Chesterfield IslandsNew Caledonia, to the extreme west of the rest of the country (nearly 300 miles).
The many tiny islets of the Chesterfields are little more than small beaches stranded in the middle of the South Pacific. Inhabited only by birds and nesting turtles (of which there are indeed very many), all there is to see is wildlife, all there is to do is sun, swim, and dive.
Captain Matthew Boyd of Bellona named the reefs for his ship. He had delivered convicts to New South Wales in 1793 and was on his way to China to pick up a cargo at Canton to take back to Britain for the British East India Company when he passed the reefs in February–March 1793.
- , on the south an unvegetated sand cay Caye Est Bellona
- , Approximately 3 m tall sand islet, reported to be non-existent by 1988
- , 800 m long and 2 m high, lies on the Middle Bellona Reefs at the southern end of the Chesterfield Reefs and 180 nm east of Kenn Reef.
Not to be confused with Minerva Reefs, south of Fiji and Tonga.
There are numerous cays occurring amongst the reefs of both the Chesterfield and Bampton Reefs. These include: Loop Islet, Renard Cay, Skeleton Cay, Bennett Island, Passage Islet, Long Island, the Avon Isles, the Anchorage Islets and Bampton Island.
- , 10 nm NW of Loop Islet, is the largest of the Chesterfield Islands, and is 1400 to 1800 m long but no more than 100 m across and 9 m high. In May 1859 Henry Mangles Denham found Long Island was “a heap of 'foraminifera' densely covered with stunted bush‑trees with leaves as large as cabbage plants, spreading 12 feet (3.7 m) and reaching as high, upon trunks 9 inches (23 cm) diameter... The trees around the margin of this island were leafless, as if from the sea‑fowl." Although wooded in the 1850s, it was stripped during guano extraction in the 1870s and was said to be covered in grass with only two coconut trees and some ruins at the south end early in the 20th century. The vegetation was growing again by 1957 when the remaining ruins were confused with those of a temporary automatic meteorological station established in the same area by the Americans between 1944 and 1948. Terry Walker reported that by 1990 there was a ring of low Tournefortia trees growing around the margin, herbs, grass and shrubs in the interior, and still a few exotic species including coconuts.
South of Long Island and Loop Islet there are three small low islets up to 400 m across followed, after a narrow channel, by Passage or Bennett Island, which is 12 m high and was a whaling station in the first half of the 20th century. Several sand cays lie on the reef southeast of the islet.
Avon IslesThe two , some 188 m in diameter and 5 m high to the top of the dense vegetation, are situated 21 n.m. north of Long Island. They were seen by Mr. Sumner, Master of the ship Avon, on 18 September 1823, and are described by him as being three-quarters of a mile in circumference, twenty feet high, and the sea between them twenty fathoms deep. At four miles (7 km) northeast by north from them the water was twelve fathoms (72 feet) deep, and at the same time they saw a reef ten or fifteen miles (20–30 km) to the southeast, with deep water between it and the islets. A boat landed on the south-westernmost islet, and found it inhabited only by birds, but clothed with shrubs and wild grapes. By observation, these islands were found to lie in latitude 19 degrees 40 minutes, and longitude 158 degrees 6 minutes. The Avon Isles are described by Denham in 1859 as “densely covered with stunted trees and creeping plants and grass, and... crowded with the like species of birds."
- , Approximately tall sand islet lies northeast of the Avon Isles and is long, across and also high to the top of the bushes.
- Sand Cay elevation
- , which lies 85 nm farther north near the south end of the central islands of Chesterfield Reefs, is a small, flat, bushy islet 3 m high where a permanent automatic weather station was established by the Service Météorologique de Nouméa in October 1968. Terry Walker reported the presence of a grove of Casuarinas in 1990.
Anchorage Islets are a group of islets five nautical miles (9 km) north of Loop Islet. The third from the north, about 400 m long and 12 m high, shelters the best anchorage.
Passage (Bonnet) Island reaches a vegetative height of 12 m
- , lies on Bampton Reefs 20 nm NW of Renard Island. It is 180 m long, 110 m across and 5 m high. It had trees when discovered in 1793, but has seldom been visited since then except by castaways.
The reefs and islands west of the Chesterfield Islands, the closest being Mellish Reef with Herald's Beacon Islet at , at a distance of 180 nm northwest of Bampton Island, belong to the Coral Sea Islands Territory.
There is only one method of travel, and that is private yacht—there are no commercial transport options. Owing to the extreme isolation of these islands and to the lack of any facilities or amenities, a trip here can only be called an expedition.
Flora and fauna
Eat and drink
Plan to bring and/or fish for your food and drink.
There is beach camping, and there are your cabins on your boat. There are no other options.
The nearest land mass, aside from Grande Terre, is Australia—nearly 300 miles (480 km) to the west.