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New Caledonia Travel Guide

beach on Kanuméra Bay
A lovely sheltered beach on Kanuméra Bay,
Isle of Pines.


Kanuméra/Kuto is one of the gems of the Pacific: Kuto with its long rolling surf, Kanuméra with its gentle turquoise waters. The talcum-soft beaches curve around a narrow neck of sand, which joins the Kuto Peninsula to the rest of the island. Towering pines contrast with curving palms, casuarinas, gum trees, ferns, wild orchids, and other flowers to create an environment of exotic richness, separated from the sea by a wide strip of snowy white sand. Kanuméra is a photographer's dream, and although the snorkeling is second-rate, the windsurfing is excellent.

During the penal colony period the Kuto Peninsula was isolated from the rest of the island by a high stone wall intended to protect the prison administrators in the event of a convict revolt. The present gendarmerie is the former home of the prison's doctor, while the governor lived in the red-roofed building a bit along toward the wharf.

Opposite the side entrance to the governor's compound is a trail leading south and around the peninsula past a series of scenic views. Another good walk is to the northwest around Kuto Bay, then across the rocky headland on the trail to wild and lovely Kutema Beach.

For a sweeping panorama of the entire island and a profile of Grande Terre on the horizon, climb to the cross atop Pic Nga (262 meters) in an hour (easy). The signposted trailhead is midway on the Kanuméra/Kuto cutoff, southeast of the house with several pine trees in the front yard.