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I have to say that I enjoyed the Opaeka’a waterfalls much more than Wailua waterfalls. The view point is much better here, just walk along the short path. The Opaeka’a waterfalls (pic 1) are 61meters high and you can see the twin cascades fall smoothly while the whole area is full in green. The pool area at the base supposed to have shrimps so no wonder why they called Opaeka’a (rolling shrimp). Like in other waterfalls a small sign reminds us how dangerous is to go down there….
After seeing the waterfalls we passed the other way of the road. There is a scenic stop over the spot where Wailua river splits into north and south fork, the view from there is very nice (pics 2) and the there is an info sign:
The mountain ridges of Maunakapu and Nounou divided the Wailua ahupua’a into two sections, Wailua Kai, traditionally referred to as, „Wailuanuiahoano“ encompasses about 2800 acres of land seaward. Wailua Uka is comprised of more than 17,455 acres. Altogether, the verdant valley provided all of the resources and necessities to support the chiefly retinues, along with the populace of maka’ainana who cultivated the lands and provided labor for the ruling ali’i.
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I always thought of Hindu monasteries that are something exotic and far from the Greek culture and then I’ve heard about this one on the banks of the Wailua River here in Hawaii, a weird feeling visiting this monastery temple complex that covers 458 acres. It was founded in 1970 by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001) and has two temple the Kadavul Siva Temple where you can see the 2m tall bronze image of Lord Nataraja and the new San Marga Iraivan Temple both of them in south indian style. The second temple expected to be finished at the end of 2012.
The monks have a a strict daily program with several specific services and religious worships (to Lord Ganesha, Lord Muruga and Lord Siva). You can be there during some worships (especially if you are Hindu and they are open to any visitor) but you have to make an arrangemet before arriving there, they usually suggest to attend the 9am Siva puja in Kadavul Temple (90 minutes long). There’s no fee but as expected donations are welcome.
Check out the times too beause the temple is open to the public only till noon. Photography isn‘t allowed inside the temple but you can take photos outside on the gardens that has some interesting corners anyway. Pic 2 shows the Pua Kenikeni Mandapam that we wrote our problems on a paper and we burnt them away! Pic 3 shows the Nepalese Ganesha (remover of Obstacles and God of Good Timing) which is actually located just before the entrance to the path that leads to the temple area. As you walk on the path you will see the Indian Banyan Tree on your left (Hinduism’s symbol of strength and breadth) and the statue of Lord Shanmuga (a sixfaced God that guides the transformation of the instinctive ibto a divine wisdom through the practice of yoga). Then further up the path you will see the Temple Tank (a sacred pool with a statue of the child saint Sambandar dancing Om) and of course the Kadavul Temple.
The dresscode doesn’t allow shorts, short dresses, tshirts etc and yes they can provide you with wrap-arounds(sarongs). I noticed there wasn’t enough parking space but we left our car on a side street. You can also see the under construction Iraivan Temple.
Most of my information here is from their detailed leaflets (they even have a small map to do a small self guided tour on your own) and their site.Related to:
- Religious Travel
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Memorial Gardens and Lydgate State Park
We stopped at the Memorial Gardens on our way back from Wailua waterfalls. This cemetery was full of flower upon small graves of Japanese people. The worker seemed focus on his job but the sun was so strong that we could barely stand there more than some minutes. So, we just walked around a bit, we saw the statues and went back to our car.
Back into highway 56 we turned onto Leho Drive to check the Lydgate State Park. It is named after the name of a protestant minister that found the Kaua’I Historical Society and helped to protect several historic sites of Kaua’i. The Kamalani playground is the highlight of the park if you have kids, they can play in a play lava tube, crawl up a small volcano (7meters high) and slide from the other side. The facilities of the park (restrooms, picnic tables, drinking water etc) will help you if you have kids.
We relaxed for a while at the beach (which has a rock enclosed swimming area, actually a seawater pool) and hit the road again. The last thing we visited there were some boulders with carved petroglyphs on them. They are located at the shore and sometimes the flow of the river covered them with sand.
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Wailua river and waterfalls
Wailua river (pic 1-2) was always important since the ancient Hawai’i. The kings chose this area as their capital, I guess because it was a garden of plenty because the river gave them the water and the ground was fertile. So they have everything they need, vegetables, bananas, coconut trees and fish from the ocean.
