Lovely Hula Hands

SMITH’S TROP­I­CAL PAR­ADISE

101 Things to Do (Kauaʻi) - - FRONT PAGE -

1. PE­RUSE KILOHANA: THE LAST PLAN­TA­TION

Kaua‘i’s over 120-year-old sugar in­dus­try may have hauled its fi­nal har­vest to the mill, but what re­mains is a place where the vi­brant spirit of the era sur­vives.

KILOHANA PLAN­TA­TION is a unique destination that re­calls a time when “Big Sugar” dom­i­nated the is­land’s econ­omy, cul­ture and land­scape. To­day, it’s no longer a work­ing plan­ta­tion, nor is it a mu­seum or his­tor­i­cal site; in­stead, it is a vis­i­tor destination where en­ter­tain­ment—not raw sugar cane—is pro­duced.

Kilohana once was a sugar baron’s es­tate, and its cen­ter­piece re­mains a charm­ing man­sion dat­ing from 1936. Half a cen­tury later, the man­sion was con­verted into a restau­rant and col­lec­tion of shops. Since then, the plan­ta­tion has grown to in­clude a GUIDED EX­CUR­SION on a re­con­structed

sugar-era RAIL­WAY, a LU‘AU, a RAIN­FOR­EST HIKE and RUM TAST­ING at an on-site dis­tillery.

If a train tour is tug­ging at your heart­strings, Kilohana of­fers a de­light­ful TRAIN NA­TURE WALK LUNCH OR­CHARD AD­VEN­TURE and a LU‘AU EX­PRESS TRAIN TOUR & LU‘AU KALAMAKU pack­age, in ad­di­tion to its fun SIG­NA­TURE TRAIN TOUR. The Train Na­ture Walk Lunch Or­chard Ad­ven­ture ties in a lit­tle bit of all the great things the plan­ta­tion of­fers with a lot of . Your aloha ad­ven­ture will take you on a train tour and a na­ture walk with a guide through a trop­i­cal for­est, all be­fore you pause for a de­li­cious deli lunch with freshly picked pineap­ple. Af­ter, stroll through the or­chard for a snack—fruit you pick straight off the tree!—be­fore board­ing the train to head back to the de­pot.

The plan­ta­tion’s leisurely at­mos­phere is re­flected in the 100 acres of or­chards, farms, forests and gar­dens whose fresh sea­sonal fruits find its way from the farm to GAYLORD’S RESTAU­RANT, as well as the farm-to-glass cock­tails in the MAHIKO LOUNGE. En­joy Gaylord’s court­yard set­ting for lunch, din­ner or Sun­day brunch. A trip to Kilohana is not com­plete with­out dis­cov­er­ing the 10 unique shops lo­cated within the home and grounds. The mas­ter bed­room’s Cane­fields Cloth­ing or Kaua‘i’s own Koloa Rum and Tast­ing Room are both found on the prop­erty. Whether you ride a train, taste some rum, dine, shop or see their award-win­ning , you Lu‘au Kalamaku will leave know­ing you ex­pe­ri­enced a glimpse of Kaua‘i’s past. The plan­ta­tion is lo­cated off High­way 50 be­tween Kukui Grove Cen­ter and Kaua‘i Com­mu­nity Col­lege. Call (808) 245-5608 for in­for­ma­tion on Kilohana Plan­ta­tion or visit kil­hanakauai.com.

KILOHANA PLAN­TA­TION (808) 245-5608

2. STROLL KAUA‘I’S PRIZED BOTAN­I­CAL GAR­DENS

Kaua‘i is nick­named “THE GAR­DEN ISLE,” and for good rea­son: Kaua‘i is home to three BOTAN­I­CAL GAR­DENS be­long­ing to the NA­TIONAL TROP­I­CAL BOTAN­I­CAL GAR­DEN (NTBG), a pri­vate, non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion and the only of­fi­cially rec­og­nized trop­i­cal gar­den in the United States. This in­sti­tute is ded­i­cated to sci­en­tific re­search, con­ser­va­tion and ed­u­ca­tion, work­ing ev­ery day to pro­tect and pre­serve trop­i­cal plant life that is un­der threat of ex­tinc­tion.

NTBG’s gar­dens—two on the South Shore and one on the North— are open for pub­lic tours, the fees of which go to­ward help­ing sup­port the non­profit’s mis­sion.

Each prop­erty is dif­fer­ent, but all three rep­re­sent cap­ti­vat­ing com­bi­na­tions of to­pog­ra­phy,

ecosys­tems, cul­tural in­flu­ences, is­land his­tory and, of course, trop­i­cal flora.

