On Kauai’s north shore you’ll discover some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. There’s the Na Pali Coast, whose cliffs rise 4,000 feet above the ocean. And Lumahai Beach, where Mitzi Gaynor ‘washed that man right out of her hair’ in the movie South Pacific. The north shore also is home to the quaint town of Hanalei, one of the earliest areas to be settled by the ancient Pacific voyagers. If spectacular scenery is what brought you to Kauai, viewing the Na Pali Coast will stir your passion to stay on this magical island forever. Emerald valleys, jagged 4,000-foot cliffs that tower above the blue Pacific, a host of caves, lava tubes, and beautiful beaches, make this area eminently worth exploring.
The densely jungled valley of Honopu was thought to be the last home of the Menehune and is often referred to as the “Valley of the Lost Tribe.” The beach in this area is where Jessica Lange eluded King Kong in the 1976 remake of the classic King Kong and Harrison Ford fled from pirate attack in 6 Days, 7 Nights.
Na Pali Coast
Cliffs rising as high as 4,000 feet are accessible along the beautiful Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast. Hiking, helicopter or rafting trips offer spectacular views of the region where many believe that the Na Pali spirits can play tricks on hikers and campers alike. Some historians claim that the Na Pali region was the first part of Kauai to be settled.
Ke ahu a laka Heiau
Located on a terrace above the boulder, this is a heiau that was part of a famous hula school in the area. Chanters came to receive the most advanced training possible. To test their skills, they walked across the smooth boulders at the edge of the sea and chanted their mele (chant). If their voices could be heard above the sounds of the waves and the wind, then their training was completed. Students are still brought here to test their skills.
Seeing Hanalei Valley for the first time is like stepping back in time. The taro fields that exist there today are much the same as those that dotted the landscape hundreds of years ago. In Hanalei is the Waioli Mission House, a preserved home and museum dating from 1837. Keep going towards the end of the road and you’ll reach the world famous wet and dry caves.
Famous for its spectacular beauty, Hanalei Bay is a long half-moon of sandy beach carved into the base of a sheer cliff on one side and narrowing into a rocky point on the other. The beach is a great spot for walking or throwing a Frisbee around. At the westernmost curve of the bay, you’ll find a calm shoreline where the water is relatively quiet even when most of the north shore is too rough for safe swimming.
Maniniholo Dry Cave
Maniniholo Dry Cave (Maniniholo means “swimming Manini fish”) is about 300 yards deep, and reaches to a small exit hole on the side of the mountain. The cave interior used to be larger than now, before a 1957 tsunami half-filled it with sand. To get there, go to Ha’ena Beach Park on Route 560. Look for the cave on your left.
Between Haena and Hanalei Bay is the most photographed beach on Kauai. Lumahai Beach is where Mitzi Gaynor “washed that man right out of her hair” in South Pacific.
This familiar peak can be seen from Ha’ena and is easily recognized as “Bali Hai” from the movie South Pacific. During special occasions, the ancient Hawaiians would climb Mount Makana and throw burning spears into the wind to sail across the sky and eventually land in the ocean.
Waikanaloa Wet Cave, Waikapalae Wet Cave
Waikanaloa (water of Kanaloa, a god) Wet Cave is, as its name implies, underwater. It has been explored about 100 yards in by scuba divers.The two
This is a famous movie location and excellent snorkeling area, located at the foot of the Na Pali Coast Trail. Kee Beach appeared in the popular television mini-series, The Thorn Birds
Waioli Mission House
Wai’oli Mission House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built of coral limestone blocks in 1837, its chimney was put in place by the Reverend William Alexander, the first missionary on Kauai. The house was restored in 1921, and is currently undergoing another restoration. The Mission House will reopen for tours after renovations. Wai’oli Mission Hall and picturesque Wai’oli Hui’ia Church (founded in 1834) are nearby. Call 808-245-3202 for more information on these historic treasures.
Some of the best locations on Kauai are some of the least traveled. The Kilauea area falls into that category, with a historic lighthouse, churches, and a wildfowl sanctuary waiting to be explored. Just down the road is Princeville, home to some of Hawaii’s finest golf courses, beaches, and a world-class resort.
‘Anini (stunted) Beach Park offers restrooms, showers, tables and barbecue facilities. Camping requires a County permit. About a mile down the road is ‘Anini Beach. No one seems to know why the two aren’t together in once place.
Hanalei Valley Lookout
Hanalei Valley Lookout offers one of the most famous views on Kauai. The valley is one mile wide and six miles long. Most of the taro grown in Hawaii is grown here. On the valley floor is a one-way truss bridge built in 1912. The bridge was damaged by a tsunami in 1957, and subsequently reinforced. Legend has it that the rainbow came to Hawaiian Islands from the bluffs just beyond the valley when a piece of brightly colored kapa cloth was thrown into a pool below Namolokama Falls, and its colors arched up in the mist.
The 52-foot Kilauea Lighthouse was constructed in 1913, and its beam once reached 90 miles out to sea. The lens is the largest of its type ever made. The lighthouse has not been in service since 1976. At Kilauea Point, you are at the northernmost point in the Hawaiian Islands. Open Monday – Friday 10 am – 4 pm, closed Saturdays, Sundays, Federal holidays. (808) 828-1413.
Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge
Kilauea is the northernmost point of the Hawaiian Islands. Surrounding the lighthouse is the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, home to an array of protected sea birds.