Although part of New Caledonia
, the beautiful Loyalty Islands have their own unique cultural identity. Life on the Loyalty Islands is still governed by tribal traditions that date back to its early settlement by Melanesians, who arrived over 3000 years ago. Further cultural influences were brought by Europeans, who came for the Loyalty Islands' sandalwood timber and for whaling. In 1864, the Loyalty Islands were annexed by France. Loyalty Islanders are known for their friendliness and hospitality and visitors to the Loyalty Islands are treated as favoured guests.
The four raised coral atolls of the Loyalty Islands include Lifou
, the group's largest island at 1150sq km. Lifou's stunning coastline is etched with long beaches of white sand and ancient reef cliffs pierced by caves. Maré
is the most rugged of the Loyalty Islands, its towering cliffs interspersed with small sandy coves. The crescent-shaped atoll of Ouvéa is considered one of the most beautiful in the South Pacific. Ouvea's west coast is an uninterrupted 25km stretch of dazzling white sand. Tiga is the smallest of the Loyalty Islands, covering just 12sq km. The larger Loyalty Islands offer visitor accommodation
, but there are no public facilities on Tiga.
Lifou: 10,000; Maré: 7000; Tiga: 380; Ouvea: 4000
Pleasant year round with an average temperature of 24°C.
December to March: cyclone season – cyclones are few but it is wetter and more humid in these months.
Ouvéa, the most northern of the Loyalty Islands, has the hottest climate.
Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) plus 11 hours
Lifou, Mare, Ouvea, Diving & Fishing, Cave Tours, Tribal Culture, Walking.