On the South Shore in the ver­dant LAWA‘I VAL­LEY lie the Aller­ton and McBryde gar­dens. Ac­cess to the gar­dens is through the Vis­i­tors Cen­ter across from SPOUT­ING HORN

IN PO‘IPU, but the ex­pe­ri­ence for both gar­dens be­gin im­me­di­ately when vis­i­tors board NTBG ve­hi­cles for a ride along a spec­tac­u­lar coast­line and jour­ney into the val­ley.

MCBRYDE GAR­DEN is the flag­ship gar­den of NTBG and is known for its bio­di­ver­sity of na­tive and ex­otic plants. In fact, it is home to the world’s largest col­lec­tion of na­tive Hawai­ian species as well as plants from through­out the Pa­cific Is­lands and the rest of the trop­i­cal world. Daily, self-guided walking tours con­cen­trate on 50 acres that con­tain a va­ri­ety of plants and themes. Tow­er­ing palms, vi­brant or­na­men­tal flow­ers and fas­ci­nat­ing plant odd­i­ties re­side here, as does a “ca­noe gar­den,” com­plete with a tra­di­tional struc­ture that tells the story of how an­cient Poly­ne­sians brought plants to the is­lands in their voy­ag­ing ca­noes.

ALLER­TON GAR­DEN is a dis­tinct con­trast to the neigh­bor­ing McBryde Gar­den. Once a pri­vate es­tate de­signed with dis­crete rooms walled by plants with foun­tains and stat­u­ary, Aller­ton is a mas­ter­piece of land­scape de­sign and a nat­u­ral show­case for trop­i­cal plants, in­clud­ing its fa­mous “JURAS­SIC TREES.” Fur­ther back in his­tory, the area was a Hawai­ian queen’s re­treat, and some of her plant­ings still grace the gar­den to­day. Guided walking tours are of­fered daily. An­other of­fer­ing is the SUN­SET ALLER­TON ES­TATE TOUR, which de­parts at a time of day that is truly mag­i­cal and fo­cuses on the es­tate’s in­trigu­ing his­tory. The tour con­cludes with re­fresh­ments on the pa­tio of Aller­ton’s gra­cious bay­side home.

Full tour de­scrip­tions, times and on­line book­ings for McBryde and Aller­ton gar­dens are avail­able at ntbg.org/tours, or by phone at (808) 742-2623.

On the North Shore is NTBG’s third Kaua‘i gar­den, lo­cated on Kuhio High­way about one-quar­ter mile be­fore Ke‘e Beach.

LIMAHULI GAR­DEN can be found in a lush val­ley over­look­ing the ocean, pro­tected on three sides by craggy, moss-green moun­tains. Upon en­ter­ing Limahuli, vis­i­tors are awe-struck by the sight of an­cient taro ter­races that date back to the time when the first Poly­ne­sians landed on the is­land. These are back-dropped by lo‘i kalo the ma­jes­tic Mount Makana.

De­clared by Amer­i­can hor­ti­cul­tur­ists as the BEST NAT­U­RAL

BOTAN­I­CAL GAR­DEN, Limahuli speaks to Hawai­ian cul­ture, both past and present, and is home to a num­ber of na­tive and en­dan­gered plant species suited to a wet­ter en­vi­ron­ment, with some unique to the val­ley. A recre­ated Hawai­ian for­est gives all who go a chance to walk through a healthy ecosys­tem no longer seen in most of Hawai‘i.

Limahuli of­fers both self­guided and guided walking tours, and is open five days a week. No reser­va­tions are needed for the self­guided tour; how­ever, reser­va­tions are needed for the guided tour. Find de­tails at ntbg.org/tours, or by phone at (808) 826-1053.

Also on Kaua‘i’s North Shore is Princeville Botan­i­cal Gar­dens, an in­ti­mate Eden nes­tled in a lush val­ley. This 8-acre gar­den sanc­tu­ary is truly a la­bor of love; once cov­ered with in­va­sive jun­gle, to­day the grounds are home to the most di­verse pri­vate col­lec­tion of un­usual botan­i­cal spec­i­mens on the is­land, with na­tive va­ri­eties of flow­ers and plants, in­clud­ing species used for both in­dus­trial and medic­i­nal pur­poses.

