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Planning a visit to Kauai? We regularly add news and information about events, activities, and places to see on The Garden Isle.

About The Author

Sheila Heathcote has lived in Hawaii since 1986. She's a published author on the topic of Kauai and the owner of Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast.

Kauai's Sights, Activities, & Events


The Geologic History of Kauai

Kauai is 5.5-6 million years old. During that time, wind and water have carved away the original volcano to reveal layers of old eruptions – it’s like looking back in time. The brilliant red earth tones of the cliffs, softened by the greens and golds of plants, change as the sun moves over the gorge.

The name Waimea refers to the reddish water (wai = fresh water, mea = red) that floods from the canyon after heavy rains. Think about the forces of nature working over eons of time, building then carving away layer upon layer of lava to expose the interior of Kauai’s original volcano.

Kauai is the high-island stage of an eroding volcano. After this stage, the Hawaiian islands erode down to the Northwest Islands, which are uninhabited low islands and shoals extending 1500 miles beyond Kauai. These are now part of a newly designated wildlife preserve.

Erosion of the canyon walls has been accelerated by goats, now wild in Waimea Canyon. Goats were introduced to Kauai in 1792 by English sea captain George Vancouver. Hawaiian island ecosystems evolved without any four-footed mammals which have been extremely destructive since their introduction.

One of the best resources for understanding the geology of Kauai is Kauai's Geologic History by Dr. Chuck Blay.


Wake Up and Smell the Coffee - Kauai Coffee Company

Looking South from Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast are vast coastal acres blanketed with dark green coffee plants. The largest coffee plantation in the United States, McBryde coffee plantation, is home of world famous Kauai Coffee.  Kauai Coffee fields now cover 3.400 acres where where sugar cane was once grown. 

The Kauai Coffee Visitor's Center, located on Numila Road (Route 50, just past Kalaheo heading west on Hwy 56) is a treat for locals and visitors alike. Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, visitors may sample the many varities of Kauai coffee in the tasting room where complimentary coffee beverages can be coupled with tasty snacks. 

The visitor center houses a growing collection of coffee mills, tins, and other coffee paraphernalia. And a video explains modern coffee production. There is a small coffee roaster on site, which produces freshly roasted coffee, a large gift shop and a Coffee Bar that provides an assortment of beverages, pastries and sandwiches.

Guests are welcome to walk through the "coffee gardens" on a 20-minute walk along a twisty, turny path spiked with informational signs.  Kauai Coffee trees begin to bloom in February or March and by May, the fruit or coffee cherry starts to form. The fruit usually ripens by late September when harvesting begins. It is the seeds of the fruit, usually two to a cherry, that become the coffee bean. Nearly 4,000 coffee beans must be harvested to produce a single pound of coffee. 


Travel into Kauai's History - Kilohana, Grove Farm & Kauai Museums

Wondering what there is to do on Kauai on a rainy day? Plenty! Believe it or not -- there is rich island history and culture to be explored and several excellent locations to learn more about this beautiful island, its first inhabitants and the "newcomers" who changed the shape and history of the island of Kauai over the years.



 One of Lihue's most splendid structures, Kilohana -- the former plantation home of the Wilcox Family -- is a mecca of activity and points of interest all situated in one convenient location. A Rum Factory, an old plantation train tour through this working farm -- complete with picnic and fruit picking -- a five-star restaurant, a spectacular weekly luau, and shops galore can all be found at Kilohana. Call 245-5608 or visit the website at http://www.kilohanakauai.com/  Kilohana is located on Route 50 next to Kauai Community College.

Grove Farm Museum

The 100-acre Grove Farm site preserves the earliest surviving set of domestic,  agricultural, and sugar plantation buildings, furnishings and collections, surrounding orchards and pasturelands in Hawaii. This homestead was the center of operations for the developing sugar plantation and involved the relationship of family life, plantation activity, household work, gardening and farming which continue as a part of the experience of visiting Grove Farm today.

