The central mountain range of the Mainland (Grande Terre) is a natural boundary, overlooking the very different faces of the East and West Coasts. Exposed to strong winds and therefore more humid, the eastern coast offers scenery with sumptuous flora. With a population of largely Melanesian origin, the East Coast has also retained a particularly charming flavour of authenticity.
While Mount Panié, to the north of Hienghène, is the highest point in New Caledonia (1629 m), it is the whole mountain range which grabs the attention of biologists and entomologists from across the world. The island’s largest forested area and wild nature reserve are home to exceptionally biodiverse wildlife. The importance and originality of New Caledonia’s flora and fauna in fact put the archipelago at third in the world in terms of the rate of native wildlife. 76% of species living in the country cannot be found anywhere else in the world! Mount Panié and its almost virgin rainforest are the best terrestrial representation of New Caledonia’s biodiversity‘hot spot’.