Pri­vate guided tours are the only way to view the gar­dens, and ev­ery tour in­cludes an added treat— CHOCO­LATE! The Robert­son fam­ily grows and pro­duces its very own choco­late right on the prop­erty, and Princeville Botan­i­cal

Gar­dens is the only gar­den on the is­land where vis­i­tors can get a les­son in the choco­late-mak­ing process (as well as sam­ples of the deca­dent end-prod­uct, along with fresh honey and fruit!).

Full tour de­scrip­tions, times and reser­va­tions for Princeville Botan­i­cal Gar­dens are avail­able by phone at (808) 634-5505, or visit kauai­b­otan­i­cal­gar­dens.com.

3. GET CAR­RIED AWAY IN A HE­LI­COPTER

Although avail­able on all of the ma­jor Hawai­ian Is­lands, HE­LI­COPTER

TOURS are most pop­u­lar on Kaua‘i, where the age­less beauty of the is­land’s rugged in­te­rior comes into full per­spec­tive. Ex­pect to see wa­ter­falls cas­cad­ing down 3,000foot cliffs and unique geo­graphic and myth­i­cal sites de­scribed to you through noise-can­cel­ing head­phones con­nected to your pi­lot’s mi­cro­phone. In fact, the ma­jor­ity of the is­land can only be seen by air, so why not take flight?

One view that is a must-see is MOUNT WAI‘ALE‘ALE, a 5,148-foot ex­tinct vol­cano. The moun­tain’s crater-like val­ley is an awe­some sight, and one that can­not be fully ex­pe­ri­enced any other way than by he­li­copter.

Other pop­u­lar spots in­clude HANAPEPE VAL­LEY, JURAS­SIC FALLS, OLOKELE CANYON, WAIMEA CANYON, HANALEI VAL­LEY and many oth­er­wise-hid­den val­leys along the NAPALI COAST. Tours are con­ducted daily and are sub­ject to weather con­di­tions. Flight times range from 30 to 90 min­utes. Most tours depart from the Lihu‘e Air­port.

BLUE HAWAI­IAN HE­LI­COPTERS (808) 831-8800 IS­LAND HE­LI­COPTERS (808) 245-8588 OR (800) 829-5999 JACK HARTER HE­LI­COPTERS (808) 245-3774 OR (888) 245-2001 SA­FARI HE­LI­COPTERS (808) 246-0136 OR (800) 326-3356

4. FEAST AT A LU‘AU

Like Broad­way shows, each LU‘AU has its own sig­na­ture. Menus may be sim­i­lar, but the shows, per­form­ers, mu­sic and cos­tumes are de­lib­er­ately de­signed to be unique from one an­other.

The pop­u­lar and long-run­ning show at SMITH’S TROP­I­CAL PAR­ADISE is staged in a torch-lit am­phithe­ater on the banks of the WAILUA RIVER. It fea­tures mu­sic and dance with stun­ning spe­cial ef­fects, such as an ex­plod­ing vol­cano. LU‘AU KALAMAKU is staged as theater-in-the-round in a ren­o­vated car­riage house on the grounds of KILOHANA PLAN­TA­TION Tues­day and Fri­day nights. The airy venue of­fers com­fort­able seat­ing, and the food is pre­pared in the kitchens of the fine-din­ing restau­rant, GAYLORD’S RESTAU­RANT & LOUNGE. The per­for­mance traces the story of an an­cient Poly­ne­sian fam­ily’s epic jour­ney across thou­sands of miles of open ocean from Tahiti to Hawai‘i. Aside from its so­phis­ti­cated, avan­tgarde ap­proach, this per­for­mance seeks to leave au­di­ences with a deeper un­der­stand­ing of Hawai‘i’s his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural foun­da­tion, start­ing with the brave sea­far­ing ex­plor­ers who pad­dled ca­noes across the ocean.

Pro­ducer and cre­ator Hau­nani As­ing Marston takes tra­di­tional themes and styles, and then adds in­no­va­tive twists. The fire dance, for ex­am­ple, cou­ples a dancer with a troupe of fairy-like per­form­ers in daz­zling cos­tumes who jug­gle il­lu­mi­nated balls in a dream­like poi se­quence. An­other showstopper is a beau­ti­ful love song with ex­quis­ite lyrics bound to daz­zle— and catch you up on the sto­ry­line if you’ve lost track (the per­for­mance is mostly in Hawai­ian).

THE GRAND HY­ATT LUAU, held ev­ery Sun­day and Wed­nes­day at the vast Grand Hy­att Kauai on the South Shore, is an­other win­ner. The show in­cludes cock­tails, mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment and a scrump­tious buf­fet on a riv­et­ing jour­ney through Poly­ne­sia. Held on the ocean­front grounds of the Hy­att, the lu‘au’s breezy trade winds and drum­ming beats of Hawai‘i are en­joy­able for all.

