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Lagoons of New Caledonia

Lagoons of New Caledonia
The Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems comprise a group of six lagoons that contain coral reef ecosystems with great species diversity and a high level of endemism. It is home to endangered dugongs and an important nesting site for the Green Sea Turtle.
New Caledonia is an Endemic Bird Area with 23 species being found only in
New Caledonia.

This reef system is one of the largest in the world. It covers 23,400 km2. The six designated lagoons are:
- Grand Lagon Sud
- Zone Côtière Ouest
- Zone Côtière Nord-Est
- Grand Lagon Nord
- Atolls d’Entrecasteaux
- Atoll d’Ouvéa et Beautemps-Beaupré


John Booth (New Zealand):
Seeing the Lagoons and Reefs around New Caledonia involved viewing from the air, from vantage points on land, from the comfort of a cruising vessel and up close beneath the waves.

The island of Ouvea in the Loyalty Group was best viewed from the air on the flight from Noumea. But once on the island the opportunity to use the pristine beaches as means of access to the shallow reefs was irresistable.

To reach the Isle of Pines I flew from Noumea across the southern reefs. Once on the island I transferred to a cruiser and travelled around the reefs and offshore islands. The colours were spectacular.

I drove up the West Coast of the Grand Ile stopping at Bourail to visit the coast in the vicinity of the 'Roche Percee'. After visiting more reefs around Kone I traversed the mountains to the opposite coast.

I spent several days exploring the East Coast, a pristine coastal landscape extendimg from Pouebo south to Poindimie. Every bay and estuary provided a different vista.

Time prevented me from reaching the Grand Northern Lagoon and the atolls of Entrecasteaux.
Date posted: November 2014
Jorge Sanchez (Spain):
I was very lucky to travel to Noumea with a French girlfriend who was born there and knew that archipelago very well.
Upon our arrival from Australia her father gave her a car and during two weeks we made many excursions surrounding the island with the car and stopping in the best tourist attractions, such as the old mines of nickel, in front of the Cocotte (The Brooding Hen) and, in general, enjoying the beaches of the lagoon.
New Caledonia not only possesses the largest lagoon in the world, but at the same time its barrier reef is the second largest after the one in Australia.
When darkness fell we stayed in lodges ruled by the Kanaks, and the next day we continued our journey with the car.
We did not practice snorkeling or diving, but swam in the lagoon, which is a Patrimony of the humankind.
After two weeks exploring New Caledonia we flew to New Zealand.
Date posted: February 2014

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Site info

The Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems
Country: France
Inscribed: 2008
Natural Heritage
Criteria:  (7) (9) (10)
Category: Natural landscape, Marine / Coastal

Site history:
2008 Inscribed
Reasons for inscription

Site links

Official website:
»Patrimoine mondial

In the news:
» Scorn and praise for protection of New Caledonia (06-10-2013).
» Acid leak kills thousands of fish in world heritage status lagoon in New Caledonia (06-04-2009).

Related links:
» Les lagons calédoniens inscrits au patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO.
» The South Lagoon.

Getting there

This WHS has 6 location(s).


Lighthouses .
Coral . Critically endangered fauna species . Endemic Bird Species . Lagoons . Living Fossils . Mangroves . Seals . Siraneans . Turtles and tortoises . Whales .
Antipodes points . Antipodes points . Atoll . Cape . Coral Sea . Dependent territories . Marine sites . Melanesia . Pacific Ocean . Situated in one of the "SIDS" .
Individual People
Jacques-Yves Cousteau .
Holocene .
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Biodiversity hotspot .

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