A short flight from Australia, New Caledonia offers a wonderful winter escape. Its diverse beaches, rocky capes, varied forests, rivers and waterfalls can be explored on easy to moderate day walks. Our excursions over much of Grand Terre, the main island, are framed with a backdrop of the World Heritage protected lagoon. After meeting in Noumea, we travel north to Parc des Grandes Fougères for short walks. This 4500ha tropical forest protects giant ferns, New Caledonian Araucaria and birds such as the Cagou, Notou and Green Pigeon. Further north we walk to a viewpoint overlooking the Heart of Voh in the surrounding mangroves. On the east coast, we photograph the limestone islets of Hienghene and enjoy a riverside picnic lunch. Crossing back to the central west coast, we take a hill walk and an eco-tour across the lagoon to Green Island. With luck, we may spot turtles or dugong frolicking in the bay. Returning to the south near Noumea, we stroll along the Dumbea River valley, walk to Madeleine waterfalls and visit Cap N’Dua humpback whale observatory. A day at Blue River National Park and time exploring Noumea’s markets, old suburbs, gardens and aquarium complete our 15 day journey.