A few years back, our family took a cruise around the Pacific Ocean. We saw beautiful beaches with white sand and crystal clear waters but then we landed at the Isle of Pines at the southern end of the islands that make up New Caledonia and it overshadowed all that had come before. The island is populated mainly by the Kunie, its Melanesian inhabitants, and they protect it fiercely – it has become an indigenous reserve and the land is neither for sale nor for rent. It is rather unusual to see a tropical island with so many pines, and right along the water’s edge too. It has a few small resorts and a small shopping centre but is basically unspoilt and so delightful. The photos say it all.