Lighthouses of New Caledonia

One of the largest of the South Pacific countries, New Caledonia is an island chain located roughly 1600 km (1000 mi) east northeast of Australia. It was named by its British discoverer, Capt. James Cook, in 1774, but it has been a French territory since 1853. A referendum on independence is to be held between 2014 and 2018, and it is possible that the name of the country will be changed, although there is no agreement yet on a new name.

During World War II New Caledonia served as a base for Allied operations against Japanese forces in the southwest Pacific.

The country consists of one large island, called Grand Terre, and many smaller islands, including the Îles des Pins to the southeast and the Îles Loyauté to the northeast. Grand Terre is oriented northwest to southeast, with the capital Nouméa on the west side near the southeastern end.

For lighthouse fans, New Caledonia boasts one of the world's tallest cast iron towers, the Phare Amédée shown at right. There are also a number of smaller lighthouses, which are much less well known.

The French word for a lighthouse is phare, but feu (fire) is used for smaller lightbeacons. The lighthouses of New Caledonia are managed by the Service des Phares et Balises.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume K of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 111.

General Sources
Service des Phares et Balises
Web site for the aids to navigation service in New Caledonia.
Lighthouses in New Caledonia
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - New Caledonia
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Leuchttürme Australiens und Ozeaniens auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.

Phare Amédée
Phare Amédée, Le Mont-Dore, November 2009
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Eustaquio Santimano

Îles Loyauté Lighthouse
Note: The Îles Loyauté (Loyalty Islands) are a chain of smaller islands east of the main island of New Caledonia and southwest of southern Vanuatu.
Île Lifou
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 90 m (295 ft); three white flashes, in a 2+1 pattern, every 15 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower, painted black with a white horizontal band at the base. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view of the station. Located on a promontory near the southeastern end of Lifou, largest of the Îles Loyauté. Site status unknown, but probably accessible by a hiking trail; tower closed. ARLHS NCA-004; Admiralty K4834; NGA 3584.

Southeastern Grand Terre Lighthouses
Puarati
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 90 m (295 ft); four white flashes every 15 s. 15 m (59 ft) round gray concrete post light with gallery, mounted on a square concrete base. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a mountain slope on the southeastern coast of Grande Terre. Site status unknown, possibly open. ARLHS NCA-005; Admiralty K4790; NGA 3600.
Passe de Goro
Date unknown (1950s?). Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 4 s. 26 m (85 ft) round stone or concrete tower with gallery but no lantern, painted white. No recent closeup photo available; a 2011 view and another view from the mainland are available, there is an aerial photo of the reef showing the lighthouse (last photo in first row), and Google has a satellite view. Located on a reef off Goro on the northern approach to the Havannah Channel at the southeastern tip of Grande Terre. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS NCA-003; Admiralty K4795; NGA 3604.
Récif Ioro
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 7 m (23 ft); red light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 7 m (23 ft) hexagonal concrete tower, painted white with a red band at the top. A distant photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located near the eastern end of a reef about 1.6 km (1 mi) off the south end of Grande Terre. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty K4797; NGA 3608.
Cap N'Doua Point Range Front
1932. Active; focal plane 125 m (410 ft); quick-flashing white light. 4 m (13 ft) round cast iron lantern mounted directly on a concrete base; 2nd order Fresnel lens in use. A closeup photo and a distant view are available, and Google has a satellite view. The middle and rear lights of the range are on small skeletal towers. Located on the point of the cape at the southeastern end of Grande Terre. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS NCA-007; Admiralty K4794; NGA 3612.
Bonne Anse (Baie Est, Récif de Bonne Anse)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); continuous light, white 2 s, green 2 s. 12 m (39 ft) round stone tower, painted white with a green band at the top. No lantern. A photo is at right, the Bigel family has posted a photo, a distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a reef off the east entrance to the Baie du Prony, a sheltered anchorage at the southern end of Grande Terre. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS NCA-002; Admiralty K4799; NGA 3624.
Feu de Bonne Anse
Feu de Bonne Anse, Le Mont-Dore, December 2011
Panoramio photo copyright jujudemalabou
permission requested
Île Ouen (Canal Woodin South Side)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 64 m (210 ft); flash every 2.5 s, red to the east and white to the west. 7 m (23 ft) post, painted with red and white horizontal bands, mounted on a square base. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. Île Ouen is a mountainous island about 8 km (5 mi) in diameter off the south end of Grande Terre; the Canal Woodin (Woodin Channel) is the strait between Île Ouen and Grand Terre. For eastbound vessels, the white light forms a range with the rear light of the Cap N'Doua Range, and for westbound vessels the red light marks the south side of the entrance to the strait. Located on heights at the northern end of Île Ouen. Site status unknown. Admiralty K4799.6; NGA 3628.
Canal Woodin North Side
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white or green light, depending on direction, 2 s on, 2 s off. 11 m (36 ft) tapered round stone tower with gallery but no lantern, painted white with a green band at the top. A closeup photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located just off the south coast of Grande Terre, on the north side of the Canal Woodin; many smaller ships use this protected passage to reach Nouméa. Accessible only by boat. ARLHS NCA-008; Admiralty K4799.5; NGA 3632.

