Nicknamed as ‘The Closest Island to Paradise’, the Isle of Pines in New Caledonia features several excellent scuba diving and snorkeling sites within and around a tranquil lagoon. The crystal clear marine waters encircling the Isle of Pines behold numerous schools of colorful species of tropical fish and corals which are largely admired by the visitors. Surrounded by the New Caledonia Barrier Reef, the Isle of Pines is rich with an abundance of animal life which includes unusual creatures like the Crested Gecko Rhacodactylus Ciliatus, and the World’s largest Rhacodactylus Leachianus Gecko.
Discovered by Captain James Cook in 1774 on his second voyage to New Zealand, the Melanesian inhabitants locally know the Isle of Pines as ‘Kunie’. Located at a distance of 100 kilometers to the southeast of Noumea, the Isle of Pines is a bustling, nickel-smelting island, home to over 100,000 inhabitants, 1,900 kilometers away from Sydney.