A traditional means of transport
The river has no bridge, the only way to cross its mouth is to take the last ferry to New Caledonia. Free running night and day 7 days 7, it allows the crossing in a traditional way.
We take the car on the floating platform and we are then guided by the ferryman who steers the boat to reach the other shore, towards Hienghène located 19 kilometers away.
This is a job that is passed from generation to generation. Three people take turns to ensure a continuous service of the Ouaïème River ferry. The quiet crossing leaves time to enjoy the landscape: the river in the middle of these mountains covered with thick vegetation is breath taking.
It is therefore strongly recommended to plan your crossing so as to perform a day crossing, to take advantage of the panorama in the best conditions. You can’t miss this if you go around the region.
The fact of building a bridge at that location was discussed several times in order to move to a logistics system more modern and functional than the ferry of Ouaïème River. But this place being considered as "taboo" and therefore sacred to the Kanaks, preservation wins the battle every time. According to beliefs, the ancestors would come to be reincarnated as fish at the mouth of the river.
A wild, lush region
Hienghene is located northeast of New Caledonia. This stronghold of the emblematic figure of Jean-Marie Tjibaou is still steeped in his memory.
What also characterizes this region and is worth seeing is its majestic landscapes. Mountains, rock formations, waterfalls, rivers, vast valleys, lush vegetation and unspoilt lagoon is so much beauty to discover.
Among them, the long coastal river Ouaïème for 34 kilometers through the Mont Panié (highest peak of New Caledonia with 1629 meters) and several tribes among which the one from Upper Coulna, before flowing into the Loyalties basin.