Established at the end of the 19th century by settlers from France and devastated not long afterwards by cyclones and drought, Voh had its hour of glory thanks to its numerous plantations of arabica coffee.
Today, its role is basically agricultural, and stockbreeding properties are legion. The district has also taken up aquaculture: one of the two prawn-breeding farms in the North is on Gatope peninsula which is on the left as you leave Koné.
However, the district is getting ready for major change, as it will be the location of the Koniambo Nickel Plant, which will transform nickel ore into metal. Northwards from Koné, the Koniambo massif extends for more than 30 km and contains millions of tonnes of metal which will be processed in the plant. As well as the activity connected to the plant, all economic activity in the region will be transformed with the arrival of new inhabitants and thus new induced activities.
A natural curiosity has made Voh famous around the world: the famous heart drawn in the mangrove swamp, immortalised by the photo of Yann Arthus-Bertrand and which illustrates the cover of his book, “Earth from the air”. You can see the heart by climbing the Katepaik massif. But the best way is to admire it from the sky, for those lucky enough to fly over it in a plane or helicopter.
At the northern exit from the village, going towards Koumac, you pass the Témala Bridge, and the track on the right leads to the tribal villages of Temala, Ouélisse and Ouengo. The trip, recommended in a 4WD, is worth the detour. Very soon, as you go up into the mountain chain, crossing remote creeks, you have the impression of treading virgin soil. Some tribal villages have hiking guides.
Visitors can also relax on magnificent Gatope Beach, which has facilities, or on the beach at Chasseloup Bay. You can explore the Temala, Webanmouk, Congo, de Oué Pouamlotch and Chemin des Arabes rivers, along with the mangrove swamps located north of the village and the coast sheltered by the great Gatope coral reef. Be aware that access to the Féténaoué mummies site is taboo and thus prohibited.
Location and access: Continuing north on the RT1, Voh is about 306 kilometres from Noumea.
Air connections: Flights twice a week to Koné (Monday and Wednesday) from the Magenta domestic airport, tel. 25 14 00; Aircal, tel. 25 21 77.
Tourist information: Syndicat d’initiative (tourist bureau), tel: 47 27 68
District festivals: Triathlon in May; music festival in June; multicultural festival in August.
Markets, craftwork: Market in the village centre every Saturday morning.
Gendarmerie: Voh village, tel. 47 89 70.
Pharmacy: Voh village, tel. 42 48 01.
Banks: CCP Voh village, tel. 47 27 19.
Post Office: Post office agency, Voh village, tel. 47 27 19.
Service stations: Shell Voh, tel. 47 27 27 ; Total Voh, tel. 47 27 22.