Wailua river is 16km long and its source is at Mount Wai’aleale. 3km from the ocean it splits into north and south fork, actually Wailua means “two waters”. A good way to see/explore it is with a kayak of course, choose one of the lisenced companies of the area.
Wailua falls (pic 3) used to call Wai’ehu (spraying water) and they are 25m high. You can see a double cascade of water but the high presure of water turns them into one at the bottom. The last king of Kaua’i Kaumuali’i supposed to jump off the falls... There is a sign that warns that people have been killed because of slippery rocks. The photo opportunities aren’t that much here especially if you want to be part of th photo because of the fence that protect people from falling down the hill. If the falls look familiar to you you probably have seen them on the Fantasy Island series.
I have read about Menehune before we visited the Menehune fishpond. Actually, you can’t visit the fishpond because it’s private but you can see (and admire) it from the view point which is up the road. It is a huge dam that used to have three gaps. That was until 1800s when some Chinese farmers filled two of them so they could raise mullet in the fishpond.
The area was used for fishing since the ancient times when the Hawaiians were trapping fishes with wooden fences with slats across the gaps. The slats were used to trap the big fishes when they moved between fences. The pond must been there the last 1000 years more or less and that makes impressive the fact that the wall between the stream and the pond is 2meters high and 300 meters long. It was really tranquil looking at it…
The Hawaiian name of the fishpond is Alekoko (rippling blood!) because the legend says that Menehune people (a race of little impish people) tried to build the fishpond in one night by putting stones upon the request of the king Alekoko. They only said to him that they will do it only if the king would stay inside his house during their work. But Alekoko couldn’t stand the noise of the stones falling one over the other and went out so the Menehune people stopped work and washed their bleeding hands (because of the rough stones) at the unfinished fishpond.
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Lihu’e is the capital of Kauai and the only big city actually. It’s the commercial center and the main roads are always busy (it was the only place we noticed traffic in the island). The ancient name of the area was Kala’iamea (calm reddish brown place) but in 1837 Kaiki’oewa planted sugar cane here, moved the capital from Waimea and the first houses and a church appeared. He gave the name Lihu’e (goose flesh) to remember his homeland back on Oahu. The city grew up only after 1930 when the Nawiliwili harbor opened and 20 years the airport turned the small plantation town into a commercial center.
We didn’t spend much time in the city but the two buildings of Kaua’I Museum (entrance from Wilcox building, it was built in 1924 and was the first public library) that was opened in 1960 has some interesting scale models, exhibits about the locals, the monarchy period, the sugar cane industry etc It is located at 4428 Rice St and it is open 9.00-16.00 Monday to Saturday. The entrance fee is $10.
On the southern edge of Lihu’e is the Nawiliwili harbor where you can see the port (pics 1-2), the Kapapaki beach and the huge Marriott resort. We drove in some private dead end roads full of freighters. It happened by accident while we were trying to find Ninini Point Lighthouse (pic 3). It was built in 1932 and marks the north side of the bay’s entrance. It is 36 meters high with a visible light far to 17 miles. Although it was nice to see the jet planes above us (the airport is right next door) we didn’t enjoy the view because it was still cloudy early in the morning.
On our departure from there we passed from Ahukini Recreation Pier State Park which was build in 1920 for shipping needs but since 1978 is a huge area where many locals go for fishing.
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Snow in PARADISE !!!!!
One must do when on Kauai is try some "Shave Ice". Don't make the mistake of calling it a snow cone. Shave ice is a block of ice that is shaved on a machine that works kind of like a lathe, then the finely shaven ice is topped with sweet syrups. One of the best places to try shave ice while on Kauai is Shaka shave ice. right near the beach. make it your first stop when u land, about 2 mi. from the airport.
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Hike the Kalalau trail,
One must to do activity on Kauai is hike on the Kalalau trail. The Kalalau trail is in 11 mi. treck through the Na Pali coast: "the cliffs" 2,ooo ft. cliffs fall dramaticaly into the ocean. You dont have to hike the whole 11 miles to get an apreciation of the coast line. about a half mile up there is a stunning view of the entire coast.. Two miles in is Hanakapiai Beach this is a great day hike and the end of the road for about 99.9% of hikers. For the brave few that make it all the way they are rewarded with the Beautiful Kalalau valley which can only compare to the garden of Eden. And the untainted Kalalau beach. Plan on camping there. I recommend Near the waterfall the social gathering place. If your there in the summer hike to the end of the beach and swim around to Honopu you will not see a soul, and you will be blown away. Start out early once noon hits the parking lot is like a zoo, whith not many spots.
