Canoeing in Kanuméra Bay on Île des PinsCanoeing in Kanuméra Bay on Île des Pins
©Canoeing in Kanuméra Bay on Île des Pins|Marine Reveilhac / NCT

10 must-see and do on the Isle of Pines

The Isle of Pines, a true postcard destination, beckons beach enthusiasts with its pristine shores of fine sand and captivating turquoise lagoon. However, this island offers much more than idyllic beaches. With its dense, untamed vegetation, intriguing geological formations, diverse flora and fauna, rich history, and profound Kanak traditions, the Isle of Pines promises a multifaceted experience. Whether you explore its land or water, a myriad of activities awaits: traditional pirogue excursions in Upi Bay, snorkelling adventures in Oro Bay, exhilarating dives amidst vibrant marine life and corals, guided cave explorations, or leisurely swims on Kuto and Kanuméra’s enchanting beaches. If you’re wondering where to begin, here are the top 10 must-do activities on this captivating island.

Sail in an outrigger

in Upi Bay

Southeast of the Isle of Pines, sail along the Upi Bay aboard a traditional outrigger pirogue. Guided by one of the island’s few piroguers, you’ll cruise through turquoise waters featuring majestic coral reefs. Keep your eyes open: tortoises, rays and dolphins sometimes put on quite a show! Once you’ve booked your trip, head to Saint-Joseph Bay to get started.

Swim in the natural pool of Oro Bay

Observing vibrant corals and multicoloured fishes is a breeze on the Isle of Pines. All you need is a mask, flippers, and a snorkel to immerse yourself in this open-air aquarium. Between the crystal-clear lagoon and the towering columnar pines, relish the joy of swimming in the heart of this stunning landscape. Oro Bay’s natural swimming pool, conveniently located near the Le Méridien hotel, is perfect for family-friendly snorkelling in calm, shallow waters..

Indulge in a Lobster Feast

Feet in the Sand

Dining with your feet in the sand and almost touching the lagoon’s waters is an extraordinary experience on its own. Elevate it by savouring a freshly caught lobster! To relish this moment in the comfort of a faré (thatched hut), consider booking a nautical excursion to Moro Island.

Enjoy the incredible Kuto and Kanuméra bays

Kuto and Kanuméra, two emblematic beaches of the Isle of Pines, epitomise the dream holiday postcard scene. The expansive white sands of Kuto Bay are framed by the lagoon on one side and coconut palms on the other. It’s an ideal spot for a jog, a swim with turtles, or a sunset drink. In contrast, the more intimate Kanuméra Bay offers a serene, tranquil atmosphere that is equally tempting. Why choose between them? Visit them both!

Embark on a diving experience

in Ouaméo Bay

Whether you’re an experienced scuba diver or a novice seeking an introductory dive, prepare to be amazed by the beauty and diversity of Ouaméo Bay’s coral reefs. Passes, drop-offs, and shallow areas teem with multicoloured fish and coral, all safely explored with the guidance of Kunié Scuba Center‘s instructors—the only diving club on the Isle of Pines. The club offers access to a remarkable selection of 20 dive sites.

Following in the footsteps of the past

in the Grotte Oumagne

Leave the beaches behind and follow in the footsteps of Isle of Pines’ hidden treasures! Among them, the Grotte Oumagne reveals itself at the end of a path surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. Inside the cave, giant stalactites, bats and banyan roots tell the legend of Queen Hortense, a key figure in the island’s past. To discover her story, opt for an island tour with a local guide!

Climb to the top of Pic N'Ga

Ascend to the highest vantage point on the Isle of Pines, situated 262 metres above sea level! Equipped with sturdy hiking boots, you’ll reach Pic N’Ga’s summit in about an hour. While the climb is steep, it’s relatively short, and the rewards are immense. At the top, you’ll be greeted with a magnificent view of the island’s surrounding bays, painted in the vibrant hues of New Caledonia: green, red, and blue. This hike is most enjoyable in dry weather, during the early morning or late afternoon, when the lighting is at its best.

Sample the Local Delicacy

the Bulimes snails

Served with a delectable sauce of garlic butter and herbs, bulimes are a significant culinary delight on the Isle of Pines. These snails, much larger than traditional Burgundy snails, are a local delicacy. During your visit, be sure to try them at the island’s restaurants or in the homes of locals.

Sip a cocktail overlooking the lagoon

What better way to forget the stresses of everyday life than by immersing yourself in the turquoise waters of the Pacific? It’s even better when accompanied by cocktails enjoyed with your toes in the sand. Kuto Bay and Oro Bay are home to two beachside bar-restaurants, providing the perfect settings for relaxation by the water. The bar at the Kou-Bugny hotel in Kuto offers breathtaking sunsets, while in Oro, the Le Méridien hotel allows you to savour a drink with your feet in the sand while admiring its picturesque setting.

Visit the ‘Grotte de la Troisième’

The mysterious Grotte de la Troisième lies at the end of a dirt track in the Kéré tribe, on the road to the airfield. To observe the cave entrance, you’ll need a good pair of closed-toe shoes and a flashlight. The cave houses a large freshwater pool, surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites. It’s possible to go scuba diving in this atypical place with the Kunie Scuba Centre.

Focus on...

Pine Island

If you’re seeking an unforgettable experience, come and explore the Isle of Pines. This captivating destination offers a blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and thrilling adventures. From sailing through turquoise waters to savouring freshly caught lobster with your toes in the sand, the Isle of Pines promises a unique journey that will stay with you long after you’ve left its shores.