Ponérihouen or the “river mouth”… a name that really suits this district occupying the land running into the waters of the river. It was the origin of the settlement of the Grande Terre by the Dui clans to the north and the Bayes clans to the south. A landscape full of history which unfolds from the metal bridge (nicknamed Eiffel!) spanning the river. Its picture has become an emblem of this district. Here the main asset is wood, and a sawmill uses all the raw material from the East Coast. But the district speciality remains coffee, which has long been planted. Several hundred producers have joined together to make production more professional. A research station has been installed to develop varieties, mainly quality robusta coffee. Several species are grown there, in the sun or the shade, and Ponérihouen coffee is roasted in Poindimié, in the factory of the East Coast producers agricultural group. In other words, quality counts more than quantity, the first objective being for New Caledonian coffee to take its place again among the best coffees in the world (Leroy Calédonien coffee was served at the Elysée Palace, under the presidency of Jacques Chirac). The district now organises a festival of coffee, yams and wood in August; you can taste the latest ground coffee and admire the wood products, while observing the sculptors at work.
In terms of walks, two trips in the region are not to be missed. The first, in the Nimbaye valley, leads up into the heights of the mountain chain to the Aoupinié lookout, going towards Téouti mission. The other walk is to Bâ waterfall, located between Ponérihouen and Houaïlou. The surroundings have been well laid out to welcome visitors, who can picnic near the water or jump in the waterhole using a natural diving board. The place is magnificent and very pleasant. The Tchamba and Népia valleys should not be forgotten either.
Location and access: Located 280 kilometres from Noumea on the East Coast, between Poindimié (29 km) and Houaïlou (46 km), Ponérihouen is nestled in a magnificent landscape of bamboos and ferns.
Tourist information: Mairie de Ponérihouen (Town Hall), tel. 42 85 02.
District festival: Yam and coffee festival at the end of August.
Gendarmerie: Tel: 47 89 35.
Dispensary: Tel: 47 75 30.
Pharmacy: Village, tel. 42 78 00.
Banks: CCP at the post office agency, village, tel. 42 85 00.
Post Office: Post office agency, village, tel. 42 85 00.
Service stations: Total, tel. 42 32 33 ; Mobil, tel. 42 85 28.