This enlightening excursion presents the natural beauty of Noumea before focusing on its colorful marine life, beautifully displayed in the impressive city aquarium.
Traveling from the pier you will first enjoy a brief but scenic drive past Noumea's most popular park, the lovely Place des Cocotiers, and then on to the Ouen Toro lookout. From this elevated vantage point at the tip of a peninsula, you'll be treated to a wonderful view of the sparkling harbor, lagoon and a cluster of islands fringed with coral reefs. While certainly a magnificent sight, more than anything, it piques the curiosity of what lies below the surface. New Caledonia boasts a barrier reef second in size only to Australia's Great Barrier Reef and has the world's largest lagoon.
You'll explore New Caledonia's underwater world at the Noumea Aquarium, which was founded in 1956. At the time, it was the world's only aquarium that exhibited live marine organisms in their natural habitat, a feat painstakingly accomplished by continuously circulating open seawater into the displays. While no longer in the original building, the Noumea Aquarium still exhibits marine life in the most natural way possible, using water pumped from the nearby lagoon. You may see dainty sea horses, oddly hump-headed Napoleons, brightly colored angelfish, reef sharks and live nautiluses, a species that has survived relatively unchanged for millions of years. There's even a room illuminated by black lights that intensifies the coral's natural fluorescence.
Leaving the aquarium behind, you will make your way back to the pier, passing Lemon Bay - the local's favorite sheltered beach, the yacht marina, Orphelinat Bay and the Southern Governmental building along the way.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 45-minutes of moderate walking/standing and there are some stairs and hilly terrain to negotiate at the Ouen Toro lookout. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach, and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Light-weight clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.