Ile des Pins, New Caledonia
A Happy Retreat
Today the tiny island of Isle of Pines in New Caledonia has a small airport, but at one time, the only way to reach it was by following the same sea path as visitors on an MSC cruise ship in Kuto Bay
This corner of the South Pacific was the home of rebels and criminals sent there by the French government in the second half of the 19th century.
The prison facilities have been abandoned for decades but can still be visited among the pastures and cultivated fields found along the sides of the road
Four times smaller than Tahiti, Isle of Pines is an incomparable tourist destination thanks to its warm, blue, crystalline waters and white sandy beaches. It's hard to believe that in the past it was chosen to be a prison.
Other highlights that are more interesting than the ruins of the prison bath are N’Ga Peak, the highest point on the island, and Queen Hortense’s Grotto, the most famous of its numerous caves. Just 262 meters from N'Ga Peak, you will find the tall pines that give Isle of Pines its name and which struck the imagination of explorer James Cook when he arrived in 1774.
On an MSC Cruises small boat excursion, you will discover Isle of Pines’ coastline and enchanting places including Ilôt Brosse (Brush Island): a desert island just a few miles away. Starting from sheltered Kanumera Bay with its twin beaches, you can head towards Turtle Bay, true to its name as the home of a colony of green and loggerhead sea turtles. Visitors to Brush Island can snorkel or relax on the beach just steps away from the column of pines that make these islands unique in the world.