As the American Civil War was raging between the North and the South, young George Wilcox took a lease on a struggling farm located on the outskirts of Lihue, on the island of Kauai, in what was then the kingdom of Hawaii. The farm had been chopped out of a large grove of kukui trees and was therefore called Grove Farm. His vision combined with his education resulted in his ability to change this arid farm into a thriving sugar plantation. As the Civil War destroyed the agriculture in the South, it helped sugar become a successful venture in Hawaii. Sugar’s success was also favored by the Hawaiian monarchy as it was an additional source of income for it’s kingdom.

For a tour of Grove Farm or more info see their website at http://www.grovefarm.net/ or call 245-3202

Kauai Museum



 Located on Rice Street in Lihue across from the bank of Hawaii is one of Kauai's best cultural and historical treasures -- The Kauai Museum. Here, exhibits of all things Hawaiiana and historical are presented in aesthetic surroundings.


The primary exhibit of interest to those seeking an better understanding of Kauai’s history is called “The Story of Kauai”( two floors of exhibits in the Rice Building)
On the first floor, walk through a passage highlighting geological wonders of the island, its natural history, and the coming of the Hawaiian people. Portraits of famous chiefs from ancient times overlook beautiful examples of Hawaiian culture. Captain James Cook, traders, and whalers lead up to the second floor and the sugar plantation exhibits. Walk through our life-size camp house exhibit and discover the many people from many nations that came to make Hawai‘i their home. Kauai’s missionaries, sugar barons, schools, politicians and more make up the remaining exhibits finishing with Territorial Period and World War II. Videos about the island can be viewed in the Ruth Knudsen Hanner Media Room.

The Kauai Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM - 5 PM. For more information call 245 - 6931,


A Year 'Round Guide to Hawaii's Weather and Ocean Conditions

,What is Hawaii’s weather like in the winter? Not much different than in the summer! Year ‘round our daily temperatures – especially on Kauai – run in the low to mid 80s (F.) in the day time, and drop to the low and mid 60s at night. There are, however, subtle differences in seasons that local folks will tell you about, including “Kona” conditions, trade winds (also known as “natural air conditioning)”, cold fronts, and episodes of high and dangerous surf.

The most remarkable difference in seasons is marked by huge storms at sea that cause gigantic surf and huge waves in winter months on the north shores, and moderate to large swells on the south shores in the summer. 

One thing is for sure – and very different from most other places – is that a bit of rain will only last for a brief spell, or you can drive to another part of the island where it is completely dry! These localized weather patterns are hard to get used to, but  have faith! You may be driving along the island in a downpour one minute and in bright sun the next.

The southern coasts of each island are the driest parts year round. Also, consider that Hawai'i is geographically and topographically one of the most diverse places you'll ever find. The weather from one side of an island to the other varies greatly over distance and the topography present. Out of approximately 28 different climactic zones in the world, Hawaii boasts 23 of them!

“Lee ward” and “Windward” weather conditions can be as different as day and night. Windward means the side of the island that the trade winds buffet first. Leeward is the dry side of the island where wind and rain rarely makes it across the central mountains to drop precipitation. Honolulu, for example, is on the leeward side of Oahu – thus weather broadcasts from Honolulu TV stations rarely apply to the rest of the island chain! While on Kauai the best bet is to call the National Weather Service at 245-6001. Very accurate.

Trade winds blow in from the NE and can occur all year long. They winds bring refreshing air and clouds to the islands from cool ocean waters to the northeast, and the clouds that build from this activity deposit their precipitation against the east facing high interior mountains. Generally, starting in September and October and throughout the winter months, large weather systems form close to the equator and approach the islands from the south. When this happens, trades die out and winds can be calm or begin to build from the humid southerly direction, resulting in very hot and muggy daytime conditions. These are called Kona conditions, and the crystal clear evenings during a Kona spell can bring some of the coolest nights and best star-gazing of the year.


Kauai Does Christmas with Lighted Parades in Lihue and Waimea

LIHUE, KAUAI --The 2010 FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS at the Kauai Historic County Building Park on Rice Street will begin on Friday, December 3rd and run through New Years! There is a fantastic Opening Ceremony from 6-6:30pm on the front steps of the Historic County Building featuring the Kauai Chorale and Santa leading a spectacular "Lighting Countdown" followed by the wonderful Lights on Rice parade at 6:30. The parade can be viewed from the Historic County Building Park.