GRAND HY­ATT LUAU (808) 240-6456 LU‘AU KALAMAKU (877) 622-1780

5. SCALE WAIMEA CANYON

Of­ten called the “GRAND CANYON

OF THE PA­CIFIC,” WAIMEA CANYON is a ge­o­log­i­cal won­der lo­cated along High­way 550 to KOKE‘E en route

STATE PARK. Ap­prox­i­mately 10 miles long and 3,000 feet deep, the canyon is only a frac­tion of the size of its Ari­zona name­sake, but its lo­ca­tion—carved into the lush land­scape of a trop­i­cal is­land—is unique. Formed by a deep in­ci­sion left by the WAIMEA RIVER and ex­treme rain­fall runoff from the is­land’s cen­tral peak, MOUNT WAI‘ALE‘ALE (one of the wettest places on Earth), Waimea Canyon is an awein­spir­ing marvel.

The canyon’s walls take on ever-chang­ing hues as the sun makes its daily jour­ney across the sky. From a look­out along the rim of the canyon, ev­ery morn­ing’s sun­rise is a stun­ning med­i­ta­tion with na­ture.

Hik­ing trails snake through the canyon, some more de­mand­ing than oth­ers. Trail in­for­ma­tion is avail­able at the KOKE‘E NAT­U­RAL HIS­TORY MU­SEUM or the Ranger’s Sta­tion in the park. The trail to the 800-foot WAIPO‘O FALLS is the most pop­u­lar. The half-day hike of­fers glimpses of ex­otic rain­for­est veg­e­ta­tion. Pack a pic­nic lunch to en­joy on the warm, flat rocks of a ginger pool. Tent camp­ing and 12 rea­son­ably priced cab­ins are avail­able in KOKE‘E STATE PARK. For more in­for­ma­tion about cab­ins, call the Koke‘e Lodge at (808) 335-6061. In ad­di­tion, break­fast, lunch and a cock­tail lounge are avail­able at the lodge, which is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Gro­ceries and gas are not avail­able in the park. WARN­ING: Kaua‘i, the old­est of the Hawai­ian Is­lands, is made of brit­tle vol­canic rock, so never at­tempt to climb steep cliffs. Ev­ery year, peo­ple are stranded in the wilder­ness, and fa­tal­i­ties have been recorded. If you be­come lost at night, stay put and try to light a fire. Be mind­ful of flash floods; small creeks can turn into rag­ing tor­rents with up­land rains, so never camp in a dry creek bed.

6. SEE A VIN­TAGE LIGHT­HOUSE

KI­LAUEA POINT NA­TIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE is a reg­u­lar stop on the flight path of the largest colony of seabirds on the main Hawai­ian Is­lands. Ev­ery day, hun­dreds of birds come and go from the nooks

and cran­nies of the refuge’s cliffs and hill­sides. Though eight species of birds nest on the refuge, the main attraction is a 100-YEAROLD LIGHT­HOUSE.

Lo­cated on the north­ern­most point of the in­hab­ited Hawai­ian Is­lands, the light­house was con­structed out of ne­ces­sity to serve as a land­fall light for mer­chant ships sail­ing from Asia. Due to lack of good roads, ma­te­ri­als needed to be lifted from cargo boats in the ocean and car­ried up steep cliffs in or­der to build the 52-foot tower.

The light­house’s Fres­nel lens alone weighs 4 tons, floats in a vat con­tain­ing more than 250 pounds of liq­uid mer­cury and is com­posed of hun­dreds of re­flect­ing prisms. It is val­ued at $1 mil­lion and re­mains a work of art.

The light­house has been in­op­er­a­ble since 1976, but thanks to a ma­jor fundrais­ing campaign, the struc­ture has been fully re­stored to its for­mer glory.

The light­house cel­e­brated its 100th an­niver­sary in 2013, when it also re­ceived a new ti­tle. In a spe­cial cer­e­mony, the light­house was for­mally re­named as the DANIEL K. INOUYE KI­LAUEA POINT LIGHT­HOUSE in honor of the late U.S. se­na­tor, who was a long­time sup­porter for con­ser­va­tion ini­tia­tives, in­clud­ing the wildlife refuge.

The WILDLIFE REFUGE is one of the busiest refuges in the na­tion, cur­rently rank­ing among the top five in an­nual vis­i­ta­tion. Watch for the sign as you turn off Kuhio High­way into KI­LAUEA TOWN. Ki­lauea Point is at the end of the road.

