A multifaceted island
Pristine beaches, rugged cliffs, lush forests and immense caves… Lifou (Drehu in the local language) features landscapes that are as splendid as they are varied. Friendly and warm, Lifou’s inhabitants will happily welcome you and share their traditions and cultural heritage. Here you will experience the very essence of the Loyalty Islands’ spirit.
Lifou is the largest island in the Loyalty Island archipelago. With an area of 1150 km2, its size is comparable to that of Martinique. The island features a great variety of landscapes waiting to be explored. Lifou’s natural beauty keeps enticing visitors. The coastline is rugged, outlining deep bays that shelter colorful wildlife. Contemplate white-sand beaches that contrast with cliffs carved in ancient coral reefs. Inland you will enjoy great hikes through lush forests that have grown in vast plains, where the lagoon used to be.
Ten thousand people live on Lifou and the island is divided into three customary districts: Wetr, Lösi and Gaïça. Traditions and customs are very much alive here. Celebrations and daily tasks (such as hut construction or agriculture) are permeated by tradition. Wé is the administrative center of the Loyalty Islands as it is the biggest tribal village. Located by gorgeous Chateaubriand Bay, Wé counts the island’s main commercial and administrative facilities. Lifou was officially discovered (and mapped out) by Dumont d'Urville in 1827. Rapidly, Catholic and Protestant missionaries flocked to the island. They fought to convert local populations, thereby echoing the more prosaic competition between the British Empire and France.