Snorkeling in the natural pool of Oro on the Isle of PinesSnorkeling in the natural pool of Oro on the Isle of Pines
©Snorkeling in the natural pool of Oro on the Isle of Pines|Bruno Moure / NCT


in New Caledonia

New Caledonia’s remarkable biodiversity, coupled with its UNESCO-listed preserved lagoon, offers a dreamlike destination for observing fish and coral while snorkelling.

Go snorkelling

in New Caledonia

In New Caledonia, you don’t have to venture far from the coast or possess scuba diving credentials to witness colourful fish, turtles, and marine mammals. Whether on Grande Terre or the surrounding islands, snorkelling is possible throughout the year. You’ll find well-marked trails leading to natural underwater wonders. Known as “PMT” in the archipelago, snorkelling will allow you to observe parrotfish, surgeonfish, clownfish, picots, and other species with intriguing names.


Remember to apply sunscreen and wear a lycra suit before entering the water. The coral is delicate, so opt for a sunscreen that is reef-friendly.

Amédée Island

in Nouméa

Famous for its prominent white lighthouse visible from Nouméa, Îlot Amédée (Amédée islet) is also one of the most picturesque snorkelling sites. Designated as a marine reserve, this islet is a haven for observing turtles and the vibrant fish that define the Caledonian lagoon. The water is crystal clear, making it ideal for snorkelling. To make the most of your visit to Phare Amédée, consider a full day of activities offered by Mary D.

Duck Island

(Ilot Canard)

This marine reserve is the closest one to Nouméa, just a 10-minute taxi boat ride from Anse Vata. Islet Canard features a marked underwater trail near the beach. The trail takes between 30 minutes and 1 hour to complete and offers glimpses of turtles, parrotfish, surgeonfish, butterflyfish, and other tropical species. It’s an ideal spot for relaxation and swimming in crystal-clear waters.

Pro tip

Depart in the morning to enjoy a complete day on the islet, complete with lunch at the restaurant and deckchair rentals. Since the beach consists of coral, it’s advisable to bring beach shoes.

Signal or Larégnère islets

in Nouméa

Situated near Nouméa, these islets feature traditional huts (farés) and barbecue areas for day trips or weekends (camping allowed). With their turquoise waters and shallow depths, they are excellent snorkelling spots for observing turtles, schools of fish, and coral. The biodiversity and endemic vegetation are exceptionally rich. If you’re lucky, you might even spot stingrays.

Le Ponton


For a unique experience, head to the Ponton restaurant in Sainte-Marie bay in Nouméa. This spot offers an underwater tunnel, a restaurant, and deckchairs, providing a full day of relaxation with opportunities for snorkelling, paddleboarding, and other water activities.

Poé beach

in Bourail

Accessible by kayak, paddleboard, or glass-bottom boat, Poé’s underwater trail is well-marked and equipped with a pontoon for resting or sunbathing. It allows you to immerse yourself in the turquoise lagoon and discover a rich biodiversity of coral, fish, turtles, and rays.

Ténia islet

in Boulouparis

Just an hour’s drive from Nouméa, Ténia Islet is a lesser-visited gem. A paradise for nature and aquatic wildlife enthusiasts, you can swim with tortoises, encounter colourful fish around the coral formations, and even spot small reef sharks. Farés and barbecue areas are available for an immersive day or weekend experience.

Hienga islet

in Hienghène

Off the coast of Hienghène lies the Îlot Hienga underwater trail. Accessible to all, this marked trail offers a fun and educational way to explore the marine environment safely. This less-visited site is home to a diverse biodiversity, including surgeonfish, clams, butterflyfish, nasons, and various corals. Don’t miss the botanical trail on the islet!

The barrier reef

of Poindimié

After a short sail, dive into the coral reef and discover the breathtaking beauty of the Poindimié reef. Its turquoise waters and colourful seabed, with rifts and canyons ranging from 3 to 15 metres deep, provide opportunities to observe coral, fish, nudibranchs, jacks, and clownfish in their anemones.

The Oro natural pool

on the Isle of Pines

Considered one of the most beautiful spots in the archipelago, the natural pool is accessible on foot via a scenic walking path. This natural aquarium features translucent water filled with multicoloured fish and coral, including butterflyfish, clownfish, and parrotfish. Sheltered from currents, this shallow pool, surrounded by columnar pines and white sandy beaches, is perfect for swimming, especially for those less comfortable in the water.

The water is so clear that you can see the fish from the surface without a mask.

The Pléiades

in Ouvéa

Seldom visited, this small group of coral islets south of Ouvéa boasts unspoiled seabeds. Local guides accompany snorkelling enthusiasts to encounter turtles, sharks, and manta rays. It’s renowned for manta rays coming to be cleaned by smaller fish—an unforgettable sight. Additionally, you can swim among brightly coloured corals and fish.

The cliffs of Jokin

in Lifou

The Jokin Cliffs offer a unique panorama of translucent water, caves, and steep cliffs. From the platform at the foot of the cliffs, you can snorkel with fins, mask, and snorkel to explore the underwater flora and fauna, including butterflyfish, parrotfish, surgeonfish, triggerfish, clams, and more.

Candidate Portrait 01Candidate Portrait 01
©Candidate Portrait 01

After all those dreamy beaches, it was time to discover what’s hidden in the lagoon. Once again, Lifou didn’t disappoint! I didn’t expect to see so much life and wonders that close up.

Daniela Brunner, Caledonian Dream season 2

Casy islet

in the Great South

Ideal for nature lovers and those seeking tranquillity, Casy Islet offers rich fauna both underwater and on the surface, including turtles and colourful fish. During the boat ride to the islet, you may even have the chance to spot dolphins or whales during the season, from mid-July to mid-September.

Frequently asked questions about snorkelling in New Caledonia
  • Is snorkelling suitable for children?

    Yes, snorkelling is suitable for children who can swim. While no specific level is required, comfort in the water and strong swimming skills are important, as you may spend extended periods in the water, encountering slight currents or limited space between the coral and the water’s surface. Learning to breathe with a snorkel is essential but easy to acquire.

  • When is the best time to go snorkelling?

    You can enjoy snorkelling year-round! During the austral summer, water temperatures are comfortable at 27-28°C, perfect for observing tropical fish. In the cooler season from April to September, water temperatures are around 22-23°C. While a wetsuit may be advisable, it’s not essential.

  • Do I need to bring my own equipment?

    Not necessarily. Most guided snorkelling trips provide equipment rental. Fins, masks, and snorkels are also readily available in stores in Nouméa. Consider a neoprene wetsuit for cooler weather. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen and wear lycra for sun protection.