Hawaii’s oldest, most northern island, also known as the Garden Island for its lush vegetation and heavy rainfall, is the least developed of the Islands.
Captain Cook was the first European in Hawaii landing in Waimea Bay, Kauai in 1778. In 1835 Sugar plantations were established providing much of the Sugar to the Continental USA until the late 1990’s. Tourism is now the main industry. Kauai’s lack of road infrastructure is its blessing and curse. It keeps the area wild, but also creates a lot of traffic congestion. There are many long beaches in Kauai for surfing, snorkeling, SUP, diving etc. as well as some epic, wet hikes along the coasts.
Prince Kuhio, the last monarch of the Hawaiian Royalty was born in Kauai. The Hawaiian Royalty fell in 1893, became a republic in 1894, and a territory of the USA in 1900. Prince Kuhio became a member of the American Congress from 1903 to 1922.
Map (click on map for larger image)
We stayed at the Prince Kuhio Resort, in a room rented through Poipu Connections. Friends of ours own a condo there and they go there every year! They are managed by another rental company – Prince Kuhio.com. We paid $135/night for our room. Pretty good deal since this beach was a 5 minute walk from our condo, Koloa town is a 45min walk, or 10 min bike ride up the road. We snorkeled almost every day, or Lee and Adrian surfed or stand up paddle boarded.
5 min walk to
Prince Kuhio Rm 321 – View from the living area, and bedroom, bedroom and living area.
Our first day we rode our bikes to Kalapaki Joes for Happy Hour!
Our morning routine
Then on to the hiking
Another 20 minute bike ride away was the Hyatt, beyond which was Shipwreck beach and the Mahaulepu Trail Hike.
Then it rained.
Hanapepe is now the Art city of Kauai holding Art nights every Friday. It started out as the only town not controlled by the Plantations giving it a unique feel and history.
Swinging bridge of Hanapepe
Lee and I were going to go on a cruise of the Napali Coast but the boat broke down so we joined Adrian and Nancy as they hit some golf balls at the Kukuiolono Golf Course. A 9 hole course with great views!
Golf Course with best view
Outside our place was Prince Kuhio park. A small undeveloped park marking the location where Prince Kuhio was born.
Prince Kuhio Park
One of the hiking areas on the West side of the Island is Waimea Canyon. Considered the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, it is 10 miles long and 3000 feet deep. Carved by lava flows and run off from Mount Waialeale the lines in the canyon show different erosion events over the course of time. At the end of the road that follows the rim of this canyon is Pihei hike which affords an overlook of the Kalalau valley. The traditional hike to Kalalau is from Ke’e beach on the West side of the island. Intrepid hikers can hike to Hanalei Bay from here. A more realistic epic hike would be to the Alaka’i Swamp 8 or 10km hike past the Pihei Vista. Due to the immense amount of rain on this coast maintaining a road would be … expensive.
View of Kalalau Valley
Boardwalks on some places.
Each day we managed to get home so Lee could SUP and Adrian could surf. Nancy and I drank beer and laughed.
On the East side of the Island is Hanalei – where Puff the Magic Dragon lived by the Sea. There were heavy rains and storms here the night before so the surf was going off, not many people were out and the trails were very wet. All the rivers were very high. The Kalalau trail was closed, some people were still hiking it, but we didn’t want to be one of ‘those’ guys…
One of the big breaks.
One of the single lane bridges along the road to keep the big tour busses out.
Ke’e beach, the start of the Kalalau trail.
Lee’s catching waves and staying standing!
Allerton Garden Tour – A garden preserved by Rob Allerton who created this “Art” garden for his enjoyment and now for the enjoyment of everyone who visits. Each garden room has specific instructions for the caretakers to ensure each room looks the same in perpetuity. Each room is designed to guide your eyes either up to the canopy or to the sides of the room to successive trees. Since he couldn’t paint, he used the landscape as his canvas.
Lāwa‘i Valley. His house is down there. We didn’t go to it, just visited the garden ‘rooms’
Diana room named after the statue behind me. Note the eucalyptus trees behind the building reflecting in the pool.
Cascade room – note the reflection of the tree in the water.
Golden Bamboo room.
Moreton Bay Fig Tree, made famous in Jurassic park.
Again we make it back to Prince Kuhio in time to surf, SUP or drink beer and enjoy the sunset.
Guy with his kid…
Lee SUPs, Adrian Surfs