Things to see in Ouvéa
Set off to discover the most stunning sites and the most beautiful outings on Ouvéa, the gem of the Loyalty Islands, registered by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. Don’t forget your camrea.
The Saint-Paul vanilla plantation
In Saint Paul, Evelyne launched into the vanilla adventure about 10 years ago and her plantation, Vanico, today has nearly 4,000 stems. The visit lasts about an hour. The owner offers for sale vanilla pods and vanilla powder,
for pastry or sauces. Along with Vanico, about 50 planters from the centre (Wadrilla, Banout, Hnyimaha) and the north of the island (Teouta, Weneki, Takedji and especially Gossanah) have formed an association, Bunen Hnyei Iaaï (perfume of Ouvéa). At a time when a Vanilla Centre is opening on Lifou, the association’s main objective is to best meet the growing demand for green pods.
In Lékiny, sculpture is an art handed down from father to…daughter. With Célestin gone to Tahiti, Marjorie (23 years old), who has been working in wood since she was small, took up the torch. She makes traditional sculptures
– doorposts, masks, posts, guardian figures, as many pieces as are found in and around Ouvéa’s traditional huts – and also more abstract, modern and personalised pieces, such as portraits or pictures. Exposed by the side of the road at the entrance to Lékiny tribal village, her work encourages people to visit her workshop. On Ouvéa, as you wander around, you will meet other artists who, like Marjorie, sculpt gaïac, sandalwood or coconut palm wood.
Saint Joseph Church
Saint Joseph covers Takedji, a tribe of Wallis Island origin, and Héo, whose inhabitants descend from populations who lived on the Beautemps-Beaupré atoll before the arrival of the missionaries. The Waleï Festival,
which celebrates a variety of sweet yam, is organised in Héo each year. At the entrance to the village stands the Saint-Joseph church (1912), famous for its vaulted ceiling, its pulpit made of kohu and its Christ sculpted in black kaori and draped in a manou. This large church with its heavy doors also contains attractive renovated stained-glass windows. In front of it, opposite the bay, a stele was erected in 1957 in homage to the Reverend Fathers Bernard and Palasie, who founded a Catholic mission on 12 April 1857.
Ouvéa atoll and the Beautemps-Beaupré islands are part of the six areas of the New Caledonia lagoon registered in July 2008 as part of the World Heritage of humanity. Ouvéa’s inhabitants have always been aware of the
incredible treasure their lagoon represented. This international recognition encourages them today to preserve it even more. A unique opportunity for all divers, amateur or experienced, to discover the many jewels of marine fauna and flora in a protected environment: green sea turtles, manta rays, humphead Maori wrasses, parrotfish, surgeonfish, sharks, and, on the external reef slopes, gorgonian coral, crinoids and other bouquets of alcyonarian coral.