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Kanumera, Isle of Pines, New Caledonia. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini
Kanumera, Isle of Pines, New Caledonia. Author Marco Ramerini

Isle of Pines: the closest island to Paradise

The Isle of Pines (1840 inhabitants) is a small island (152 square kilometers) located 150 km south-west of Grande Terre in New Caledonia. The main town on the island is the village of Vao located in the south of the island, the island is mostly flat, the highest point is the Pic Nga (262 meters) located in the south-west of the island.

The Isle of Pines is one of the main tourist attractions of New Caledonia with its beaches and natural beauty which contains in particular the bays of Kanumera and Kuto and the area of the “natural pool”. Tourism is by far the most important economic activity in the Isle of Pines.

The island is so named because of the presence in its vegetation of the columnar pines (Araucaria columnaris), a typical plant of New Caledonia which can reach 60 meters in height, they characterize by their presence the coast and the beaches of the island.

Kuto, Isle of Pines, New Caledonia. Author René Moutouh. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike

Kuto, Isle of Pines, New Caledonia. Author René Moutouh

The first European navigator to visit the Isle of Pines was the English Captain James Cook in 1774, it was he who gave the island its current name due to the presence of columnar pines. In 1853 the island became a French possession, in the nineteenth century it was used by France as a place of imprisonment, there are still the remains of the criminal baths and the cemetery of deportees of the Paris Commune.

Public transportation is not available on the island, but the rental cars are available. With a rental car you can reach all the most interesting points to visit in the island, numerous beaches, the Natural Pool, the numerous caves, the ruins of the penal colony. The highest point of the island, the Pic Nga can be reached by a footpath.

HOW TO GET TO THE ISLAND OF PINES

The Isle of Pines is connected with the city of Noumea by frequent daily flights (at least two flights per day) that depart from the city airport of Noumea-Magenta, time for the flight varies between 20 and 25 minutes. The Isle of Pines is also connected to Noumea from a maritime connection made ​​by a fast catamaran that takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to reach the island, the service is provided 3 times a week.

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