Sat, August 17
This morning we entered the sheltered waters of Nawiliwili harbour. The island of Kauai was unknown to us and as we have discovered many times on our journey around the world, yet another place to discover and enjoy.
Our driver/guide, Sam, whisked us off in his coach after a quick Hawaiian song accompanying himself on his ukalele. A fun and friendly guide, he moved to Kauai 25 years ago from the mainland and very proud of his island home.
We began with a long, slowly ascending scenic drive all the way to the rim of Waimea Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific “according to Mark Twain. It is 10 miles long, one mile wide and over 3,600 feet deep. At 3,400 feet above sea level, we had spectacular views of the crater on one side and the ocean on the other.
After leaving the canyon, it was interesting to see how the landscape changed as we drove through dense green forest. The scenery was incredible and at one point we stopped to look down into a valley so far below where people were rowing their kayaks down the river. So different to any terrain I have seen before. It was amazing. Our next stop was to admire the coastline and take photos of Poipu’s Spouting Horn, an active blowhole.
Along the way we saw the lagoon at the resort used in Blue Hawaii with Elvis. It looked so familiar but so sad, as the area was destroyed in a hurricane and the resort next to the lagoon was in a state of disrepair. Apparently the property has been sold and resold four times over the years, and it is hoped that the new owners will rebuild the resort to its former beauty.
Next stop was lunch in one of their many top class restaurants – delicious Hawaiian inspired food of fish, chicken and pork cooked in the traditional way followed by a dessert of fresh fruit and a type of coconut slice.
We then made our way to the Wailua River for the next part of our excursion – a riverboat tour cruise to the Fern Grotto which is a traditional wedding venue with Hawaiian music and dancing along the way and a live performance of the “Hawaiian Wedding Song” at the site. Then back down the river to pick up the coach and a quick stop to admire the coastline once more before making our way back to the ship right on our 4.30pm deadline for sailing at 5.00pm.
Lush rainforests, an arid multi-coloured canyon, cliffs that plunge into the Pacific, dramatic waterfalls and spectacular shoreline make this a very beautiful island and so worth visiting. No wonder it was the site for many movies which include Blue Hawaii Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Pirates of the Caribbean to name just a few. However, all this beauty comes at a price. Houses vary from around $200,000 for a fixer-upper to over $1M for a very nice one. Expect to spend $5-8M if you want beach access.
This small island is known as the “Garden Island “and the variety of its landscape is incredible from the mighty Waimea Canyon to the stunning beaches of white and golden sand in contrast to its rich red soil. It has world class shopping and dining and we enjoyed our visit so much.