Kauai is named ‘The Garden Island’ for its lush scenery.
Being the oldest island, its mountains are smoother and less rugged and most of its interior is a mountainous forest reserve. Kauai is dry and sunny on its southern and western sides, and has long stretches of white-sand beaches. The North Shore is lush and tropical, with waterfalls, beautiful beaches, and incredibly green valleys.
Highlights include the Na Pali sea cliffs, Waimea Canyon, and some of the best beaches in Hawaii.
A belt road runs three-quarters of the way around the island ending at Haena in the north and Polihale in the west. Roughly center are Poipu, Lihue and Kapa’a where most of the population lives. At the extreme ends, major populations centers are Waimea and Hanalei.
Movie makers have chosen Kauai for its beautiful scenery and its comforts. Dozens of films have been shot here and major films include South Pacific, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, and King Kong (to name but a few). Kauai is singled out as being Elvis' favorite island (and that of many other Hollywood personalities as well).
Kauai is the fourth largest of the islands and has an area of 558 sq. miles. It is 33 miles wide and 25 miles from north to south. The highest elevation is Mt Kawaikini at 5243 feet.
As with the other islands, Kauai’s temperature varies more with location than season. Average coastal temperatures are 70°F in February and 77°F in August. At the higher elevation in Kokee State Park, temperatures can drop into the 30s during winter nights. Kokee averages 55°F in February and 65°F in August.
Kauai’s average annual rainfall is about 40 inches but variances are extreme. Waimea in the south averages only 21 inches while Princeville in the north averages 85 inches. To top it all, Mt. Waialeale in the swampy interior averages a whopping 486 inches, a world record. It is known as the "wettest spot on earth". Summer trade winds keep the humidity from becoming oppressive and bring in showers.
Na Pali Coast and Na Pali Coast State Park
Nā Pali Coast State Park encompasses 6,175 acres (2,499 ha) of land and is located in the center of the rugged 16 miles (26 km) along the northwest side of Kauaʻi, the oldest inhabited Hawaiian island. The Nā Pali coast itself extends southwest starting at Keʻe Beach extending all the way to Polihale State Park. The pali (cliffs) rise as high as 4,000 feet (1,200 m) above the Pacific Ocean. The state park was formed to protect the Kalalau Valley.
Although inaccessible to automobiles, this coast can be enjoyed by hiking, boating (in kayaks from May 15 through Labor Day) or from a helicopter. The Kalalau Trail from the end of Hawaii Route 56 (called the Kuhio Highway) provides the only land access, traversing 11 miles (18 km) and crossing five major valleys (and many smaller ones) before reaching Kalalau Beach at the base of Kalalau Valley. To the east of the state park is the Hono O Nā Pali state Natural Reserve. It was established in 1983, and then extended to over 3,578 acres (14.5 km2) on March 23,2009
Waimea Canyon, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, is a large canyon, approximately ten miles long and up to 3,000 feet deep, located on the western side of Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands. The canyon was formed by a deep incision of the Waimea River arising from the extreme rainfall on the island's central peak, Mount Waialeale, among the wettest places on earth.
Hanalei Bay is the largest bay on the north shore of Kauaʻi island in Hawaii The town of Hanalei is at the mid-point of the bay. Hanalei Bay consists of nearly two miles of beach, surrounded by mountains. In the summer, the bay offers excellent mooring for sailboats, stand up paddle boarding and swimming. During the winter the surf becomes large and is a favorite surf location.
Hanalei is a 2-mile long half-moon bay with white sand and majestic mountains - more than just beautiful, Hanalei is also an amazing ocean playground. Loved by visitors and residents alike, there is no place like Hanalei.