New Caledonia is farther south than most other South Pacific islands; this, combined with the refreshing southeast trade winds, accounts for its sunny, moderate climate, similar to that of the south of France.
The average annual temperature is 23.6°. It can even be cool and windy from June to September, and campers will need sleeping bags. The ocean is warm enough for bathing year-round.
December to March is warmer and rainier; it's also the hurricane season. The cyclonic depressions can bring heavy downpours and cause serious flooding.
The windward northeast coast of Grande Terre catches the prevailing winds and experiences as much as 3,000 mm of precipitation a year, while the leeward southwest coast is a rain shadow with only 800 to 1,200 mm.
Strong currents and heavy seas off the northeast coast make the southwest coast, where navigation is possible behind protective reefs, a better choice for cruising sailors.