This year the interior of the Historic County Building is under renovation so we will not be putting out our display inside but, with hundreds of thousands of mini-lights on the gorgeous Monkeypod Trees and the giant Royal Palms, the FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS in the Historic County Building Park will be dazzling! AND it is FREE!

WAIMEA, KAUAI- Visit Kauai's most historic town has been hosting Christmas events since 1786. British Captain George Dixon anchored off at Waimea aboard the "Charlotte" during Christmas. He ordered a Christmas dinner and a bowl of punch prepared in honor of the occasion. A pig was brought from shore and roasted. The day's ration of grog was mixed with coconut milk and the crew toasted friends and family at home in England.

In Hawaii, we celebrate Christmas with "Mele Kalikimaka", carols sung in Hawaiian, light displays, and Norfolk Island pines. We think it is nippy outside at 75 degrees, but it is all relative.

A brilliant wonderland of color and the spirit of fellowship are the hallmark of the annual Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade starting at 6pm, Saturday, December 18th. Come and spend the day. Visit our parks, beaches and hiking trails; browse through Waimea's shops, eat dinner and stay for the entertainment following the parade at Hofgaard Park. The event is free and visitors are welcome to join in this colorful community event. Waimea Town, dripping with lights, a brilliant wonderland of color serves as a backdrop to its annual Lighted Christmas Parade. After parade festivities include live, on-stage free music at Hofgaard Park, with free beverages, baked goods and treats provided by our many WKBPA member businesses. 

The parade, held since 1994, begins at Waimea Canyon Park and goes down Kaumualii Hwy to Ala Wai Road, it then turns mauka (towards the mountains) to Waimea Road, then back west to end at Hofgaard Park in the center of town. For everyone's safety, no parking will be allowed along the Parade Route and we do expect traffic into Waimea to be extremely slow. Organizers suggest finding a spot for parade viewing by 4:00pm. Parking is easier on the Kekaha side of town, so arrive early, relax and enjoy the fun. Many businesses and organizations offer food booth items for purchase along the parade route. Please keep children on the sidewalks during the parade.

Sponsored by West Kauai Professional and Business Association along with area merchants and businesses. 

 Note: Our original parade of 1994 consisted of a small collection of lighted fishing boats from Kekaha and Waimea, bicycles, a red tractor and a few walking units, and was led by our County Mayor and a fire truck. In 2009 there were 35 floats, boats, bands, and walking units, and our Mayor and fire truck still led the parade, as it passed through our fully lit "main street" of Waimea Town.

 Even if you can't make the parade don't forget to drive through town at this time of year to enjoy the Christmas lights. Waimea Town is the most decorated town on the island and every night brings additional delights. Stroll along Main Street and Waimea Canyon Drive to enjoy the spirit of the season offered by residents and businesses from dark until 9pm

Waimea Town Christmas Lights From December 5 - 25, 2010


Bambulei Vintage Christmas Event - Dec 4-6, Wailua Kauai


Hidden away off the main highway in Kapaa, is a fantastic vintage and modern day clothing and accessory shop called Bambulei. 

In addition to a variety of vintage items to wear, hang on the wall or feature prominently on a shelf, Bambulei is adding vintage Christmas to its repertoire and turning the shop into a Christmas Cottage for three days -- Dec. 4, 5, and 6, from 10 am - 5 pm. Located at 43-369D Kuhio Highway -- across from Kintaro's Restaurant in Wailua, Bambulei is set back in a tropical coconut grove.

The Grand Opening of this event will be hosted by antique specialist and interior designer, Liane Carter, who has scoured Kauai for vintage Christmas decorations and gift items. Adding her own special, personalized touches to these items, Liane breathes life and beauty into unique items for every home and gift list. 

Bambulei has been selling quality vintage and original clothing along with Hawaiiana and furniture, since 1996. Currently owned and operated by Valerie Ray, the inventory is constantly changing with unique and one-of-a-kind items. "I want our customers to look & feel good in our clothes & to experience an adventure in shopping at Bambulei," says Valarie. A favorite of locals and visitors alike, there is something for everyone at Bambulei.

