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World Travel Guide > Guides > Oceania > New Caledonia

New Caledonia Weather, climate and geography

Weather and climate

Best time to visit

The climate is generally warm and subtropical. The cool season runs from April to August whilst the hottest period is from September to March. The main rains are between January and March. The seasons are less defined on the east coast than the west. Climate is tempered by trade winds.

Required clothing

Tropical lightweights, with jackets and sweatshirts for evenings.

Geography

New Caledonia consists of 400km-long (249 miles) mainland Grande Terre, the Ile des Pins (Isle of Pines) to the south, the Loyalty Islands to the east (Maré, Lifou, Tiga and Ouvéa), the Belep Archipelago in the northwest, and numerous islands and islets (Huon & Surprise, Christfield, Walpole, Beautémps-Beaupré, Astrolabe and the Bellona reef).

Grande Terre is divided by a range of mountains (Châine Centrale), the highest points of which are Mount Pancé in the north (1,629m/5,344ft) and Mount Humboldt in the south (1,618m/5,308ft). Various species of trees can be found here. This unusual relief divides Grande Terre into the East coast which is humid and open to trade winds, fertile and exotic with lush tropical vegetation, and the West coast which is dry and temperate, filled with niaouli trees, cattle and beautiful beaches.

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