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Loyalty Islands Highlights, New Caledonia

South Pacific
South Pacific
South Pacific

Loyalty Islands Highlights, New Caledonia

story by: Inspire South Pacific

There may be no better places that the Loyalty Islands for combining quintessential tropical island activities (or no activity at all!) with encounters with the friendly Kanak locals and their unique culture. The three islands that cater for visitors, Ouvéa, Lifou and Maré, are all distinctly different and each offers special experiences including village stays, fishing trips, the chance to see sculptors and weavers at work. Don’t miss trying bougna, a local dish that can include sweet potato and taro along with lobster, crab or chicken, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked underground. Lifou is the largest island with cliffs sheltering secluded beaches. Maré has mysterious sunken pools in its rugged interior and Ouvéa’s 25-km long beach, superb lagoon and rare parakeets give it special charm.

Highlights

• LUENGONI BEACH, Lifo u – Enjoy this stretch of fine white sand bordering a stunning turquoise lagoon. This breathtaking spot is what the locals boast as being 'New Caledonia's most beautiful beach' and well worth the visit. The sheltered bay is also a renowned turtle haunt.

• CAVES ON MARÉ – Maré's central plain is made up of numerous caves as well as natural swimming pools. One of the more well known is Trou de Bone which is a 40 metre deep limestone cave and is one of Maré's most impressive skinholes. The sheer sides drop to reveal a lush garden and a small waterhole.

• MOULI BEACH, OUVÉA – Be sure to discover this amazing paradise – 25 km of unbroken white sand that runs right down the west side of Ouvéa and Mouli Islands.

• SNORKELLING – Lifou is home to many sheltered bays teeming with colourful tropical fish. One popular and easy to reach spot is Baie de Jinek, with its clear waters it is a favourite among snorkellers.

• TROU BLEU D’ANAWA, OUVÉA – This deep pool is sunk in coral rock and connected to the sea underground. You can see fish and turtles in the water here and you can jump in yourself but beware – the only way out is to pull yourself up on the pools steep sides with the help of a rope.

• LE SAUT DU GERIER, MARÉ – Or 'Warriors Leap' is a gap in the cliffs 5 metres wide and 30 metres above the pounding surf. Legend has it that local warrior Here Hnor, when cornered by an enemy, leapt across the abyss to his escape.

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