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Last updated on November 8, 2022
Imagine a pool of blue crystalline water, bordered by white sand and surrounded by majestic pine trees … La Piscine Naturelle (The Natural Pool) is an enchanting site, one of the most renowned in New Caledonia. “Carved” in the coral, it is also a small underwater paradise, protected from the ocean by a rock barrier. If you visit the Isle of Pines, don’t miss this natural aquarium, where you will swim with a myriad of tropical fish.
The Natural Pool is located in Oro Bay, on the northeastern coast of the Isle of Pines. Three main options are available for reaching the location.
1. Access by road. Reach the small parking at the end of the road to Oro Bay (well indicated) by car or with a shuttle, whcih can be booked through your accommodation. Pay the entrance fee (CFP200 per person) at the hut, and then walk down the paved road (10 minutes) until you reach the channel. From there, cross the channel (at low tide the channel is dry, while at high tide, you will have water up to the knee), and follow the small path made in the forest to reach the pool (20 minutes). The pool is indicated by blue signs.
2. Access through Le Meridien. If you are staying at Le Meridien hotel, you can reach the Natural Pool by walking along Oro Bay’s beach to its northern tip. Then head up the “Sandy River”, another channel leading to the pool (35 minutes). This option is recommended only at low tide.
3. With a boat tour. Tours combining Upi Bay and Oro Bay are very popular on the island. After crossing Upi Bay aboard a traditional Melanesian outrigger, you will be dropped off a trail that will take you to the natural pool in about 40 minutes. The tour can be booked through all island accommodations. The cost is around CFP4000 Francs per person (transport and entrance fees included).
Enter the water at the edge of the “pool” near the corals, which can be easily seen through the surface from the shore.
The Natural Pool is a small snorkeling spot, at most about 50 meters wide. It only covers the part of the pool where there is still water at low tide (see map above). At high tide, the pool extends to all the sandy areas, but the seabed is very poor and not very interesting.
The small pool, sheltered from the waves, is a haven for sea life. In 9-12ft/3-4 meters of water, you will be surrounded by hundreds of colorful fish. Coral areas, partly damaged, frame the basin.
Hundreds of giant clams can be seen on the seabed. If you or your kids dream of seeing clownfish, you are in the right place. Dozens of sea anemones are attached to the reef, hosting two species of clownfish, the fire clownfish and Barrier reef anemonefish.
Huge pufferfish, as well as many lionfish, enjoy the outcrops, while goatfish rest on the sand.
The Natural Pool is an extraordinary spot, both for its setting and the density of species in such a small space. Be attentive to other snorkelers as the pool can be very crowded. Be careful also to not venture too far into the small channel between the pool and the open sea- when the tide goes down, an outgoing current forms as the pool’s water flows into the sea.
Restaurant Le Kou-gny, located on the beach at Oro Bay, is about a 20-minute walk from the pool.
These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
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