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Northernmost and oldest
geologically, Kauaâ€™i is the fourth largest of the major Hawaiian Islands. Nearly
circular in shape, Kauaâ€™i's land area encompasses 533 square miles: 25 miles
long by 33 miles wide at its farthest points.
Kauaâ€™i is known for its
abundance of uncrowded sandy beaches. Visitors soon
learn that mauka means on the mountain side of the road, and makai
means on the ocean side. With Lihu'e as the point of origin, it is easy to
explore the island by traveling to sites along its eastern and northern coasts,
then visiting attractions around Lihu'e itself, and finally traveling out toward
the southern and western coasts.
Kauaâ€™i is the most geologically
mature of the main Hawaiian Islands with extensive development of broad, lush
erosional valleys and coastal features such as sandy beaches. Spectacular Waimea
Canyon, at over 2500 feet deep, is Hawaii's largest erosional valley. Nearly 50%
of Kauaâ€™i's 111 miles of coastline is lined with beautiful beaches, derived
mainly from wave erosion of reef producing coral and algae.
mountains, cascading waterfalls, verdant fern grottoes, mist-shrouded caves, and
a lighthouse designated a National Historic Landmark. All around the island are
from Lihu'e, the visitor encounters green pastureland, lush valleys, and untamed
tropical wilderness. An area rich in history and legend, this was where one of
the first communities of Polynesians settled more than 1,000 years ago. As the
road turns west, tracing the island's north shore, there are historic plantation
towns and the resort of Princeville. The road then winds upward into the wilds
around Ke'e Beach and Na Pali Coast State Park.
The main road south
from Lihuâ€™e leads to an area of warmer and drier air in the approach to the
region called Po'ipu. The sun shines steadily on the populated, friendly
beaches. Condominiums and hotels line the coastline, and an impressive variety
of water sports is available.
Heading west along
Kaua'i's south shore, town after town of former plantations pass by. At Waimea,
a road skirts the rim of magnificent Waimea Canyon beyond which is the crisp,
cool climate of Koke'e, 3,000 ft above sea level. Sequoia forests and swamplands
are home to unique, indigenous birds and plants.
Kauaâ€™i's weather is nearly
perfect year-round with daytime temperatures ranging from the mid 70's to the
mid 80's, slightly warmer in the summer. The northeast trade winds provide
refreshing breezes. Rain showers usually fall in the evening and early morning
hours, predominantly over the mountain ranges. The temperature of the ocean
ranges from 68 to 80 degrees.
A Kauaâ€™i rule is that no
building is to exceed the height of a coconut tree (between three and four
stories.) There is a subdued nightlife on this least commercially developed of
the islands, and no opulent shopping malls. Instead, there is the beauty of the
unspoiled rainforest, the endless array of spectacular beaches, the grandeur of
Waimea Canyon, the drama of the Na Pali Coast and the spectacle of Hanalei's
4,000-foot-high Namolokama mountain range.
Kauaâ€™i is home to numerous golf
courses; including three of the top ten rated golf courses in Hawaii. The
exquisite coral reefs are teeming with multitudes of colorful fish. Snorkeling
is popular in the clear, warm waters of Kauaâ€™i's lagoons. Wildlife preserves
protect endangered sealife.
Kauaâ€™i has been a favorite
movie location for years. "Blue Hawaii," "Donovan's Reef," "King Kong" all were
shot on Kauaâ€™i. So too were "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Honeymoon in Vegas,"
Jurassic Park (I and II), and "George of the Jungle." The musical "South
Pacific," was filmed where the Hanalei Bay Resort now stands. A favorite
activity is a 4-5 hour van tour of the cinema sites, accompanied by commentary
and film clips.
The Garden Island of Kauaâ€™i
offers a warm welcome to all visitors. It provides a showcase of incomparable
natural beauty, unlimited recreational possibilities set within the framework of
the traditions and cultural heritage of the ancient Hawaiians. For a family
vacation there is no finer venue than the Garden Island of Kauaâ€™i This idyllic
island paradise embodies the true spirit of aloha.