Wonders of New Caledonia
New Caledonia does not belong to mainstream tourist destinations but this Pacific island country is a true gem with many unusual landmarks. The most amazing wonders of New Caledonia are:
- Unique ecosystems. The island has been isolated from the rest of the world some 85 – 60 million years ago. In the ancient Gondwanan forest during these millions of years evolved thousands of plant species not met anywhere else in the world.
- Karst formations. Islands contain many interesting caves, sinkholes, and cliffs formed by karst processes.
- Fossil finds. When the first people came here, they met such amazing animals as terrestrial crocodiles, giant horned turtles, and enormous, 1.6 m tall flightless birds, making up to 5 m high mounds (in the 19th century considered to be burial mounds of ancient cultures).
Map with the described wonders
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Top 25 wonders of New Caledonia
Cœur de Voh
Bog with an area of 4 ha. The shape of this bog is amazing: it is a perfectly stylized heart form, which has turned this bog into a well-known attraction.
The longest known caves in New Caledonia, explored part is 6 km long. Formed by underground rivers and in some places leads to secluded forested valleys. Contains rare, beautiful speleothems.
One of the most beautiful places in New Caledonia – a large karst depression, 3 km long and up to 200 m deep. Interesting features are remnants – limestone towers.
Trou Bleu d’Aben (Troue Bleu d’Anawa)
An impressive sinkhole, filled with water. The upper layer is freshwater, and deeper comes seawater. Near the bottom, the water is anoxic, with a foggy substance. The lake is more than 30 m deep.
Impressive, 40 m deep sinkhole with a lake at its bottom. The roots of banyan trees are hanging down the cliff and reach the water.
Cascade de Tao (Tao waterfall)
The tallest of the many waterfalls in New Caledonia. Magnificent waterfall with several plunges.
Several caves formed in limestone. The longest one is 3.7 km long, with many beautiful cave formations.
A magnificent sinkhole that starts with a 50 m deep well and then continues with a 40 m deep lake. The entrance is only 25 m wide but the lake at its base is 160 m wide. Contains 350,000 m³ of fresh water.
Grotte de Quango
A magnificent cave – a sinkhole. It starts as a sinkhole with a diameter of 60 m, with a 12 m deep pool at the bottom. Explored length of a beautiful, ornate cave is 461 m.
Bonhomme de Bourail
Enormous, amazing hoodoo – rock column at the sea. The hoodoo resembles a man with a hat.
Tiae dry forest
One of the last remaining stands of New Caledonian dry forest, also one of the last stands of one of the most beautiful flowering plants – Ixora margaretae, known also as Captaincookia margaretae.
Riviere Bleue rainforest
Remnant of New Caledonian rainforest that grows on ultrabasic rocks. Contains a large number of unique species of plants – more than 400 species are endemic to New Caledonia. Here lives the densest population of the unique kagu bird (Rhynochetos jubatus).
Baie des Tortues
Visually very impressive and striking grove of the rare Araucaria luxurians trees at the beach.
Pindai dry forest
Very valuable relic of dry forests. This virgin stand has an area of just 2 ha but it contains 53 species of trees and shrubs, most of them – endemic to New Caledonia.
Three caves. A rich find of recently extinct New Caledonian fauna – giant horned turtles Meiolania, enormous bird Sylviornis (1.2 – 1.6 m tall), unique terrestrial crocodile Mekosuchus inexpectatus and many other animals. Some of these extinct animals were contemporaries with people.
Nekoro dry forest
One of the best-remaining stands of New Caledonian dry forest with an area of 251 ha. Contains one of the largest populations of the beautiful Captaincookia margaretae.
Kanumera fossil find
A group of ancient sinkholes where rich finds of the extinct, unique fauna of New Caledonia was found. Here were found bones of 6 species of enormous birds.
Grand Kaori, Parc Provinciel de la Riviere Bleue
Possibly the largest known tree in New Caledonia. This kauri tree (Agathis lanceolata) is 40 m tall, with a diameter of 2.7 m at breast height (circumference of approximately 8.5 m). There are tales that in earlier times the diameter of kauri trees in New Caledonia reached even 7 m (circumference – 22 m).
Some 6 km long cave that is adorned with ancient paintings. Drawings show birds and tortoises.
Tiwi rock shelter
The oldest known settlement of people in New Caledonia. Here the pottery of the Podtanéan cultural phase has been left sometime around 1 240 BC. Found also shards of pottery belonging to the Lapita and Koné phases.
Hnaened burial mound in Maré Island (Hnaenedr)
An ancient fortification wall of coral slabs, 1 – 2 m high, 1 m wide, with a perimeter of 600 m. Built sometimes around 250 AD. Some stone blocks of the fortifications in Maré Island weigh up to 5 tons.
The richest petroglyph site in New Caledonia. Here over a 200 m distance are scattered 156 large petroglyphs that remind European petroglyphs of the Neolithic Age.
Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center
This center celebrates the cultural heritage of the indigenous Kanak people of New Caledonia. The center has original architecture, blending traditional Kanak architecture and modern inspirations. It is designed by Renzo Piano and built in 1998.
The tallest metal lighthouse in the world – 57 m. Prefabricated in Paris, built in 1864.
Nouméa St. Joseph Cathedral
A large church in Neo-Gothic style, built in 1887 – 1897. The building is 56 m long, with two 25 m tall towers. Towers do not have any spires due to frequent cyclones. 26 stained glass windows and valuable interior decorations in high quality.
This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923.