For more information call (808) 823-8641 and check out the website at www.bambulei.com



A Birds Eye View of Kauai that makes Economic Sense

When I was growing up, my father, who was an avid adventurer, bought a Piper Cub and earned his instructor's license. In addition to many exciting family trips in our "puddle jumper" -- to the Bahamas and Nova Scotia, Ottawa and Quebec -- I also began logging flight hours as a private pilot. (Our second plane was a Cherokee 180 -- I loved the low wings!)

Dad would spend every Sunday at the Butler (Pa.) airport teaching for the Charlie Brown Flying School. When he wasn't instructing, he would pile the family in the plane and off we would go for the weekend or family vacation. What a great way to see the country! The time we went to the Bahamas, weather closed in near Great Abaco Island, and Dad had to do some low flying under the clouds to determine where we were!

It is no wonder that I recommend to my guests the lovely airplane tour offered by Bruce and Ellen Coulombe, who run Wings Over Kauai. In addition to a variety of flights, Bruce also gives lessons to aspiring pilots, including locals and visitors.

While helicopter tours are exciting, I have always preferred the feeling I get from riding in (and flying) a light plane. Views of the island are unrivaled, and you can see every part of Kauai that is visible from a helicopter.

Looking for something a little different than a standard Kauai flight tour? Bruce, a former executive at one of Kauai's seed companies, and Ellen, a naturalist and botanical expert, are the ideal folks to help you orient to the beauty of Kauai.

Wings Over Kauai tours invite you to experience a safe and comfortable airplane tour of one of the most beautiful Islands in the world. Choose from either one of our eco-freindly aircraft, the Cessna 172 or the GA-8 Airvan.

Their office is easy to find and located near the Lihue Airport's main terminal in the heart of Lihue. Bruce commences the tour over Ha'upu Mountain and the Kipu Kai region of the South Shore, zips up to and across Waimea Canyon, traverses the stunning Na Pali, then shoots through the center of the island -- so you can see places no one has ever stepped foot! The tour concludes over Kauai's stunning Wailua Falls then back to the airport.

For more information call Ellen at 808 635-0815. Enjoy!


Kauai's History in a Sink Hole -- Makauwahi Cave

The Makauwahi Sinkhole, the largest limestone cave complex in the Hawaiian Islands, is yielding an unprecedented look into Hawai'i's history, with a record of life that dates back 10,000 years.

The findings from a multiyear archaeological dig at the sinkhole have profound implications for proposals to reforest parts of the archipelago with native vegetation, since it shows that coastal forests included a wide range of plants long thought to be limited to upland habitats.

The site also reveals a rich array of bird life, and has changed the current understanding of what pre-human Hawai'i looked like.

Several previously unknown bird species have been identified from fossil bones. The complex coastal forest of the region has been intricately described from seed and pollen remains. Two species of plants — kou and hala — that were once believed to be Polynesian introductions have been proven to predate human arrival. There are signs of ancient snails, extinct land crabs and much more.

The impact from the arrival of the first humans in the Islands also is immediately visible in the cave's sediments. There are the bones of rats, which traveled with voyaging Polynesians, and evidence of the immediate collapse of plant species on which rats fed, such as loulu palms. Later there are fishhooks, pieces of outrigger canoes, charcoal from early imu, and other artifacts such as stone tools and a round basalt mirror. And there are human burials, which are being carefully preserved in place.

"You've got this continuous record, like a slow movie through the 10,000 years," said David Burney, a Fordham University professor and director of conservation at the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kaua'i. Burney, an ecologist and archaeologist, and his wife, Lida Pigott Burney, also are overseeing the reforestation of the cave and its environment with the plants that the evidence proves once forested the region. A partner from the earliest days of the project was the late Kaua'i archaeologist Bill "Pila" Kikuchi.

Charcoal remnants of an ancient Hawaiian seer’s fire can still be found in Makauwahi Cave on the island of Kaua’i. The work this diviner did, telling the future from curls of smoke, inspired the cave’s name. Makauwahi, you see, means eye smoke. And Makauwahi Cave, it turns out, is still informing the future of life on Kaua’i – at least botanically speaking.

Some 16 years ago, paleoecologists Lida Pigott Burney and David Burney began studying fragments of the past they discovered within the confines of the cave’s 400,000-year-old walls. David Burney is also the director of conservation, and the director of living collections, at the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kaua’i.

