New Caledonia is an archipelago located in the heart of the South Pacific: 1 500 km away from Australia to the east and 2000 km from New Zealand to the north. This territory who is a special collectivity of France has everything to seduce travelers in search of scenery: nature wide and preserved, vast plains, fine sandy beaches, secluded bays, steep cliffs and mountain ranges. But the scenery obviously does not stop only at the varied richness of its landscapes; culture or rather the mix of cultures from all its communities peoples is playing for a lot Kanaks, Caledonians, descendants of settlers, metropolitan. Moreover, be aware that you can find in New Caledonia the largest lagoon in the world and dive in it it’s worth the experience. Once underwater, the magic happens quickly due to an extraordinary wildlife, including marine mammals, large pelagic species, endemic species and macros. The depth of the lagoon does not exceed 30 meters but the outer slopes quickly fall beyond 100 meters. Given the vastness of the lagoon, most diving centers propose daytrip to access the diving sites located about 30 minutes by boat.
Best time to go diving in Cew Caledonia?
On peut plonger toute l’année en Nouvelle Calédonie, les saisons n’ayant pas de grand impact sur le climat. La température de l’eau tourne autour de 27° durant les mois de janvier et février mais peut descendre à 20° en août. La meilleure période pour plonger avec des raies Manta dure 11 mois de l’année donc peu de chance de les louper.
Scuba diving is available all year round in New Caledonia, seasons doesn not have a great impact on the climate. The best time to dive with manta rays lasts 11 months of the year so it seems difficult to miss them.
Scuba diving conditions
The visibility is always good, but is slightly better outside the lagoon with 20 to 30 meters against “only” 15 meters inside.
Current: Tides make the current strong in the passes of New Caledonia. otehrwise, inside the lagoon, the current is rather quiet.
Difficulty: New Caledonia is not exactly the best place to start because of the strong current oustide the lagoon but level 1 is sufficient to enjoy the best sites in the archipelago.
The water temperature is around 27° during the months of January and February but can drop to 20° in August.
What can you see while diving and snorkeling?
Marine life, pelagic, wrecks and endemic species
We can say that New Caledonia is a country full of life over and under the surface. In the many passes outside the lagoon, you will spot many pelagics as reef sharks, manta rays or eagle rays. Other sharks also live in these waters as whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks and even the lemon shark.
Marine mammals are also very popular with divers but are more difficult to observe. It is likely to see whales, dugongs and dolphins.
Another marine creature is very popular with divers: turtles that abound in the area and can be spotted in large numbers around the islets.
New Caledonia is known to have some endemic species like the nautilus, sea creatures that have not evolved much during the last 500 million years.
For macrophotographers, coral reefs are known to be one of the dive destinations with the largest number of different species: frogfish, nudibranchs, leaf fish, mandarin fish …
Finally the charming wrecks “Toho” and “Dieppoise” remain interesting to explore but do not justify a trip from Europe. If you go in New Caledonia, the diving spot “Passe de Boulari” is considered as one of the most beautiful dive sites in the world.