New Caledonia Barrier Reef, Melanesia

Second in length only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, this coral formation in the southwest Pacific runs for nearly 1,000 miles (1,600 km) through the islands of New Caledonia, encircling a vast lagoon.

Species found here are so diverse that many are still being discovered, though 1,000 kinds of fish are known. Turtles love the reef, as do dugongs – clumsy-looking marine mammals that can grow to the size of a cow. Dive in and see coral, sponges, molluscs, and tropical fish; stay above water and glimpse many exotic birds, including the red-footed booby.

Tourism New Caledonia Barrier Reef, Melanesia
Tourism New Caledonia Barrier Reef, Melanesia

New Caledonia (/ˌkælɪˈdoʊniə/; French: Nouvelle-Calédonie) is a sui generis collectivity of overseas France in the southwest Pacific Ocean, south of Vanuatu, about 1,210 km (750 mi) east of Australia, and 17,000 km (11,000 mi) from Metropolitan France. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Chesterfield Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of Pines, and a few remote islets. The Chesterfield Islands are in the Coral Sea. French people, especially locals, call Grande Terre “Le Caillou” (“the pebble”). Wikipedia

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