During their excavations, the Burneys found seeds and pollen from a rich array of plants that once lived on southern Kaua’i around Makauwahi Cave. Some of these species still survive on the island, but are vanishing as invasive plants take over their habitats.

In an attempt to restore the many different types of native vegetation that once thrived in the area around Makauwahi Cave, Lida Burney has commenced to re-introduce the plants to their former home. Seventeen acres surrounding the cave have been dedicated to this purpose. They make up the Makauwahi Cave Reserve.


Short Hikes from Hale O Nanakai B&B: The Coffee Fields

Walk to the end of Nanakai Road and take a left on Waha. Continue to the end where you will see a soccer field on the left. Just in front of a "Neighborhood Watch" sign there is a path through the tall cane grass. On the other side of the grass you will step back into time and view Kauai as it once appeared in the plantation days.

Follow the dusty road toward the ocean past neat rows of coffee plants, noted by their glossy green leaves and fat yellow to red berries. Wildlife abounds -- watch for ring-necked pheasant in the underbrush. At the first intersection continue down along a row of Cook Island pines but take the second dirt road to the left. It will dead end into a beautiful pond where ducks, (specifically native Hawaiian "coot" ducks), bull frogs, and snowy egret, proliferate. Follow the dirt road to either the right or the left and you will come to the other side of the reservoir.

These fields, owned and farmed by Kauai Coffee, follow environmentally friendly agricultural practices, and is the largest drip irrigation coffee estate in the world with 2,500 miles of drip tubing. This efficient drip irrigation system applies water and fertilizers directly to the roots of the trees, so there is no spraying or dusting of fertilizer.

During the harvest period, water from the drip irrigation system is used to wet the plant, where it is used in processing. Because the water is used only once in processing, it can easily be cleaned using a filter system and reapplied to the coffee fields. The cherry pulp and the mulch from pruning are put back into the land as soil amendments. In addition to adding nutrients to the soil, this mulch also serves to reduce weeds in the fields.

The company plants contoured plantings, hedgerows and diversions to mitigate runoff and soil erosion. The native forests and plants in the estate’s valleys and ravines are protected. The coffee crop is not subject to disease and insect problems that other crops experience.  Herbicide use has been cut down by 75% through cultivation practices, and this 3,100 acres of coffee is GMO free.



Tales of the Tempests - The Hurricanes of Kauai

Written in the wake of Hurricane Iniki, Tales of the Tempests, The Hurricanes of Kauai is an insightful look at the numerous hurricanes and gales that have assaulted the island of Kauai.

Kauai has been pummeled by four powerful tempests in the past 50 years. Each successive hurricane has increased in intensity. These hurricanes have affected Kauai's economy, its people and the future of the island.

Tales of the Tempests is a gripping account of man's attempt to cope with dangerous natural phenomena.

Like a tapestry, colorful stories and island residents' oral narratives are balanced with information about hurricane formation and meteorology, detailed history of hurricanes in Hawaiian waters, and local and national defense agencies that deal with wind driven disasters. 

Written by Sheila Heathcote, who is also the owner/manager of Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast, Tales of the Tempests , The Hurricanes of Kauai is available by mail order at $12.95 + tax per copy.

To order please send an email request to sheila.heathcote@hawaiiantel.net



Tribute to Queen Emmalani - Festival of Hula and Tradition at Koke'e &Waimea Canyon State Parks, Kauai

Since its inception in 1988, Eo e Emalani I Alaka`i (also called the Emalani Festival) has quietly become one of the most authentic and powerful Hawaiian cultural experiences in the State. Each year, kumu hula (hula masters) and their dancers help to create an event that has touched thousands, many of whom return annually to participate.

The outdoor event, held in early October, The Emalani Festival commemorates the 1871 journey of Hawaii`s beloved Queen Emma to these upland forests. By focusing each year on a diferent aspect of the Queen`s inspiring legacy as a humanitarian leader, the Emalani Festival affords participants and audience an opportunity to reflect on values of a great leader who took the land to heart.

