If you’re into nature and like things green and love to hike, aloha and welcome to Kaua’i, known as “The Garden Isle” of the Hawaiian Islands due to its verdant landscapes, tropical rainforests, mountain ranges, and lush flora. The island of Kaua’i offers paradise to anyone who loves the great outdoors.
Discovered by Capt. James Cook, a British explorer and navigator, Kaua’i, 562 sq. miles in area with 66,921 inhabitants, is one of the eight major islands (aside from smaller islands and islets) of Hawaii, the 50th and most recent state to have joined the USA having received statehood on 21 August 1959. Six of the big islands are open to tourism; namely, Hawaii (the Big Island), Oahu (the Gathering Place, home to the city of Honolulu, the state capital and largest city),Maui (the Valley Isles), Molokai (the Friendly Isle), Lanai (Pineapple Island) and Kaua’i (the Garden Isle).
As Hawaii’s fourth largest and geologically oldest island, Kaua’i, which means “season of abundance” is famous for its scenic wonders from the sea cliffs of the heavenly Na Pali Coast to the grandeur and jewel-tone colours of the majestic Waimea Canyon. Besides, the Garden Isle is also home to the rainiest spot on earth, Mt. Wai’ale’ale (rippling water), the 5,149 ft. tall mountain situated almost in the centre of the island.
After a three-hour-20-minute flight from Vancouver to Lihue Airport, Kaua’i, it didn’t take us long to check-in at a 2-bedroom condo hotel with full kitchen (we shopped at the local market and cooked our own food) and laundry room, The Point of Poipu beautifully located at the ocean’s edge on the isle’s sun coast. Nine days of sunshine allowed us to discover and explore the island of Kaua’i at our own pace in a rented SUV equipped with a GPS.
Around Poipu there is plenty of free things to do. For a rare treat, we enjoy the “wahines” as they perform in an outdoor garden setting under the banyan tree the Hawaiian and Tahitian dances to the exotic sounds of pulsating drums that capture the spirit of Polynesia and its people.
Nearby, the “Spouting Horn” is a natural wonder to watch. During high tide this fabulous blowhole spouts a cascade of water that shoots up 50 ft. high from the small opening of an ancient lava tube with every incoming wave.
Located across are the National Tropical Botanical Gardens made up of Allerton & McBryde Gardens where we have a chance to see the diverse plant collections from throughout the world including native Hawaii’s rare native flora. Garden sculptures and water features abound.
At the Kaua’i Coffee Company Visitor Centre we learn more how coffee is grown, harvested, processed, and graded. With a snack bar, the centre offers free coffee samples of all varieties.
Our day is rewarded with a a “Puka Dog”. A must-do for every a visitor in Kaua’i is to savour the Puka Dog experience. A Puka Dog is an entirely Hawaiian-style hot dog! First, we have the Hawaiian version of sweet bread, then choose your slow-roasted Polish sausage or veggie dog, then the garlic lemon secret: mild spicy or hot. Pick your Hawaiian fruit mouth-watering relishes – mango, pineapple, papaya, coconut, banana, or star fruit and add Aunty Lilikoi’s passion fruit mustard. With this explosion of flavour we feast on the puka dog with freshly squeezed, ice-cold lemonade.
Next, we’ll be at the town of Lihue and South Side of Kaua’i.