New Caledonia is situated in the Melanesian sub region towards the south western side of Pacific Ocean. It is about 1,200 kilometers away from Australia towards its eastern end and about 1,500 kilometers away from New Zealand towards its north western end. New Caledonia includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands and other smaller islands namely the Isle of Pines, the Bellona Reefs and the Chesterfield Islands. Nouméa is the capital city of New Caledonia.
The Grande Terre is basically the mountainous island containing five peaks of about 1,500 metres height. The highest mountain of the Grande Terre is Mont Panié that rises at an elevation of 1,628 meters. New Caledonia is actually a part of a submerged continent known as Zealandia that sank when rifted from Australian continent about 80 million years ago. Diahot River is the longest river of the New Caledonia.
Today, New Caledonia is said to be the critically endangered territory of the world and rich plant diversity. New Caledonia is a detached part of ancient super-continent of Gondwana and preserves a picture of Gondwanan forests. Now the country is the home to bizarre endemic plants and animal diversity of Gondwanan origin and the world’s second prevalent coral reef after the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. The island is a significant nesting ground for the Green Sea Turtle and fur seals.
The Nautilus, the living-fossil species which were found during the era of the dinosaurs till survives under the waters of New Caledonia. In the year 2002, the government of France listed the Barrier Reef of New Caledonia as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.