Live Hawaiian music, along with historical displays, begin at 10 am and at 12 noon, Queen Emma enters Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow on horseback, led by her guide Kaluahi, represented by a local cowboy. Offering of dance are made by hula halau from across Hawaii. Hula groups from Europe and Japan have also jouneyed to Kauai to participate.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 9   10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow, Kokee State Park FREE


U.S. Fish & Wildlife - KILAUEA Point National Wildlife Refuge, Kauai


Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge’s dramatic backdrop of steep cliffs plunging to the ocean is one of the best places on the main Hawaiian islands to view wildlife. The refuge is home to the largest populations of nesting seabirds in Hawai‘i. Visitors also have a chance to view spinner dolphins, Hawaiian monk seals, native Hawaiian coastal plants and Hawai‘i’s state bird - the nēnē or endangered Hawaiian goose.

Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 550 National Wildlife Refuges managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. There are 9 refuges on the main Hawaiian Islands, with 3 of them being on Kaua‘i.

In 1985, the Kīlauea Point NWR was established to preserve and enhance seabird nesting colonies. In 1988, the refuge was expanded to include Crater Hill and Mōkōlea Point. The refuge is also home to the historic Kīlauea Point Lighthouse which sits on the northernmost point of Kaua‘i allowing visitors to view a piece of history as well as the many birds congregating around the cliffs.

Visit Kaua‘i’s National Wildlife Refuges during National Wildlife Refuge Week, October 10 - 16


National Wildlife Refuge Week

– Visit Kaua‘i’s National Wildlife Refuges during National Wildlife Refuge Week, October 10 - 16, and celebrate America’s wildlife heritage! Take advantage of this national week of celebration.



Come and discover hundreds of seabirds nesting atop sheer sea cliffs, enjoy ever-changing views of a valley where taro farming coexists with endangered waterbirds and explore Kaua‘i’s colorful past by visiting the famous Kīlauea Point Lighthouse during the week’s special events.

Built in 1913 as a navigational aid for commercial shipping between Hawai‘i and the Orient, Kīlauea Point Lighthouse stands as a monument to Hawai‘i’s colorful past. For 62 years, it guided ships and boats safely along Kaui‘i’s rugged north shore with it’s signature double-flash.

In 1927, the lighthouse played a key role in the first trans-Pacific flight from the West Coast to Honolulu by reorienting the two lost pilots of the Bird of Paradise.

In 1976, the Coast Guard deactivated the lighthouse and replaced it with an automatic beacon. In 1979, the lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Dedicated volunteers keep the lighthouse functional and on rare and special occasions, the Kīlauea Point Lighthouse lights the sky above Kaua‘i’s north shore.

For more information, please go to: http://www.fws.gov/kilaueapoint/


Kalaheo's Treasure Chest - Kukuiolono Park, Kauai, Hawaii

Kukuiolono Park is a haven for joggers, dog walkers, sight-seers and golfers. I place golfers last because I see Kukuiolono as so much more than a golf course...With some of the most spectacular views of the South Shore and West Side, Kukuiolono is unrivaled for sunsets, sunrises and spectacular scenery anytime during the day.

With several miles of wooded jogging paths, a perimeter road that leads to the clubhouse, a paved path to the picnic pavilion and a gorgeous Japanese garden, (where Walter McBryde is buried) Kukuiolono is the focal point of the Kalaheo community "makai" of the Highway. Not to mention the fact that greens fees are some of the least expensive on Kauai, and the clubhouse has a tasty snack bar, Kukuiolono is used for weddings and outdoor parties by renting the pavillion or getting permits for the Japanese garden.

Once the site of an ancient Hawaiian temple, or "heiau", the mountaintop was also used by ancient warriors as the site for signal fires where they would communicate with warriors near Mahaulepu that could warn about invaders coming across the channel from Oahu.


 Signal fires lit atop Haupu Mountain and Kukuiolono brought the King's troops from Waimea and Hanapepe where the island's largest concentration of population once lived.

Recent improvements at Kukuiolono include repaving of the road to the clubhouse, repairs on the jogging path where a water pipe had broken, and construction of a new "meditation" pavilion and regrouping of the historical stone artifacts located in the upper garden. Lava rocks that resemble fish gods, or were used to hide the King's priceless feather cape are on display along with lava rock "mirrors" that utilize rain water as a reflective surface.

