Literally translated, Ponérihouen means “river’s mouth” in the Paicî language, the local spoken vernacular. This name has been carried well by this town, which is settled on the land just before the mouth of the river. Ponérihouen is a village to be discovered – peaceful and authentic.

Historically, the tribal clans from the Ponérihouen region played an important role in populating Grande Terre. The Dui clans were responsible for populating the island to the north, and the Bayes clans spread south.

The “Eiffel” bridge: one of the town’s symbols

Nowadays, the symbolic image that seems to be attached to the town is the metallic bridge spanning the Nérihouen (or Naïriwa in the local language, meaning “river”). This bridge, which was constructed starting in the early 20th century, has long been nicknamed the “Eiffel bridge” due to its structural characteristics, which makes it look like the famous Parisian tower of the same name, yet it actually has nothing anything to do with Gustave Eiffel or his workshops!

With the exception of this bridge with a world-famous name, of course, the production of coffee has cemented Caledonian fame in the region of Ponérihouen. This is therefore one of the rare towns to have preserved this culture, while it has been more or less abandoned elsewhere in New Caledonia.

Pretty outings

Besides the wonderful living heritage, the region is also a perfect place for nice outings, two of which stand out. One is in the Nimbaye valley, winding through the heights of the central chain and accessing the beautiful panoramic view of Aoupinié. The other one will take you to the waterfall of Bâ, the surroundings of which have been recently renovated to let visitors fully enjoy the location. This excursion offers picnicking and swimming in the water hole at the bottom of the waterfall.

  • Nouméa Tourism Office
  • Opening hours: from Monday to Friday : 8:00-17:30, Saturday : 9:00-15:30, and Sunday 10:00-13:00
  • Telephone: +687 28 75 80
  • Email:
Ponérihouen in the East coast of New Caledonia
Practical information

Celebrating the tradition of coffee production, a cultural and coffee farming festival (also celebrating yams, taro and wood, the other local specialties) is held every year in July/August in the town. This is a perfect occasion to sample the latest brews of local coffee or to observe delicate wood sculptures with artists abounding in the region. Besides the artists on site, a sawmill is actually set up to process reputed woods such as houp, kaori and tamanou.

Discover the must-sees in Ponérihouen

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