On the East Coast, Hienghène is the ideal destination if you love nature. Nature has been more than generous to this region, which is known as the Cradle of the Kanak soul. Simply divine: Imagine coral forests and black-stone cliffs in the middle of the lagoon, impressive waterfalls and lush vegetation. Hienghène is exoticism at its purest.

For Caledonians and tourists alike, Hienghène is surely one of the emblematic towns of New Caledonia. It includes many jewels for visitors: the Poule Couveuse, the waterfall of Tao and even the rocks at Lindéralique are all listed high in tourism guides that boast about the beauties of New Caledonia. And there are many more!

As a top biodiversity spot, Hienghène actually is doubly biodiverse! Its lagoon is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and two protected marine areas, Hienga and Doïman, were created to protect this zone. The diving spots off the shore of the town are also some of the most beautiful in Grande Terre. If you go diving there, you’ll perhaps be able to grab a snapshot of the very rare pygmy seahorse. 

The Hienghène Lagoon 

It's time to put on your diving gear and embark on a day at sea with Babou Côté Ocean, setting for the lagoon from the Koulnoué tribe. Those who have never done scuba diving can become initiated to this. For children, with a guide, flippers, mask and snorkel, you can take the marked water trail of the Hienga islet, just fifteen minutes from the Grande Terre. 

Hienghène's Cathedral 

Do not look for it on the side of the road! This is a true forest of corals. This place, called "Cathedral", sheltered by the Doïman reef, is one of the most beautiful diving spots in New Caledonia. At Cathedral, corals are intact and the depths impressive. For experienced divers, still in the company of the Babou Côté Océan diving centre. 

A “Laying Hen” and a majestic sphinx

On land, the Mont Panié mountain, the highest point on New Caledonia (1,628m) is also a top spot for biodiversity. Dozens of researchers from all over the world come every year on study assignments to discover new species. Still, climbing it is still prohibited at this time.

Besides the famous rock formations of the “Hen” and the neighboring Sphinx, the village lets you gain access to the lagoon and black rock cliffs of Lindéralique. The village is also a starting point for several trails that lead to the tribes of Ouayaguette, Bas and Haut Coulna. The one leading to Ouayaguette is especially pretty. Rocky and following a river, it features dreamlike landscapes!

From Hienghène to the waterfall of Tao: a gorgeous journey!

And speaking of roads, you mustn’t miss the most beautiful length of road in all of New Caledonia. From the exit from the village to the waterfall of Tao, the road along the sea on the mountainside presents a grandiose landscape alternating between waterfalls, coconut trees and river mouths. The road also leads to the picturesque ferry on the Ouaième, whose luxuriant banks charm the eye.


Culture is everywhere in Hiegnhène. The village houses the Goa Ma Bwarhat cultural center, which provides an initiation to Kanak art and traditions. Traditional shows are also put on regularly.

In the Fwâj language, Hienghène (Hyehen) means “crying while walking,” so don’t be surprised if you shed a tear when you leave this splendid region!

  • Toursim office in Hienghène
  • Opening hours: Monday to Friday : 8h00 - 12h00 and 13h00 - 17h00, Saturday and public holiday : 8h00 - 15h00
  • Phone: + 687 42 43 57
  • Email: accueiloth@mairie-hienghene.nc
Hienghène in East coast of New Caledonia
Practical information

Of the various tribes in the town, the most famous one is Tiendanite. Nestled in the mountains at the center of breathtaking landscapes, this is where Jean-Marie Tjibaou is buried, the Kanak independence leader who was assassinated in 1989 after signing peace treaties with the loyalist parties then represented by Jacques Lafleur.

Discover the must-sees in Hienghène

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What to do in Hienghène?

The Hienghène Forest

To discover the lush surroundings of the town, there is nothing like horse riding. One afternoon is sufficient to enjoy a trek among tribes, an original way to explore the area. Go further and discover the Caledonian Massif on horseback, accompanied by Abel, an experienced and qualified guide. The trek takes place in the heart of the Massif, offering exceptional views. 

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