7 Ways To See the Best of Kauai
Welcome to the Garden Island of Kauai, Hawaii, where Mother Nature keeps her thick tropical plantings lush and green with constant watering. The summit of Mount Waialeale in the center of the island of Kauai is the wettest spot on Earth, with more than 480 inches of rain per year. As a result, the island is a bed of verdant forests and rain-sculpted canyons, some of which can only be seen by helicopter. Eighty percent of this island is uninhabited, so there are many natural wonders unspoiled by human habitation.
7 Fun Things to Do on Kauai
Fly – There are places on the island of Kauai that you simply cannot see except from the air. Do take a helicopter tour during your Kauai vacation! You’ll see the sheer mountain cliffs of the NaPali coast in the northwest corner of the island, where the beaches are pristine and isolated by a sheer mountain range without roads. See waterfalls hundreds of feet high plunging into the depths of Waimea Canyon, producing rainbows with their mist. Look down on the sharp ridges and eroded walls of Mount Waialeale in the center of the island. Flying over Kauai is an unforgettable experience, and may become a highlight of your life.
Kayak – Take a kayak tour up the Wailua River to a hidden waterfall called Secret Falls. The hike to the falls is about 30 minutes along a sometimes muddy trail, where you will cross a stream while hanging on to a balance rope. At the falls, you can take a swim or a refreshing shower in the cool waters.
Hike – The “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Waimea Canyon, is a spectacular sight as you are driving up the canyon road. Two lookouts along the way provide camera-worthy vistas of the craggy mountain ridges and the steep valley walls. At the end of the road is Kokee State Park, where you will find marked trails suitable for beginners and seasoned hikers.
Golf – There are 10 amazing golf courses on the island with breathtaking views and challenges like you’ve never seen before. The resort area of Princeville on the North Shore offers options designed by Jack Nicklaus and Robert Trent Jones, where the rough is lined with lava rocks and the Pacific Ocean and mountain ranges frame the greens.
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Zipline – The zipline tours on Kauai are simply thrilling. The zip line runs, connected by canopy sky bridges, soar up to 85 feet above the ground and take you over mango, eucalyptus and bamboo trees. See birds flying below you as you traverse between 200-foot high Norfolk pine trees, enjoying rainforest and mountain views. Ecology narratives are usually included along with all the safety equipment and instruction you’ll need to survive. (If you are afraid of heights, plan to spend this afternoon at the pool.)
Tube – A hundred years ago, workers dug a system of canals and tunnels to carry water from the mountains down to the sugar cane plantations. The sugar cane is gone, but the water canals remain. Hop into an inflated tube and ride the canal through mile-long tunnels and narrow flumes, seeing the interior rain forests of Kauai on the way. Be sure to reserve this popular attraction well in advance, and don’t miss it. (Unless you are claustrophobic as the tunnels can be worrisome for claustrophobics.)
Bike – Take an all-downhill bike tour from the top of Waimea Canyon all the way to the Pacific Ocean on stylish and comfortable cruising bikes. You’ll be dropped at the top with a cruise director who will stop along the way for photos and narrative about the culture, ecology, folklore and history of the region. After traversing 12 miles of backcountry paved roads, you will have lost 3,600 feet of altitude and be riding along the Pacific coast. This exhilarating half-day trip is completely downhill and incredibly fun.
If you are here a while longer and run out of things to do, grab some sunscreen and go to the beach. You’ll need some time to relax.
By Kay D. Harrison
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