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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.

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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.

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Thursday
Sep232010

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.