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 in 1774 by the British explorer Capt.
James Cook, but it has been a French territory since 1853. Residents rejected independence in a 1987 referendum, but a new referendum is to be held in 2018. 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.
- Online List of Lights - New Caledonia
- Coming soon: photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Australiens und Ozeaniens auf historischen Postkarten
- Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
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
Île Lifou (2?)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 90 m (295 ft); three white flashes, in
a 2+1 pattern, every 15 s. 30 m (98 ft) tower, painted black with
a white horizontal band at the base. The light was formerly listed as a skeletal tower but is now described as a pylon. No photo available, but Google has a 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 hiking the service road, a distance of about 4 km (2.5 mi); tower closed. ARLHS NCA-004;
Admiralty K4834; NGA 3584.
Southeastern Grand Terre Lighthouses
- Cap Pouaréti (Puarati)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 90 m (295 ft); four white flashes every
15 s. 15 m (59 ft) round gray concrete post 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. Pierre Alain Pantz has a recent photo, Lionel Claudel has a photo, there is an aerial
photo of the reef showing the lighthouse (last photo in first row), and
Google has a distant 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 Range Middle]
- 1932. Active; focal plane 114 m (374 ft); four white flashes every 15 s, synchronized with the rear light. 3 m (10 ft) white concrete pyramid. Nicolas Canonne has a 2014 photo sphere, and Google has a satellite view. The front light, on a similar pyramid 280 m (306 yd) east northeast and 55 m (180 ft) lower, can be reached by a steep trail. Located in a nature reserve on the point of the cape, at the southeastern end of Grande
Terre. Accessible by a dirt road; parking provided. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Réserve naturelle du Cap N’Dua. Admiralty K4794.1; NGA 3616.
Cap N'Doua Light, Cap N'Doua Reserve, June 2015
from a Google photo sphere copyight Nam Nguyen; permission requested
- Cap N'Doua (Range Rear)
- 1932. Active; focal plane 189 m (620 ft); four white flashes every 15 s. 4
m (13 ft) round cast iron lantern mounted directly on a concrete base; 2nd
order Fresnel lens in use. Nam Nguyen has a 2015 photo sphere (a portion is shown above right), a 2013 closeup and a second closeup are available, Barbara Sobocinski has a 2014 closeup, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the point of the cape at the southeastern end of Grande
Terre. Accessible by a dirt road. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Réserve naturelle du Cap N’Dua. ARLHS NCA-007;
Admiralty K4794.2; NGA 3620.
- 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,
S Haskmann has a photo, and Google has a satellite
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.
- 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. A very distant view from the sea is 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.
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
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.
Récif de Bonne Anse Light, Le Mont-Dore, December 2011
Panoramio photo copyright jujudemalabou
Nouméa Area Lighthouses
- Note: Nouméa is the capital and largest city of New Caledonia and the only important port in the country. The city has a population of about 180,000.
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
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, 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.
- 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. Fatima Gebelin has an aerial photo, and Google has a satellite
view. This light guides ships
between the Phare Amédée
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;
- 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. 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;
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. A distant photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. This range guides ships on the
main channel into Nouméa; the front light, also seen in the photo, is on a skeletal mast 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
- 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. Lightphotos.net has Jan de Jonge's photo; in this photo the front light peeks over the top of the right tower and the rear light, on a tall white mast, is seen just to the left of the left tower. 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;
- * [Îlot
- 1883. Daybeacon, never lit. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) round
chimney-like tower of white coral stone. A photo is at right, a distant view is available, and Google has a satellite
view. Sometimes described as the premier phare (first lighthouse) of
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
Îlot Signal Daybeacon, Nouméa, August 2009
Flickr photo copyright charlotte_dul; 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 April 29, 2017.
Lighthouses: 15. Site copyright 2017 Russ Rowlett and the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill.