French overseas territory New Caledonia is fairly isolated, separated by 620 miles of open water from its nearest mainland neighbour. Because of its isolation, it is both extremely diverse and home to a wide range of native species. New Caledonia is like a little piece of southern France in the pacific; everyone's a Francophone, but forty percent of the population is indigenous islanders. Cosmopolitan capital Noumea wouldn't look out of place in Europe, with its quaint bistros, expensive shops, and the requisite Chinatown. This urban centre is a sharp contrast to the surrounding regions' more open landscape, which runs the gamut from rugged mountaintops to pine tree-lined white sand beaches.