How to get to the Natural Pool on Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

If you’re planning a visit to Isle of Pines (or Île des Pins, as it’s known locally), chances are, the Baie d’Oro Natural Pool is on your itinerary.

Also known as Piscine Naturelle in French, this natural aquarium is one of the most popular attractions on Isle of Pines – and it certainly is beautiful.

With some basic instructions, it’s also easy to get to…

How to get to the Oro Natural Pool

Though there a few different ways to get to the Natural Pool on Isle of Pines, we opted to go via the beach which takes a total of about 30 minutes – and it’s an easy-going adventure to get there.

What’s more, if you go this way, it won’t cost you a cent!

We later found out that other routes have a fairly hefty fee, but not this way (which was convenient as we didn’t have any money with us!)

The the more adventurous (but still easy) beach route

With your back to the Le Méridien resort (which was very convenient for us, as this was where we stayed), turn left just before the bridge, follow the sign along the sandy and then continue along the dirt track as it becomes a gravel road.

Do not cross the bridge towards the mainland.

Turn left before the bridge (with your back to Le Méridien).
The sign shows you where to go.
Follow this path as it turns from a dirt road to a gravel road.

As you walk along the road, you’ll notice a small path to the right, leading down to the beach. You’re able to take this if you like, walking along that part of the river (that’s the fastest way to get to the pool – more on that soon).

However, we continued on the main track towards the beach.

Once near the beach, you’ll notice some signs. Follow them to the water, then turn to the right and walk along the beach until you reach the river mouth.

Turn left where the signs signal you to go.
Head towards the beach and then follow the shore around to the river.
Walk along the beach, rather than on the land (which we later found out was private property).

Then, at the mouth of the river, turn right and walk up the river.

You’ll need to take your shoes off for the rest of the walk, but don’t worry, the sand is soft and comfortable to walk on.

After walking for 15 minutes or so, you’ll spot the Natural Pool ahead of you, at the elbow of the river. You’ll also notice the open ocean crashing in over the back.

Well done, you’ve made it!

What a spot!

The little beach here has some shady spots to relax and to tuck your gear away while you swim and snorkel.

You’ll need to go a fair way out to reach deep water – this is where you’ll find all the fish.

While snorkelling we saw a massive array of clams (purple, blue, leopard spotted – they were all there), clown fish in anemones, little triggerfish, trumpet fish, a moray eel tucked away, the biggest butterfly fish we’ve ever seen and even a little carpet shark tucked into the coral.

While it wasn’t the best snorkelling we’ve ever seen (and we’ve done a lot of snorkelling and diving), it was much better than we expected and well worth the effort.

⚠️ When we were swimming in April there were a few bluebottle jellyfish around. Keep your eyes on the surface of the water while swimming – if you see a blue stinger under the water, or a little bubble on the surface, give these jellies a wide berth.

The aquarium itself is nice and sheltered (unless you get close to the opening to the sea, where the snorkelling isn’t very good anyway) so it’s a great spot for beginners to have a go.

Pro tip: As you’ll spend so much time walking up the river, we recommend wearing jandals/flip flops for this walk. You’ll need to take your own snorkel gear and sunscreen too as there’s absolutely nothing to purchase/hire at this inland bay. If you have soft feet, you could consider reef shoes to help you get out to the snorkelling spot.

The fastest route to/from the pool

Remember the fork in the road that we mentioned earlier on?

About 5 minutes into the walk (from the bridge), you’ll see a small but obvious path heading off the gravel road to the right.

This path leads down to the river, where you’re able to walk a more direct route to/from the pools.

If you’d like to shorten your journey, you’re more than welcome to take this route…

Or, why not walk one way in and the other out?

If you’re staying at Le Méridien when visiting New Caledonia, we highly recommend popping over to Piscine Naturelle – with such a beautiful spot tucked behind the resort, you won’t want to miss it.

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