The refuge is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tues­day through Satur­day, and is closed on fed­eral hol­i­days. The en­trance fee is $5 for adults (16 years+). For more in­for­ma­tion, call (808) 828-1413, or visit ki­lauea­point.org.

7. EX­PLORE LAND­MARK CAVES

There are three LAND­MARK CAVES along the coastal drive to KE‘E BEACH that are worth a stop. One of these caves, which cut sev­eral hun­dred yards into the base of a ver­ti­cal cliff across from the beach in HA‘ENA STATE PARK, is rich in leg­end and easy to ex­plore. The

MANINIHOLO DRY CAVE is named for a fish­er­man who di­rected his crew to cap­ture an evil spirit that made away with some of their catch. When they were done dig­ging out the hill­side, the cave, which still ex­ists, ap­peared and the thief was dead— or so they say. The other two, named the HA‘ENA CAVES, are wet caves where the wa­ter is cold and deep. They are lo­cated about 15 min­utes from HANALEI on the way to Ke‘e Beach at the end of the road. A stop here makes for rather in­ter­est­ing pho­tog­ra­phy op­por­tu­ni­ties. Here’s a tip: Make good use of your flash.

8. TREK ALONG THE NAPALI COAST

The ma­jes­tic NAPALI COAST on Kaua‘i’s north­west shore is one of the most spec­tac­u­lar wilder­ness ar­eas in the Pa­cific. This 6,175ACRE STATE PARK is open only to foot traf­fic, but there’s a way to side­step this re­stric­tion— head to the ocean. A num­ber of out­lets can pro­vide ac­cess to the fa­mous scenery via the wa­ter, in­clud­ing a snorkel cruise, pow­ered ocean raft or a kayak. No mat­ter how you do it, slic­ing through the swells along this 15-mile stretch of rugged coast­line af­fords an awe­some view of the 4,000-foot cliffs, or . Beyond are wide stretches of pali golden-sand beach, deep jun­gle val­leys and mys­te­ri­ous sea caves. HANAKAPI‘AI and KALALAU beaches are well-known Napali Coast des­ti­na­tions; in fact, Na­tional has called Geo­graphic Kalalau Trav­eler Beach one of Amer­ica’s Top 40 Beaches. HONOPU, with its fa­mous 90-foot arch, and NU‘ALOLO KAI and MILOLI‘I, with their fring­ing reefs, also are well sto­ried. Although dis­cov­ered by JOHNNY DEPP in “PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES,” Honopu Beach’s arch is ac­tu­ally in­ac­ces­si­ble by land, but you can view the ma­jes­tic arch­way by air (see “UP IN THE AIR”) or sea.

In ad­di­tion, NU‘ALOLO KAI, an an­cient fish­ing vil­lage, is a pop­u­lar snor­kel­ing destination. Tour boat op­er­a­tors land here for snor­kel­ing and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal tours.

Honopu Val­ley is some­times called the “VAL­LEY OF THE LOST

TRIBE” be­cause of the mys­tery sur­round­ing the ex­o­dus of the peo­ple who lived there un­til the mid-19th cen­tury. In 1922, vis­it­ing ar­chae­ol­o­gists found sev­eral skulls thought to be prim­i­tive, preHawai­ian peo­ple.

BLUE DOL­PHIN CHAR­TERS (808) 335-5553 CAP­TAIN ANDY’S SAIL­ING AD­VEN­TURES (808) 335-6833 HOLO HOLO CHAR­TERS (808) 335-0815 KAUAI SEA TOURS (808) 826-7254 OR (800) 733-7997 NA PALI RIDERS (808) 742-6331 NORTH SHORE CHAR­TERS (808) 828-1379 Z TOURS (808) 742-7422

stRoll kaUa‘I’s pRIZeD Botan­I­Cal GaR­Dens PHOTO: HAWAII TOURISM AU­THOR­ITY (HTA) / TOR JOHN­SON LO­CA­TION: MCBRYDE GAR­DEN

leaRn to sURF PHOTO: HAWAII TOURISM AU­THOR­ITY (HTA) / TOR JOHN­SON

see a VIn­taGe lIGHt­HoUse PHOTO: HAWAII TOURISM AU­THOR­ITY (HTA) / TOR JOHN­SON LO­CA­TION: KI­LAUEA

tRek alonG tHe napalI Coast PHOTO: NA PALI RIDERS LO­CA­TION: HONOPU ARCH

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