The native land of Jean-Marie Tjibaou, Hienghène is one of the most iconic districts of the North of New Caledonia, for within it lies Tiendanite, the tribal village which was the birthplace of the independence leader, assassinated in 1989, and which now contains his tomb. If Hienghène has conquered the hearts of travellers from here and elsewhere, it is also thanks to its impressive scenery, the preservation of its traditions and the development of its tourist activities.
This is one of the biodiversity “hot spots” of the “North and East Coastal Area” registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List, with its numerous islets, its lagoon to be explored with the local scuba diving club, and its land buffer zone incorporating Mont Panié, the highest point on the island at 1 628 metres in altitude and a centre of New Caledonian biodiversity.
Coming from Pouébo, the road winds along the mountainside by the edge of the sea; you pass the superb Tao waterfall, and arrive in the village from on high, brushing the bottom of Mont Panié. Before reaching Hienghène, you take a picturesque ferry that crosses Ouaième River (free), offering a magnificent view of the lush river banks and driven by a ferryman who constantly goes back and forth from one side to the other.
At the village tourism office, you will doubtless find numerous activities on land and sea, but you can also immerse yourself in Melanesian culture by staying in a tribal village, visiting the Cultural Centre or meeting Kanaks who will smilingly share with you a little of their traditional knowledge. The Centre houses a museum of Kanak arts and traditions and also offers entertainment and art exhibitions.
From the village centre, a road goes towards Ouayaguette tribal village: this uneven track runs beside a river in a dream setting… and visitors are so rare that they are always welcome. A bit further on, the road winds up high and takes you to the lookout, a splendid view extending over the whole of Hienghène Bay. From here you can see the famous and impressive Broody Hen. All around, the sea and the river mouth meet in a vast panorama. Then going south, the scenery is surreal, with the great black rock cliffs of Lindéralique, which overlook a sea tinged emerald green. Imagine paddling a kayak in the midst of the spirits of the ancestors. Magical sights…
Location and access: Hienghène is located nearly 400 kilometres from Noumea. But it will take you nearly five and a half hours to get there, as the magnificent Koné-Tiwaka cross-country road, then the road along the sea, pass through splendid scenery and many tribal villages, so you can’t drive too quickly.
Tourist information: Tourism Office, tel. 42 43 57.
Mairie (Town Hall): Tel: 42 81 19.
District festivals: Women’s day in March, tourism and the district festival in September.
Markets, craftwork: Market in the village every Saturday morning.
Gendarmerie: Tel: 47 89 80.
Dispensary: Tel: 47 75 00.
Pharmacy: Village, tel. 47 30 30.
Banks: BCI Hienghène village, tel. 42 77 10; CCP Hienghène village, tel. 42 81 00.
Post Office: Post office agency, Hienghène village, tel. 42 81 00.