Fly over the heart of Voh and the mangrove swamps overlooking the New Caledonian lagoon.Heart of Voh
©Heart of Voh|Ben Thouard - The Explorers

The Heart of Voh

Have you ever seen the captivating natural heart-shaped formation nestled within a mangrove? This unique wonder, known as the Heart of Voh, is situated in Voh, in the northwest of New Caledonia. It gained worldwide recognition when renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand featured it on the cover of his book “Earth from Above.” Now, you can fulfil your dream of witnessing this natural masterpiece firsthand. Whether by air, on foot, or via a 4×4 adventure, accessing this site is not only convenient but also awe-inspiring. During your visit to Northern Caledonia, delve into the rich cultural and natural heritage of this authentic region. As is often the case in New Caledonia, you may find yourself alone at this site, making it a perfect destination for photographers.

The Heart of Voh site is open to the public and offers free access. However, public transportation doesn’t extend to this remote location, so renting a car is advisable unless you opt for a personalised guided tour. From Nouméa, prepare for a scenic drive of just under 4 hours covering approximately 300 km. Once you reach the commune of Koné, several options await you to reach the Heart of Voh. While a microlight or gyrocopter flight from Koné aerodrome offers a remarkable experience, you can also access the site via a 4×4 (either guided or self-driven) or embark on a hiking adventure to reach a promontory 700 m above sea level.

  • If you choose a gyrocopter adventure, ensure you empty your pockets and secure your camera with a wrist strap to prevent mishaps during the flight.
  • Prior to your visit, check the weather forecast, as optimal visibility of the mangrove’s heart relies on sunny conditions.
  • For the best viewing experience, consider starting your day early.

1. Hike to Mount Kathépaïk

For the adventurous, this challenging hike is ideal for taking in the Heart of Voh. The journey to the top of Mont Kathépaïk takes approximately 2.5 hours, offering breathtaking views of the mangrove’s heart, surrounded by the striking landscape of red laterite soil, mountains, and the lagoon. Ensure you find your bearings using the two rivers, positioning the Heart directly in front of you. The panorama encompasses the Téméla tribe, the Duroc pass along the sea, and the Koniambo massif to the east. A midway platform at 400 m altitude provides a stunning vista for those who prefer a less strenuous ascent. Alternatively, explore the site from the comfort of a 4×4, whether guided or self-driven, with the assistance of a local specialist.

2. Microlight flight over the Heart of Voh

Soar over the Heart of Voh for an extraordinary experience that delivers an exhilarating sense of freedom and an array of emotions. Some even seize this opportunity for mid-air proposals. To embark on this unforgettable adventure, depart from Koné aerodrome. A 45-minute flight, costing just under 20,000 XPF, provides the most captivating view of the Heart, reminiscent of Yann-Arthus Bertrand’s iconic 1990 photograph. A gyrocopter offers an open cockpit and the ability to hover in flight, offering a breathtaking panorama of the lagoon, coral reef, Oundjo’s blue hole, and the renowned mangrove formation.

Sarah Caledonian DreamSarah Caledonian Dream
©Sarah Caledonian Dream

That flight over the Heart of Voh was incredible! It’s one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. Just thinking about it brings back all the sensations and emotions and makes me want to cry.

Sarah Diawara, Caledonian Dream season 2

3. Visit the Voh coffee eco-museum

Located near the Heart of Voh site in the village centre, the Voh coffee eco-museum unveils the history of this region, which was colonised in the late 19th century and played a pivotal role in coffee cultivation in the early 20th century. The eco-museum, housed within historical buildings, is curated by a dynamic heritage preservation association. Visitors can explore temporary exhibitions, partake in arabica coffee tastings, and browse a selection of products in the museum’s store.

4. Fly over the Oundjo blue hole

Departing from Koné airport, embark on another exceptional adventure: a flight over the Oundjo blue hole. This natural basin, with a depth of 200 metres, is a protected site and off-limits to approach. Nevertheless, witnessing it from above, either by microlight or gyrocopter, offers the only opportunity to discover its beauty. The Gatope lagoon, which houses the blue hole, is teeming with diverse marine life. On a clear day, you may spot manta rays, eagle rays, sharks, turtles, and dugongs (sea cows), not to mention the captivating coral reef surrounding the Gatope reef.

5. Explore the mangrove

The Heart of Voh is an enchanting clearing within the mangrove swamp. As you wander along its edges, you’ll encounter a unique type of forest—part terrestrial and part aquatic—that thrives in tropical muddy soils. During your exploration, you’ll encounter various salt-tolerant plants, including mangroves.