The Garden Island
Fourth largest and the oldest of Hawaii's islands, Kaua'i is about 552 square miles in area and is formed from one massive volcano of which Mt. Waialeale forms the eastern rim. The main road circles the coastline with the exception of a 15 mile stretch at the north shore cliffs which is inaccessible.
Captain Cook came ashore on Kaua'i in January 1778 and was received as a god. Today, visitors to this beautiful island of gardens and rainbows are greeted in much the same friendly way.
Lihu'e, the capital of Kaua'i, still has few buildings taller than a coconut tree. Yet the island offers visitors all the ingredients for a perfect holiday including luxury accommodation, gourmet cuisine, a host of water sports, hiking, mountain biking, and even world-class golf.
Close to Lihu'e, the Alakoko (menehune) Fish Pond, which is reputed to have been built overnight by the ancient menehune race, lies along the Huleia stream which runs into Nawiliwili Bay.
Po'ipu, a leisurely thirty minutes by car south of Lihu'e, has been called Kaua'i's playground, for it has the best beaches on Kaua'i's protected by a necklace of offshore reefs. Just a mile from the resort area is sailing, diving, deep sea fishing and boat tours departing daily from Kukui'ula Harbour.
At nearby Spouting Horn, turbulent wave action causes surf to shoot through a lava tube and out a hole in the coastal rock. This geyser of seawater sometimes reaches heights of sixty feet and more.
On the west side of Kaua'i you will find what Mark Twain called the 'Grand Canyon of the Pacific'. Waimea Canyon, 3,600 feet deep in parts, with red and green vistas punctuated by waterfalls.
North from Lihu'e you can stop off to take a ride on one of the flat-bottom river boats which take you past lush scenery to the Fern Grotto. Here it is traditional to join hands for performance of the 'Hawaiian Wedding Song'. Further north past the Coconut Coast you pass by the turnoff to The Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge which shelters thousands of seabirds.
Near Princeville and Hanalei, made famous in the Peter, Paul and Mary song 'Puff the Magic Dragon', is Ke'e Beach. Close by are the wet and dry caves, prominent in ancient Hawaiian myths and at the end of the road is the start of the challenging eleven mile Kalalau hiking trail. Further south is Lumahai Beach made famous as the nurse's beach in the movie 'South Pacific'.
On the island's north shore the scenery runs riot - grey mists hang over the sheer Na Pali cliffs, crystal waterfalls tumble into deep valleys and overflow into the aquamarine waters. Much of this region and the island's interior cannot be reached by road, so a helicopter or fixed wing plane tour can give you a perspective otherwise unobtainable.
Kaua'i is called the Garden Island with good reason - flowers and foliage flourish everywhere. The National Tropical Botanical and Horticultural Research Gardens in Lawai Valley and the Allerton Estate Gardens in the north, are among the major attractions that showcase nature at her best.
Kaua'i's diverse scenery has lured film makers to her shores for decades and such classics as 'Jurassic Park', 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' and of course, 'South Pacific' mean visitors can occasionally experience 'deja vu'.
Also Kaua'i's slower pace and natural beauty make it popular with practitioners of the healing arts, giving it the reputation of being a special place for those seeking rejuvenation combined with a taste of the local culture.
Neptunes Pearls is the official Web site of Patricia Marsh, artist and jewellery designer of Kauai Island, Hawaii.
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KAUA'I VISITORS BUREAU