Offering a fascinating underwater adventure, Ile Aux Canards is an island just a five minute taxi-boat ride from Anse Vata Beach in Noumea. The island lies within one of the oldest marine reserves in New Caledonia and the water is teaming with schools of brightly coloured tropical lagoon fish.
An enthralling underwater trail
On the northwest side of the island, you can swim the 'underwater trail' with just a set of goggles or a snorkel set. The 400-metre route in shallow water is marked by yellow buoys. At the start of the route, you can obtain a waterproof fish identification chart illustrating dozens of fish including parrotfish, clown fish, butterfly fish and angelfish. Exploring this extraordinarily rich natural aquarium is an unforgettable experience and will make you more aware of the importance of its preservation.
Lazing on land
On the island's beaches, sunbeds (1,000 XPF, Approx. 12AUD), umbrellas (800 XPF, Approx. 9.60AUD) and canoes (800 XPF, Approx. 9.60AUD) are available for hire. It's important to remember to bring some kind of foot protection as the beaches are made up of refined coral – it can be hard on your feet. There isn't a great deal of tree cover on the beaches either so it's best to layer on the sunscreen to avoid roasting up. If you'd like to go for a walk, you can follow the art trail around the island – it includes about a hundred original artworks by Oceanic sculptors and visual artists.
Getting to Ile aux Canards
There are two ways to get to the island – the first is by a ride on a yellow taxi boat for 1,200 XPF (Approx. 14.40AUD) and the second is via a glass bottom boat for 1,000 XPF (Approx. 12AUD). Both leave from Anse Vata Beach. The glass bottom boat is probably the more enjoyable mode of transport because waiting time is minimal, staff are friendly and you can see all the marine life as you approach the island.