Nawiliwili, Kauai

Philip M. Haggerty
Kauai is a truly beautiful island. There are two major areas to visit here. One is the Waimea area on the west side of the island, and the other is the Hanalei district on the north coast which is basically a seashore of reported beauty. The Waimea trip involves driving up a ridge with a beautiful canyon on one side, called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, and a series of ridges running down to the Na Pali coast on the west. We chose the Waimea trip, and drove our rental car west out of Lihue, the port town, on Route 50 through small towns on the south coast and then turned north. The road is actually an inverted Y, with two roads up joining together after a few miles. We recommend taking the 2nd, westernmost road up because it is much easier to spot from the road you are on. This road is Route 550 and is marked. There were low lying clouds which barred our view west to the coast, but about halfway up is a lookout point with a large parking area clearly labeled as the Waimea Canyon Lookout. This is a good vantage point for the canyon, and we enjoyed the view. It does look a little like our own Arizona Grand Canyon in terms of colors, We spotted a feral goat about 400-feet below us and could clearly hear his neighing in the quiet air. This lookout place is as high as the tour buses go. We drove on to the next to highest spot, Kalalau Lookout, which would have provided a view down to the western coast except that it was covered with clouds, a frequent occurrence probably. We then walked up a road to the east, closed to auto traffic, to the Puu O Kila Lookout, through drizzling rain. We could not see much and started back when we ran into two fellow passengers from Infinity. The man lives in Maui and was showing his girl friend around the islands. They were going to walk down a trail, so we went back for another look. As the clouds cleared away to the east and south and we could suddenly see all the way down the Waimea Canyon to the shore on the south coast about 15 miles away. Then, in just a couple of minutes, the clouds closed in again, and the view was lost. Of course you have to remember that across this canyon to the east is another range which creates the highest annual rainfall, over 450 inches a year average, on the face of the earth. We returned and where the road branched off, took the eastern route which was shorter, but provided a number of good coastal views. This is a tour to be taken if you have a chance, and can be done with much more freedom and at lower cost in a rental car. On the way back, and close to the main town of Lihue we stopped at a large Trading Post at a stoplight. This place also was a Museum for the necklaces made by the native Hawaiians who are the only residents of the private island of Niā€™ihau, which is located about 12 miles northwest of Kauia, and clearly visible on our trip down the canyon. These necklaces are made from tiny, flower shaped seashells found only on the shores of that island. They are extremely beautiful, but very costly, with some marvelous specimens in the museum costing up to $6,000.00; and standard strands starting at $150.00. Like our Navajo rugs, the museum specimens usually had the names of the makers attached. Despite the clouds we thought the Waimea Canyon trip was just great, and we thought Kauai was a marvelous place. Interested in becoming a travel agent? Follow this link to find out more. Home Based Travel Agent             

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