New stone benches and landscaping with native species completes this beautiful setting which is open to the public 7 days per week from sunrise to sunset. (Gates open at 7am and close at 6pm but it is still possible to walk in after hours). 

At the current site of the Japanese garden, Walter McBryde's house once stood when he was the owner of the McBryde Sugar Plantation. McBryde now operates the largest coffee plantation in the U.S., which can be seen skirting below Kukuiolono like an emerald blanket.

Kukuiolono Park was Walter McBryde's gift to the people of Kauai. 

Items of historical interest that still can be viewed include the cast iron kettle, pictured at right, that was used by whaling crews when they boiled down whale blubber following a successful harpooning trip in the waters off Kauai.

For information about golfing, parties at the pavilion or park hours call (808) 332-9151.


Maha'u'lepu Beach -- The most beautiful place on Kauai's South Shore

(Editor's Note: This blog deals only with the Maha'u'lepu Beach area near the Gillian House and at the end of the gated, bumpy dirt road near the old quarry. A later blog will cover the Maha'u'lepu Trail the starts near Shipwreck's Beach at the Hyatt and traverses the calcified sand dunes adjacent to the golf course).

Mahaulepu’s name comes from a legendary battle that occurred in the 1300’s when Kalaunuio Hua, a Big Island ruler, made an attempt to take over all the Hawaiian islands. Kalaunuio Hua and his men paddled to Kauai, drew up on Maha'u'lepu Beach and began to form themselves into fighting order.Kukona, then ruling chief of Kauai, appeared on the ridge above the gathering. Kalaunuio Hua hurried to meet Kukona, but when he got there Kukona could not be found. Kukona, who now stood on a neighboring ridge, challenged Kalaunuio Hua which prompted a chase inland, further away from the beach. When the invading warriors reached Wahiawa (near Kalaheo), Kukona and his army attacked the tired warriors and defeated them easily. By nightfall, it was evident that Kalaunuio Hua had lost the battle and became a prisoner to Kukona. Thus began the historical distinction of Kauai as an island that was never conquered. The home on this beach was established by a Koloa Sugar Plantation civil engineer in the mid 1900s, Elbert Gillin. Destroyed in 1992 by hurricane Iniki, the “Gillin House” was re-built shortly after and continues to be owned by the Gillin family heirs.

Maha'u'lepu Beach is an ideal spot for walking, sunning, swimming, surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing and snorkeling. Monk seals often haul out on the beach after a meal and appear like big dead rocks with flippers and snouts. Please don't disturb these gentle giants -- they will bite!   

The best place to snorkel is at the bay area at the end of the road. Also, there are trails that lead further along the coast where you can stand on top of ancient cliffs where the waves explode in clouds of salt spray. The black mountain in the background is Ha'upu, the same dragon-backed ridge that is visible in Lihue, Nawiliwili and while traversing Kau'muali'i Highway (Route 50).


Kauai's Mokihana Festival Sept. 19 - 25 A Hawaiian Cultural Explosion

Once every year, in the Fall, a Hawaiian cultural explosion erupts from Kauai's ancient volcano with a week long series of events that range from Hula and chant to Hawaiian music composer competition, lei making, Hawaiian church services and concerts.

"Ha"--  Hawaiian for the breath of life--  is the substance that founder Nathan Kalama injects into this festival which is now in its 18th year on Kauai. A musician, composer, kumu, kupuna and kahuna, Nathan Kalama is the strength and endurance behind these colorful, enchanting events. For a complete schedule go to: http://www.maliefoundation.org/mokihanafest.html

  Hawaii's rich culture is mined for this week-long festival. Designed to appeal to locals and to visitors, the festival showcases traditional Hawaiian forms of music and dance. Three evenings are devoted to hula competitions, and a composing contest awards prizes for both Hawaiian-language and English pieces. During the day, festival-goers can take tours of sacred sites and of areas significant to the development of Hawaiian customs and traditions. Locally-produced crafts and food are available, too.  

With a mission to perpetuate Hawaiian culture, contemporary Hawaiian cultural events are held throughout the year coorinated by the Malie Foundation that include but are not limited to ongoing workshops supporting the annual theme Year of `Olelo Hawaii.

For more info about the Maile Foundation see: http://www.maliefoundation.org/