The New Caledonian government says it is yet to decide if it will allow a small cruise ship to sail into the marine reserve of the uninhabited Chesterfield islands.
The company Ponant applied to enter the archipelago once a year with a ship carrying 180 passengers.
Environmental groups object to opening the area, which is about 500 kilometres off the main island in the Coral Sea.
According to media reports, dozens of people staged a protest in Noumea last weekend opposing the plan.
In a statement, the government said an environmental study has to be carried out before any decision can be made.
Ponant, which runs luxury cruises, was fined in New Zealand in October for running a ship aground in a protected area of New Zealand last year.