Divers in main above_water chamber fresh water grotto huge limestone columns seem to support the ceiling Isle of Pines, New Caledonia
Auscape / UIG/© Auscape / UIG
The Grotto of Queen Hortense is one of New Caledonia’s most mysterious—and popular—sites. Accessed via a forest and lush tropical gardens in the Touété tribal area, the caves are physically striking thanks to a large, dramatic portal and plenty of lime formations and stalactites. But they’re historically fascinating, too: Their name derives from the revered Queen Hortense, who is said to have taken refuge here during a tribal conflict in 1855. A welcoming local lady that maintains the site shares the history with visitors.