Nestling in the mountain chain between the East and West Coasts, Ouégoa is a picturesque village that lives on stockbreeding and agriculture, especially bananas, as in Pouébo. This fruit is closely associated with these two localities which cultivate and improve it in their two ripening rooms before sending it to the Noumea market.
Ouégoa also has the longest river in New Caledonia, the Diahot. Its mouth is majestic and calm. Sailing on it in organised excursions, you can take your time in experiencing and admiring this unusual landscape: the ocre and pink of the mines, the luxuriant vegetation along the river banks, the views of the sea. For hikers, there are several sites with superb lookouts towards Pam Islet and beyond Balabio Island.
Here the atmosphere is 200% authentic. There is no fuss in this village which brings together several communities who have not always had an easy life. At the end of the 19th century, Ouégoa was the largest mining village in the country. Pioneers came here looking for gold, particularly at the Fern Hill mine, but discovered copper instead. A fascinating, tough and painful history unfolded here on the banks of the Diahot. On the left bank, copper ore was extracted at the Pilou mine, then barges crossed the river as far as Pam, where a plant transformed the ore into metal, until 1905. Today, all that is left behind are remains buried beneath vegetation that has taken over once again.
Location and access: 403 km from Noumea (about 4.75 hours by road).
Tourist information: Mairie de Ouégoa (Town Hall), tourist information centre, tel. 47 64 05.
District festival: Diahot festival at the start of May.
Gendarmerie: Ouégoa village, tel. 47 89 60.
Dispensary: Tel: 47 74 80.
Pharmacy: Tel: 42 78 74.
Banks: CCP Ouégoa village, tel. 47 64 00.
Post Office: Post office agency, Ouégoa village, tel. 47 64 00.
Service stations: Shell Ouégoa, tel. 47 60 75.