, they also speak French, which is the official language of New Caledonia.

Learn some basic words and phrases in French and Kunie before you go. For example, you can say “Bonjour” (Hello) or “Kaixo” (Hello) in French and Kunie respectively. You can also say “Merci” (Thank you) or “Kwéé” (Thank you) in both languages.

Be respectful and polite when approaching locals. Smile, greet them, and ask if they have time to talk to you. You can also compliment them on their island, their culture, or their crafts.

For example, you can say “Votre île est magnifique” (Your island is beautiful) or “J’aime votre culture” (I like your culture) in French. You can also say “Nge kwa yu yu” (You are very kind) or “Nge kwa yu yu kunie” (You are very kind Kunie) in Kunie.


Try The Famous Snails

If you are looking for a unique culinary experience in the Isle of Pines, you might want to try the famous snails that are endemic to the island.

These snails, known as bulimes or escargots de l’Île des Pins, live in the forest and are farmed by the locals. They are considered a delicacy and are served in most of the restaurants on the island.

The snails have a distinctive flavor and texture that some people compare to oysters or mussels. They are usually cooked with garlic, butter, and herbs, and served with bread or rice.

Some restaurants also offer other ways of preparing them, such as in a coconut curry sauce or a gratin. The snails are rich in protein and minerals, and are said to have aphrodisiac properties.

If you are feeling adventurous and want to try the snails for yourself, you can find them in places like Le Meridien Isle of Pines, Gite Nataiwatch, or Restaurant Kou-Gny.


Boat Tour To Snorkel The Main Inlets

One of the most exciting and best things to do in the Isle of Pines is to take a boat tour to snorkel the main inlets. The Isle of Pines is a stunning island in New Caledonia, known for its white sand beaches, turquoise lagoons, and soaring pine trees.

It is a paradise for snorkelers, as it offers a rich and diverse marine life, including colorful corals, tropical fish, turtles, manta rays, and dolphins.

You can take a boat tour to discover the lagoon surrounding the Isle of Pines and visit the islets of Îlot Brosse and Moro. Jump on a boat from Kuto Bay and stop on the way to snorkel with turtles, manta rays, and dolphins.

You can admire the blue corals that cover the sea bed and the variety of fish that inhabit them. You can also relax on the spectacular beaches of the islets and enjoy the sun and the breeze.

the sacred rock and the remains of an old structure kanumera bay on isle of pines
the sacred rock and the remains of an old structure kanumera bay on isle of pines

How To Get To Isle Of Pines?

The Isle of Pines is a beautiful island in the Pacific Ocean, part of the archipelago of New Caledonia, an overseas collectivity of France. It is nicknamed l’île la plus proche du paradis (“the closest island to Paradise”) and has stunning beaches, bays, and natural pools.

If you want to visit this island, here are some ways to get there:

Plane: You can take a domestic flight from Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia, to the Moué airport on the Isle of Pines. The flight time is about 20 minutes and there are several flights per day operated by Air Caledonie.

Boat: You can also take a ferry from Noumea to Kuto Bay on the Isle of Pines. The ferry service is provided by Betico 2, a high-speed catamaran that can carry up to 350 passengers and 20 vehicles. The travel time is about 2 hours and 15 minutes and there are usually two departures per week, depending on the season.

Cruise: Another option is to join a cruise that stops at the Isle of Pines as part of its itinerary. There are several cruise lines that offer this option, such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, P&O, and Celebrity. You can choose from different durations and departure ports, such as Brisbane, Sydney, Auckland, or Noumea.

looking out over the stormy skies of kuto bay to our carnival spirit cruise ship
looking out over the stormy skies of kuto bay to our carnival spirit cruise ship

Where To Stay In Isle Of Pines?

Whether you are looking for a luxurious resort, a cozy bungalow, or a budget-friendly hotel, you can find the perfect place to stay on this island. Here are some of the best areas to stay in on the Isle of Pines:

Vao: This is the main village on the island, where you can find shops, restaurants, markets, and cultural events. You can also visit the Notre Dame de l’Assomption church, which was built by convicts in 1860. You can also explore the forest trails and discover the endemic flora and fauna of the island.

Baie d’Oro: This is the most popular area on the island, as it is home to a stunning natural swimming pool and a lagoon surrounded by coral reefs and tropical fish. You can also enjoy the white sand beach, the coconut grove, and nearby attractions such as Upi Bay and St. Joseph’s Bay. The best accommodation option in this area is the Le Méridien Ile des Pins, a luxurious resort that offers bungalow suites, bedrooms, a restaurant, a bar, a spa, and a botanic garden.

Kuto Bay: This is another beautiful area on the island, with a long and wide beach of fine sand and clear water. You can swim, snorkel, kayak, or relax under the bugny trees that shade the beach. You can also visit the nearby Kanumera Bay, which has a sacred rock that is revered by the locals.

Le Méridien Ile des Pins

Le Méridien Ile des Pins

A luxe stay for those wanting to be in paradise. Rooms start from $400.00 per night including breakfast.

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Oure Tera Beach Resort

Oure Tera Beach Resort

A slightly more affordable option in an equally amazing location. Rooms start from $270.00 per night including breakfast.

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Ultimate List Of The Best Things To Do In Isle Of Pines

  1. Snorkel The Oro Natural Pool
  2. Climb N’Ga Peak
  3. Sail On An Outrigger Canoe
  4. Admire Queen Hortense’s Cave
  5. Try The Local Dish Bougna
  6. Explore By Horseback
  7. Enjoy The White Sands At Kuto Bay
  8. Visit The Convict Prison
  9. Snorkel Kanumera Bay To The Sacred Rock
  10. Learn About The Culture And History At The Isle Of Pines Museum
  11. Take A Scenic Flight
  12. Swim In Gadji Bay At The Far Point Of The Island
  13. Enjoy A Picnic On An Quiet Beach
  14. Watch Sunset From A Viewpoint
  15. Shop For Souvenirs
  16. Kayak The Calm Waters Of St Joseph Bay
  17. Visit The Notre Dame de I’Assomption Church
  18. Play Golf At Le Meridien Resort
  19. Hike The Island Trails
  20. Watch A Traditional Dance Show
  21. Go Fishing With A Local Guide
  22. Buy Some Fresh Fruits From A Roadside Stall
  23. Relax With A Massage
  24. Practice The Language With Friendly Locals
  25. Try The Famous Snails
  26. Boat Tour To Snorkel The Main Inlets

Any Questions? Let me know in the comments!


LIKE IT? PIN IT!

Welcome to Lifou! This beautiful island is an absolute paradise and well worth visiting if you are in New Caledonia. There are also a lot of incredible things to do in Lifou, whether you are a cruise ship passenger just staying 1 day, or you are lucky enough to spend a bit more time here.

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. So, if you click on it and purchase something, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. As always all opinions are my own and your support is much appreciated.

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