Image courtesy of Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau
Things to do in Kauai
Kauai offers numerous watersports, miles of hiking trails along ocean cliffs and through rainforests, and golf options that range from championship links to local courses – just perfect for an active honeymoon or romantic getaway.
Experience also game fishing, scuba diving and Hawaiian-style spas to rejuvenate and relax. Here are some activities to choose from:
Kayaking – Take a sea kayak tour along the southern coast and spot spinner dolphins, green sea turtles and humpback whales. Go inland and paddle around the beautiful Kipu Falls area or along the Wailua River to be surrounded by lush tropical jungle and beautiful flowers; visit ancient ruins and walk down the ceremonial pathway of the royal Alli’i; swim under a waterfall and relax in a fresh waterpool.
Or explore the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on a guided kayak tour along the Hanalei River, one of only 14 designated as an American Heritage river. Read more about kayaking the Na Pali coast . . .
Scuba diving – Kauai boasts some of the world’s top diving sites and a variety of courses are offered ranging from open water diver to enriched air instructor. For the experienced diver head off to Ni’ihau to see the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, big hammerhead sharks, white tip sharks and manta rays. Water clarity is generally excellent and many varieties of coral can be seen.
Snorkelling – Kauai has lots of places to enjoy swimming and snorkelling. For an adventure take a tour to snorkel the wild Na Pali coast or simply swim off a safe beach like Poipu and Ke‘e Beach.
Surfing – Surfing has long been part of Polynesian culture and the south coast of Kauai is an excellent surfing spot for beginners, with reliable waves off Poipu and Kalapaki Beach. Brennecke’s Beach, world famous for body surfing, is a short walk away from Poipu, and local surf schools offer lessons for beginners.
Cruise – Take a cruise along the 24km stretch of rugged Na Pali coastline on Kauai’s northwest shore to get an awesome view of the 1200m cliffs (pali) that rise abruptly out of the Pacific. Discover stretches of golden sand, deep jungle valleys and sea caves. In winter, from December through April, expect to see humpback whales along with dolphins and sea turtles.
Game fishing – Hook up to a fishing charter and go after marlin, dorado (mahimahi), yellow fin tuna (ahi) or wahoo (ono). Or if the big game fish doesn’t interest you, fish for grey snapper (uku), jack (ulua), barracuda (kaku), rainbow runner (kamanu), sea bass and shark.
Hiking – Kauai is a hiker’s paradise with a variety of easy and strenuous trails. For the experienced hiker take the Kalalau Trail, a multi-day, round-trip 35km hike along the stunning Na Pali Coast – don’t miss the spectacular Hanakapi’ai Falls, a spectacular 300m to 480m tiered waterfall above Hanakapi’ai Beach. The final tier drops 125m and forms a natural Jacuzzi, great for soaking trail-weary feet.
Another great hiking experience is the Waimea Canyon, the 900m deep centrepiece of Kokee State Park or the Blue Hole at the base of Mount Waialeale, with its spectacular view of the 600m vertical walls draped with waterfalls. For an easy day trip hike to Waipo’o Falls – the 240m high falls is located in the heart of the canyon.
Biking – Rent a mountain bike and explore the area around Poipu, which has wide, flat roads and several dirt-cane roads. Take a spin around Mahaulepu and along the dirt road used for hauling sugar cane between Kealia Beach and Anahola, north of Kapaa. Or take an early morning guided bike tour from Waimea Canyon to the ocean on a cool 20km downhill ride.
Horseback riding – Ride across wide-open pastures under volcanic peaks and past secluded beaches and bays. Tie off your horse and take a short swim in the sea or in a swimming pool at the base of a waterfall. From Haupu Ridge to Mahaulepu Beach or along the bluffs of the North Shore to Anini Beach you’ll experience a range of great horseback rides on Kauai.
Eco-safari – Take a safari in the Kipu Falls area and combine kayaking with hiking, swimming and ‘zipping’ in a special climbing harness through the forest canopy high above rivers and waterfalls.
Golf – Every golf course on Kauai offers a different experience. Try the award-winning Mokihana/Maile course with Mount Waialeale serving as a spectacular backdrop to its Scottish-style course with rolling fairways.
Or tee-off at the Princeville at Hanalei, billed as one of the world’s most spectacular golf courses. Located on Kauai’s north shore at Princeville resort, the golf course features magnificent views from 90m above the Pacific Ocean.
For something completely different visit the pretty Kukuiolono golf course. Built in 1929 as the personal course of sugar baron Walter D. McBryde, Kukuiolono is now a 9-hole public course that can be played all day for just USD8. Expect to encounter wild chickens and ancient Hawaiian rock structures along the way.
Helicopter tour – See many places you’re unable to reach on foot: fly over the Waimea Canyon, the Alakai Swamp and get a bird’s-eye view of the dramatic Na Pali coastline.
Spa – Try an Hawaiian-based treatment such as the lomi lomi massage technique available at any of island’s major resorts or at a private massage parlour.
Shopping – Pick up an expensive but exquisitely made Niihau-shell lei or necklace, hand-crafted from tiny Niihau shells. Or for something less expensive check out the Red Dirt Shirt – every T-shirt is hand-dyed and unique.