Nouméa Area Lighthouses
Passe de Boulari Nord (Range Front)
1881. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); quick-flashing white light, intensified on the range line. 10 m (33 ft) octagonal solid masonry tower; the light is shown from a tall mast mounted atop the tower. Lighthouse painted white with a black and white checkerboard pattern facing the range. A photo is at right, Toby Smith has a view from the rear, and Google has a satellite view. This light is the front light of a range guiding ships through the narrow Passe de Boulari, the start of the approach to Nouméa. The Phare Amédée serves as the rear light. Located southwest of the Phare Amédée, just off the beach of the Îlot Amédée. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS NCA-011; Admiralty K4802; NGA 3640.
** Amédée
1865 (Léonce Reynaud). Active; focal plane 52 m (171 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 55 m (180 ft) round 16-sided cast iron tower, painted white; solar-powered 250 mm lens. Eustaquio Santimano's photo is at the top of this page, Duncan Loxton has posted a fine closeup photo and another good photo, Menfes Qeddus has a fine 2003 photo, Adrien Cretin has a 2008 aerial photo, Wikimedia has an article on the history of the lighthouse, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a good satellite view. This magnificent lighthouse, the pride of New Caledonia, is claimed locally to be the world's tallest cast iron tower, although this title probably belongs to the Cikoneng lighthouse in Java, which is 3 m (10 ft) taller. It was the first cast iron lighthouse built in France. The lighthouse was prefabricated in 1862, exhibited in Paris until 1864, then shipped halfway around the world and reassembled. Today it is New Caledonia's best known tourist attraction. Located on an island, the Îlot Amédée, in the Passe de Boulari about 25 km (15 mi) south of Nouméa, the capital. Tours from Nouméa are available. Site open, tower open to guided tours. ARLHS NCA-001; Admiralty K4802.1; NGA 3644.
Passe de Boulari Range
Passe de Boulari Range, Le Mont-Dore, August 2001
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Nemo's great uncle
Récif Tabou (Tabou Reef)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); four flashes every 12 s, red or white depending on direction. 14 m (46 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted white with a red band at the top. A photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. After entering the Passe de Boulari, vessels must make a turn to port to pass between the Phare Amédée and this light. Located on a reef about 2 km (1.2 mi) west of the Phare Amédée. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4804; NGA 3648.
Îlot Porc-Épic
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 36 m (118 ft); three flashes every 12 s, white or green depending on direction. Light displayed from a short mast atop a small 1-story round concrete equipment shelter. An aerial photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. This light guides ships between the Phare Amédée and Nouméa. Located on a small island about 10 km (6 mi) southeast of Nouméa. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS NCA-012; Admiralty K4800; NGA 3636.
Îlot Maître
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); quick-flashing red light. 11 m (36 ft) tapered round stone tower with gallery but no lantern, painted white with a red band at the top. Google has a good satellite view, and the beacon is barely visible on the far side of the reef in Jeong Moonyong's aerial photo of the island (click on the photo for magnification). The island is the site of the L'Escapade Island Resort. Located on the reef southeast of a small island about 8 km (5 mi) southwest of Nouméa. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS NCA-009; Admiralty K4800.5; NGA 3652.
Îlot Nou Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 71 m (233 ft); four white flashes every 15 s, synchronized with the front light and intensified on the range line. Light displayed from a short mast atop a small 1-story square concrete equipment shelter. No current photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This range guides ships on the main channel into Nouméa; the front light is on a metal tower 380 m (1/4 mile) downslope to the south. The Île Nou, just west of Nouméa, is now connected to the mainland by a causeway. Located on a ridge at the highest point of the island. Site status unknown, may be accessible. Admiralty K4812.1; NGA 3660.
* Nouméa Cathédrale (Petite Passe Range Front)
1970s. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); quick-flashing white light, intensified on the range line. 26 m (85 ft) gray stone tower, the south tower of the Cathédrale de St.-Joseph. In a view from above the building, the white lantern can be seen atop the tower on the left. A good photo of the facade of the church is available, Helen Farley has a street-level photo of the south tower, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a hillside overlooking downtown Nouméa. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4816; NGA 3676.
* [Îlot Signal]
1883. Daybeacon, never lit. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) round chimney-like tower of white coral stone. A photo is at right, another good closeup photo and a distant view are available, and Google has a satellite view. Sometimes described as the premier phare of Nouméa, this daybeacon helped guide ships through the Passe de la Dumbéa, a narrow pass much closer to Nouméa than the Passe de Boulari used by larger vessels today. If pilots can see the white tower through the opening in the reef, they can enter by steering directly towards it. This is the third beacon built on this location, the first being a simple pyramid constructed in 1850. Located on the southwestern tip of Îlot Signal, a small island about 20 km (13 mi) west of Nouméa. Accessible only by boat, but boat transportation is available from several providers in Nouméa. Site open.
Îlot Signal Daybeacon
Îlot Signal Daybeacon, Nouméa, August 2009
Flickr photo copyright charlottedul; used by permission

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Vanuatu | West: Coral Sea Islands

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Posted January 2, 2006. Checked and revised March 31, 2014. Lighthouses: 15. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.