New Caledonia is a group of independent islands, islets and small archipelagos spread out between the Pacific Ocean and the Coral Sea. The closest main landmass may be Australia, but New Caledonia is a French Overseas Territory and French is the official language there. While it is geographically isolated and many of the islands remain uninhabited, Gran Terre, where Nouméa the capital is located, isn’t. Thirty kilometers off the shores of Grand Terre is the New Caledonian Barrier Reef. The unique reef structures are a popular and unspoiled travel destination for scuba divers and snorkelers who head there to dive and swim side by side with the dugong, a species of manatee, and other marine fauna.