Great Ferns Park in FarinoGreat Ferns Park in Farino
©Great Ferns Park in Farino|NCT

Preserved nature

Travelling in the New Caledonian archipelago is like making several trips in one as its landscapes and nature change from one region to another. Ranked the third biodiversity hot spot on the planet thanks to its unique and abundant flora and fauna, it is a true paradise for lovers of outdoor activities.

A Vast and Contrasting Archipelago

Separated from the supercontinent Gondwana more than 180 million years ago, New Caledonia is a geological curiosity which has continued its evolution alone, sheltered from the world.

This vast archipelago of 18,750 km2 is made up of a main island (Grande Terre) 450 km long and 50 km wide, with an imposing central mountain chain that culminates in height at 1,628 m, and multiple smaller islands: the Isle of Pines to the South, the Loyalty Islands to the East and the Bélep Islands to the North.

Sparsely populated (less than 14 inhabitants/km2), New Caledonia and its large protected natural parks invite you to recharge your batteries far from the crowds, by hiking in all possible ways in the heart of nature, which offers every shade of every colour: golden savannahs on the West Coast, green forests coating the Range slopes in the East, red earths in the South…

An endemic and preserved flora

The unique, metal-rich geology of New Caledonia, its isolation, and stable climate have generated a unique and fascinating flora of incredible diversity. 75% of its 3,400 plant species are endemic, and there are even multiple prehistoric plants. Discover its different and increasingly protected natural environments:

  • The rainforest, very dense in the Central Mountain Chain and on the East Coast, gathers more than 2,000 species such as giant kaoris, tree ferns or original amborellas.
  • The mining scrub, with an endemism rate that exceeds 82%, whose variegated ‘bushes’ emerge from the arid red lands of the Deep South and seem to have come from another planet.
  • The dry forest, scattered across the West Coast following fires and former clearings, includes rare and magnificent flowers such as captaincookias or turbinas.
  • The mangrove extends along the coastline, like a hanging garden between land and sea, acting as a natural water filter and an anti-erosion shield.
  • Finally, the savannah covers a large part of the west and north of Grande Terre with its large uniform meadows where niaoulis, white fire-resistant trees, reign supreme.

Peaceful terrestrial wildlife

The land animals of New Caledonia are not really dangerous. There are no lurking large predators or venomous snakes!

So, feel free to observe its 68 species of birds (including 20 endemic species such as the iconic cagou, the gifted New Caledonian crow or the colourful Ouvéa parakeet), its various reptiles and its more than 4,000 insects (2,400 endemic species such as the ‘tasty’ bancoule worm or the enormous coconut grasshopper).

Among the country’s mammals, only the flying fox, a small fruit-eating bat, is indigenous. The main island also has two introduced species that have proliferated in the bush region: the large rusa deer and the wild boar.