Just had a fabulous mid-winter trip to New Caledonia, where we did four dives and numerous snorkelling trips. The water is 23 degrees and visibility is amazing. The highlights were seeing manta rays, such amazing gentle giants. But everything was stunning - apparently the lagoon, with the second-longest coral reef in the world, has 2700 different species of fish. If ever you want a fabulous dive, head over there. Very accessible, only a 3-hour flight. Yes, they do speak French but we had no problem as most people also have at least some English. And it is expensive compared to the other pacific islands but prices for food, restaurants, car hire etc was pretty comparable to Auckland prices. We went out with Alize dive (www.alizedive.com/eng
) and they were fantastic. New gear in perfect order, excellent dive masters and willing to accomodate your requests. We will be back!