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WorldSouth PacificNew CaledoniaHienghene
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20°41.25′S, 164°56.96′E
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Local chartlet

Hienghene is a small, stunningly scenic, town on the NE coast of Grande Terre. It offers a small supermarket, pharmacy, laundromat, hospital, gendarmarie and an excellent local market.

The waterfront was set up to host passengers from cruise liners (which would anchor out in the bay), but this appears to be not happening at the moment. There is a good tourist information centre by the edge of the river. The small marina is administered from this centre.

The Centre Culturel Goa Ma Bwarhat is well worth a visit for an insight into Kanak culture. It also offers internet access.

Cruising the region

With care, it is possible to sail the entire east coast within the sheltered waters behind the barrier reef. The area is well charted and all charted marks appear to be in place. The SE Trade Winds blow consistently along this coast so that it is much easier to sail north along it than to head south.

Hienghene is one of only a handful of small towns on the east coast of New Caledonia where supplies can be obtained. There are none further north until the northern tip of Grande Terre has been rounded. The coast line to the north of Hienghene rises very steeply to the highest mountains in the country. High peaks and spectacular waterfalls are clearly visible from the sea. Traveling north, while there are several identified overnight anchorages (Pouebo and Balade), the next really sheltered anchorage is Baie de Pam about 48nm away. Travelling to the south, the next anchorage is at Touho, about 16nm from Hienghene. Touho has a small marina, a good sheltered outside anchorage, several grocery stores, a local market and a fuel station.


Submit the chart details that are required for safe navigation.

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Local weather conditions?

Sources for Weather forecasts:
Local forecasts are, of course, in French, but non-French speakers should find them relatively easy to understand. A very useful vocabulary can be found at How to Understand French Weather Forecasts for Sailors.

The main source of weather information for the area around New Caledonia is Meteo France Nouvelle-Calédonie. The marine section provides a 6 day forecast for the whole region, with details for each of the passes through the barrier reef.

Nouméa radio broadcasts the weather report in French on VHF 16, everyday at 6:30, 9:30, 15:15, 18:30.

There is a set of repeater channels allowing receipt of weather info anywhere in the country:

  • Nouméa area: VHF 26
  • Southern portion of the Grande Terre: VHF 28
  • Isle of Pines and the Southern Lagoon: VHF 25
  • Grande Terre North West coast: VHF 25
  • Northern portion of Grande Terre: VHF 24
  • Ouvea: VHF 23
  • Lifou: VHF 26
  • Maré: VHF 87


Popular passages/routes, timing, etc.


List Islands


Also see World Cruiser's Nets


Approaching Hienghene from the north

Approaching Hienghene from seaward, it should be noted that the barrier reef lies up to 12 NM from the land. Passes are wide and clearly charted, but are neither marked nor lit. Note that Hienghene is not a Port of Entry, but could be used as a jump off point or return point for a visit to the Loyalty Islands for vessels that have already cleared Customs.

Approaching for the NW or SE inside the reef is straight forward. All dangers are well charted and dangers near the edge of the shipping channel are well marked.

The entrance to the Baie De Hienghene between Ilot Nindio (The Sphinx) and Les Tours de Notre Dame (The Hen) is clear of dangers. A set of lead markers (white triangles) defines a clear track into the bay.

Vessels with a draft of more than 2 metres are likely to have problems with the entrance to the Hienghene River. In mid 2010, it was possible for a vessel drawing 1.7 m to enter a couple of hours before high tide, but the channel is narrow and requires care, despite the markers bouys. The entrance to the river channel is under the Belvedere (lookout). There is a very shallow sandbar (often breaking) to the west of the entrance. Follow the markers into the town. Anchoring is not permitted in the river (according to the Tourist Information Centre in 2010) and so you must use the marina.


Marinas & Yacht Clubs

Hienghene Marina and Hienghene River

There is a small, modern marina on the waterfront of Hienghene. It is administered by the staff of the Tourist Centre immediately behind the marina. The floating finger piers are quite short, so that boats more than about 10 metres long may feel a bit insecure in strong winds. Staff in the Tourist Centre advised that it was forbidden to anchor in the river, so the marina is the only option.

The marina has water and showers and is in the centre of the town, close to nearly all the businesses.

In 2010, a 12metre boat was charged 5700 cfp for two nights (including the separate fee for access to fresh water). This made it the most expensive marina in New Caledonia at the time.


Hienghene Bay showing a view of the Hen

Anchorage is possible in the Baie De Hienghene, except in northerly weather. A sand and mud bottom provides good anchorage in the lee of the Hen below the Lookout. This anchorage provides an excellent base from which to explore the Hen and its surroundings by dinghy. Note that an extensive reef fringes the area east and south of the Hen.

In anchoring here, you are also very close to the track to the entrance of the Hienghene River. While traffic after dark is unlikely as the navigation markers in the river are unlit, it would be prudent to show a clear anchor light.

Yacht Repairs and Services

Marine Stores




Fuel, Water, & Electricity

There is no fuel station in town.
Water is available from the marina for a fee.
Available in the marina

Things to do Ashore


  • The Centre Culturel Goa Ma Bwarhat is directly across the river from the marina and there is a small dinghy dock. The centre provides an insight into the Kanak lifestyle and history.
  • The Linderalique rocks are a very spectacular limestone formation just south of Hienghene. The surrounding waters appear to be an ideal area to explore by kayak or dinghy.

Grocery & Supply Stores

There is a small grocery store at the eastern end of the bridge across the river, a short walk from the marina.



Internet access was available at the Centre Culturel Goa Ma Bwarhat in 2010.


There is a laundromat in the commercial complex across the road from the marina

Motorbike & Car Rentals

Garbage Disposal

There are some bins in the vicinity of the Tourism Centre.


Transportation (local and/or international)


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)


Links to relevant websites.


Publications, Guides, etc.


We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit. Personal experiences?

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