The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - THE BIG STORY TROPICAL ISLANDS -


DEEP canyons snake up from Kaua’i’s shores into the un­in­hab­ited and thickly forested in­te­rior of the Hawai­ian is­land. It was an ob­vi­ous choice for Steven Spiel­berg when he wanted to re-cre­ate the age of the di­nosaurs in his film Juras­sic Park.

Grand­est of all Kaua’i’s nat­u­ral won­ders is Waimea Canyon, 16km long and more than 700m deep. A scenic drive along the canyon edge takes in the spec­ta­cle of the val­ley, in­clud­ing the 240m plunge of Waipo’o Falls, but to truly get to grips with Kaua’i, take one of the is­land’s many hik­ing trails.

The Na Pali Coast is an­other cor­ner of Kaua’i that tends to the ver­ti­cal and in­ac­ces­si­ble, bar hik­ing trails of var­i­ous lev­els of dif­fi­culty. You can cheat a bit by tak­ing to the skies on a he­li­copter tour (sa­far­i­he­li­copters.com and mau­naloa­he­li­copter­tours.com).

East of Na Pali, the coast set­tles down enough to be­come the de­light of surfers, and crescent-shaped Hanalei Bay is a sight on its own. New­com­ers to wave-rid­ing can take lessons with out­fits such as Kauai Is­land Ex­pe­ri­ence (kauaiex­pe­ri­ence.com). Just re­mem­ber not to put too much on your plate – Kaua’i’s land­scape may be in­tense, but its tempo is the op­po­site. Get­ting started If you can forgo a beach­side lo­ca­tion, Ma­jorie’s Kaua’i Inn has mag­nif­i­cent views of the is­land’s in­te­rior (from $150; mar­jorieskauai­inn.com). Koa Kea Ho­tel & Re­sort is a high-end bou­tique ho­tel right on Po’ipu Beach (from $450; koakea.com). Jet­star and Hawai­ian Air­lines of­fer flights to Hawaii.

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