Natural swimming pool trail at Île des PinsNatural swimming pool trail at Île des Pins
©Natural swimming pool trail at Île des Pins|S. Robert

24h on the Isle of Pines

Anaëlle and Steven's good ideas

Picture yourself relaxing on pristine white sandy beaches, plunging into crystalline lagoons, and wandering through verdant natural scenery… That’s exactly what we savoured during our 24-hour escapade on the Isle of Pines. Just a stone’s throw away from Nouméa, this gem of New Caledonia is an essential stop for any visit, whether it’s a romantic retreat or an exhilarating adventure.

Anaëlle and StevenAnaëlle and Steven
©Anaëlle and Steven
Anaëlle and Steven

Anaëlle and Steven are content creators who have recently settled in New Caledonia. For New Caledonia Tourism, they agreed to share their favourite places and other goodtips, which they document in photos and videos during their getaways. From the mainland to the islands, from their favourite walks to the best shopping spots, Anaëlle and Steven take you on a journey to discover the must-sees in New Caledonia. Follow their adventures on @anaellechretienoff and @stevenlqr.

What we truly love about New Caledonia is the diversity of the landscapes, from the sea to the mountains.

Anaëlle and Steven

Morning departure from Nouméa

for the Isle of Pines aboard the Betico

It all started in Nouméa, where Steven and I boarded the Betico, bound for the Isle of Pines. The crossing starts at 6:00 am. During the 2½-hour sail, breakfast was available on board.

While crossing, make sure to visit the “Sun Deck” for a mesmerising view of the marine life as it glitters and gleams in the boat’s wake. It’s an unmissable spectacle where the sun dances on the horizon, its first rays gently kissing the ocean, signalling the start of an exciting day of exploration and adventure.

Helpful tip: Multiple boat departures are available weekly. Alternatively, for those opting to fly, Air Calédonie offers a convenient 30-minute flight from Nouméa-Magenta domestic airport.

Pure relaxation on the pristine shores

of Kanuméra and Kuto beaches

Upon our approach to the Isle of Pines, the Baie de Kuto stretched out before us, an unforgettable first glimpse of paradise. This island landmark instantly captivated us with its serenity and picturesque charm.

Kuto Beach and Kanumera Beach are divided by a narrow strip of land, allowing for easy exploration between the two. Our recommendation: why choose when you can explore both?

Kanuméra exudes a unique charm, boasting natural beauty that entrances and beckons you to immerse yourself in its clear, inviting waters. The presence of a majestic sacred rock rising from the water adds to the enchantment of the scene, instantly winning us over. Keep an eye out for turtles, as they often grace the area during snorkelling or kayaking outings. Expect delightful surprises!

Snorkelling in the natural pool

in Baie d'Oro

The Baie d’Oro presented us with one of those timeless moments, where it feels as though time stands still. Encircled by towering columnar pines, this bay provides an unspoiled backdrop ideal for snorkelling. The water is remarkably clear and shallow, making it welcoming even for beginners.

In this natural aquarium, we encountered butterflyfish, clownfish, brightly coloured parrotfish, and a myriad of other marine species, engaged in an underwater ballet that rendered us speechless.

For the ultimate experience, aim for high tide when marine life thrives and the water is crystal clear, enhancing the spectacle beneath the waves.

Tasty lunch

at the Kougny snack bar

After our morning underwater escape, we found solace beneath the coconut trees at the Kougny snack bar. With sand between our toes and the soothing sound of waves in the background, we enjoyed a delicious lunch.

The menu featured perfectly grilled lobster paired with carefully prepared Bulimulus snails, a local delicacy that tantalised our taste buds with novel flavours. The lobster was exquisite, its tender flesh effortlessly separating from its rosy shell.

Le Kougny, with its laid-back vibes and idyllic surroundings, provides the ideal spot to unwind and soak in the gentle rhythm of the ocean waves. Leaving with satisfied appetites, we were eager to explore the remaining treasures that the Isle of Pines had in store for us.

Hike to Pic N'Ga

We highly recommend embarking on the Pic N’Ga climb for a memorable afternoon activity. With the sun shining brightly above, we thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic hike.

The recently renovated trail attracts adventurers of all levels, offering great accessibility and even a bench to pause, catch your breath, and take in the stunning landscape.

The ascent, lasting about 50 minutes, is mostly gentle, with only a brief, steeper stretch that takes around ten minutes. This hike is ideal for families, as it’s perfectly manageable even with children, making it a fantastic family activity.

Reaching the summit, we were greeted by an utterly breathtaking 360-degree panorama.

Helpful tip: We suggest opting for a sturdy pair of athletic shoes to ensure your comfort along the way.

Sunset and cocktails

on Kuto beach

Watching the sunset is our cherished ritual, and for the perfect experience, we head to the Kou Bugny hotel restaurant nestled right on the beach of Kuto. With its relaxed ambiance, it’s the ideal spot to unwind and witness the day’s end melt into the tranquil lagoon.

The staff at Kou Bugny always greet you with warm smiles and exceptional friendliness, adding immensely to the overall experience. Their ability to cultivate a cozy and inviting atmosphere ensures that every visit is truly memorable.

You have options: whether to settle on the deck or relish your drink right on the beach for a truly special point in time. With a refreshing fruit cocktail in hand, this moment felt absolutely perfect. It’s no wonder we find ourselves drawn back here time and time again.

Dinner and overnight stay

at Le Méridien Île des Pins

As night fell, we found ourselves at Le Méridien Île des Pins hotel, our go-to haven whenever we set foot on the Île des Pins!

The staff, always attentive, tended to every detail to ensure our stay was flawless. Steven has a soft spot for the panoramic bungalow, boasting a breathtaking view of the lagoon, while I prefer the beach bungalows. They offer a more intimate setting, with the delightful luxury of strolling barefoot on the sand right outside your door. And there’s nothing quite like drifting off to sleep on a supremely comfortable bed after a day filled with adventure!

In the morning, breakfast surpassed our expectations: hearty and diverse. From omelettes to scrambled eggs, fresh fruit to homemade French pastries for the foodies among us – it was a feast for the senses.

Just one night at Le Méridien and you’ll feel rejuvenated, whether you’re gearing up for a new adventure or simply savouring this delightful break.

What else you need to know
  • Indulging in lunch at the restaurant-bar of Ouré Lodge in Kanuméra Bay is an absolute must. Picture yourself relishing a meal crafted from local produce, all while lounging right on the beach. Sip on a delightful house cocktail as you soak in the ambiance, with the soothing sound of the waves providing the perfect backdrop to your dining experience.
  • Embarking on a traditional pirogue excursion in the Baie d’Upi is an absolute must! Often likened to Vietnam’s Halong Bay, this experience offers a unique and authentic journey through the hidden marvels of the Isle of Pines. Glide effortlessly across the crystal-clear waters, relishing in moments of pure relaxation amidst breathtaking scenery.
  • For nature enthusiasts seeking forest adventures, a visit to the Grotte de la Reine Hortense promises an immersive experience in the lush surroundings of the Isle of Pines. Also known as Oumagne, this grotto provides a refreshing retreat from the heat, offering tranquillity and serenity amidst its cool embrace.

Anaëlle and Steven's good ideas

Find out more about all their adventures!