Relax at the Piscine naturelle d'Oro with its crystal-clear water, surrounded by columnar pines on Île des Pins, New Caledonia.Piscine Naturelle d'Oro, Île des Pins
©Piscine Naturelle d'Oro, Île des Pins|Toko

Natural pool and Oro Bay

A true natural aquarium, carved out of coral, Baie d’Oro’s natural pool boasts a reputation that extends far beyond New Caledonia‘s borders. This precious gem on the Isle of Pines, surrounded by towering columnar pines, holds a sacred place in the hearts of the island’s inhabitants. It’s believed that Baie d’Oro, where the open-air aquarium is nestled, houses the ancestral resting places of the Kuniés. Local legends also speak of Manghenine, a giant snake said to roam the area at night. Your visit promises snorkelling adventures, tranquil forest hikes, swims in the crystal-clear lagoon waters, and leisurely moments on the pristine white sandy beach—a truly rejuvenating and enriching experience!

To reach the Isle of Pines, the most convenient option is a flight with Air Calédonie. The airline operates daily flights from Nouméa-Magenta airport, with a flight time of approximately 25 minutes. Alternatively, Betico ferries offer crossings once or twice a week, taking about 2 hours and 30 minutes. Once you arrive, you have various options for reaching Baie d’Oro and the natural pool:

  • Rent a car upon arrival and drive to Le Méridien parking lot, the starting point for accessing the natural pool and Baie d’Oro.
  • Book a pirogue (outrigger) excursion to Baie d’Upi, which will guide you to the natural pool through a picturesque forest path and a turquoise water channel.
  • If you’re staying at Le Méridien Île des Pins Hotel, you can reach the site on foot.
  • Some accommodation providers offer shuttle services for a fee.

From the main road, a brief walk along a path or along the water’s edge (during low tide) will lead you to the natural aquarium in approximately fifteen minutes.

  • An entrance fee of 200 XPF is required for access to the natural pool; please bring cash.
  • For a more peaceful experience, visit the natural pool during high tide and avoid peak times for pirogue excursions (check with your accommodation provider for advice).
  • Wear a swimsuit and beach shoes when crossing the inlet; be mindful of the pebbles on the sandy bottom.
  • If you have a GoPro, seize the opportunity to capture stunning underwater photos!
Top 5 things to do

1. Relax in the shade of columnar pines

La piscine naturelle de l'Île des Pins
La piscine naturelle de l'Île des Pins
La piscine naturelle de l'Île des Pins

The coral formations crowned by columnar pines surrounding the natural pool create an exceptionally beautiful setting. The glistening pool and boulders among the araucarias invite contemplation and photography. Take a refreshing dip, lay out your towel, and fully enjoy the surroundings. Consider ordering a packed lunch from local hostels to extend your experience with a picnic.

2. Swim with multicoloured fish

The natural pool, an enchanting coral-carved aquarium, provides an incredible spot for observing marine life. Its sheltered, shallow waters make it safe for snorkelling, allowing you to explore crystal-clear waters around coral rocks aptly named “potatoes.” Here, you’ll encounter a multitude of small marine creatures, from butterfly fish and clown fish to parrotfish.

3. Enjoy forest walk

Whether by road or sea, a short sandy path leads you to the natural pool. This journey is awe-inspiring at every step, featuring a turquoise water channel bordered by columnar pines, sandy stretches dotted with tiny fiddler crabs, and tropical vegetation. The pure white sand, blue skies, and green pines offer captivating beauty even before you reach your destination.

4. Turtle watching

Baie d’Oro, one of Isle of Pines’ most beautiful spots, features rocks in crystal-clear waters framed by columnar pines. This picturesque setting is home to numerous turtles, delighting visitors of all ages. Snorkelling offers an enjoyable way to observe and follow these gentle creatures. If you’re a guest at Hotel Méridien, consider borrowing a kayak or paddle for an adventurous water ride in search of turtle heads or shells.

5. Enjoy a meal overlooking the lagoon

For a romantic getaway in Baie d’Oro, Le Méridien Île des Pins offers a lagoon-side restaurant where you can relish crustaceans such as lobsters, crabs, and Bulime snails in a remarkable setting of powdery sand, turquoise waters, and columnar pines. Whether you prefer à la carte or buffet-style dining, the restaurant welcomes outside customers with reservations. As the day winds down, the outdoor bar provides the perfect location for a cocktail with your toes in the sand.