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Ke’e Beach is the end of the road in this direction. It’s the gateway to the Na Pali coast. Bring your hiking shoes when you visit as adventure and breathtaking views await. The trailhead for the Na Pali coast hikes is clearly marked. But bring proper footwear because the trail quickly becomes steep and slippery. You won’t be disappointed if you decide to take a hike on this trail. If you don’t have the time to do the Na Pali coast hike there are several places along the trail to stop and enjoy the view before heading back to Ke’e beach. The beach, itself, is a wide expanse of sand that is just waiting to be explored. When we visited there were hardly any other tourists in the area and at times we had long stretches of beach entirely to ourselves. The water didn’t seem terribly swim-able as the waves were gigantic and rough but our walk along the beach provided us with spectacular views of the Na Pali coast. Our visit to Ke’e Beach was one of the highlights of our trip. I only wish we had more time to explore.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
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Walking the beach
Walk along the beaches to see if a Monk Seal has come up to rest. Please respect these animals because they are endangered. They will be roped off by wonderful dedicated volunteers on the island. The seals come up to sleep on the beach after they have eaten because they slow down so much that a shark could attack them. They sleep on the beach and then go back in. One of my favorite animals on the islandRelated to:
I highly recommend going for a helicopter tour of the island. A lot of Kauai is inaccessible to cars so we chose to take a helicopter tour. The island is really beautiful.
We rode with the door off which was great because our pictures and view were unobstructed.
However I would not ride with our tour company again. The pilot was very racist, and he ruined our flight. We rode with Inter-Island Helicopters.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
Take a surfing lesson
There are several companies and locations to try surfing on Kauai. We asked around a little and decided that the north shore, at Hanalei, would be the best place to try. The beach at Poipu on the other end of the island isn't as big and the surf area for beginners didn't look as good.
Our recommendation was for an operation set up right by the beach at Hanalei, where the river meets the beach. They were extremely friendly and accomodating. While our teenager went surfing we used a kayak and went up the river. The Hanalei surf at this location seemed good for beginners, with long, fairly even waves. They surf close to the pier, so if you want to watch, you can go out and get a better view. I think this is great if you are sending your kids out.Related to:
- Water Sports
- Family Travel
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Makewehi Lithified Cliffs
Ninini Point Lighthouse
Pu'u o Kila Lookout
Kauai Coffee Company
King Kong Profile
Opaeka'a FallsRelated to:
- Family Travel
Live slack key guitar concerts
One of the beautiful experiences of Hawaii is the music. Island music is quite varied, with contemporary music that integrates traditional sounds and themes with music from the mainland and around the world. But on Kauai you have a great opportunity to hear weekly concerts of traditional slack key guitar by Doug & Sandy McMaster, who won the 2009 The Hawaii Music Awards "People's Choice Awards" in the Slack Key Category. They have two concerts each week, on Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoon. Each is slightly different, but both are purely the instrumental musical artform created by Hawaiian paniolo (cowboys) in the early 1800's.
The concerts take place in a relaxed atmosphere in Hanalei on the north shore of Kauai, with the backdrop of the green mountains and taro fields, and the sand of Hanalei Bay just a short distance away. It is worth a destination wherever you are staying on the island.
WINNER 2009 Hawaii Music Awards "The People's Choice"!Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Moloa'a Bay is a beautiful, gentle surf bay on the NW corner of Kauai. The bay is absolutely beautiful and is far from crowded. This is a locals beach! We visited this bay around 3:30-4:00 PM on a weekday afternoon, and there were only 4 other people there besides us. The surf is really gentle and offers great swimming--especially on the far right hand side of the bay. My 2 1/2 year old had no problems holding his own in the water.Related to:
- Family Travel
2373 Ho'ohu Rd, Poipu, Hawaii, 96756, United States
Good for: Business
7083 Alamihi Rd., Hanalei, Hawaii, 96714, United States
Good for: Business
It was a great place, good location. However, Kauai Coast Resort business practice is desired to be...more
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