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Hawaii Hawaii
The ancient Hawaiians referred to the island as
Kaua'i Kilohana—superb Kaua'i

Hawaii is a favourite destination in the Pacific. I've been four times to Kaua'i, once to Maui, once to the Big Island—the island of Hawaii itself, and once to Molokai.

In the summer of 1990, I spent a week on Kaua'i in the company of my good friends Mary and Richard Campione. We hiked the first part of the fabulous Napali Coast Trail, then hiked inland to Hanakapiai Falls—a waterfall in the tube of an ancient volcano.

Hanakapiai Falls

Hanakapiai Falls, accessible only after a tough seven-kilometre hike along the spectacular Napali Coast Trail.

The complete Napali Coast Trail is known as the Kalalau Trail. It is an eighteen kilometre hike, and you need a permit to hike beyond Hanakapiai Beach.

The fabulous Napali Coast rises out of the Pacific Ocean on the Western side of Kaua'i like the buttresses of some gargantuan cathedral.

Ua lai ka nohona i kea lo pali

There is tranquility before the face of the cliff

Napali Coast of Kauai


The Napali Coast Trail runs from Ke'e (where the road ends) eighteen kilometres to Kilalau Beach. You need a permit to hike the full eighteen kilometres, and you camp at Kilalau Beach. Without a permit you can hike three and a half kilometres from the trailhead at Ke'e to Hanakapiai Beach. From there, you can if you wish hike a further three and a half kilometres inland to Hanakapiai Falls.

Even the hike to Hanakapiai Beach is tough. Carry plenty of water!
The only way out is on foot or by helicopter.
There is no mobile telephone coverage on the Napali Coast,
so you can't blather—be tranquil, per the quote

In the summer of 1991, I was back in Kaua'i again, and once again hiked the Napali Coast Trail as far as Hanakapiai Beach.

I stayed at Hanalei Bay on the north side of the island, where we had rainbows at breakfast time every morning.

Breakfast Rainbows at Hanalei Bay

Then in 1994, I was back in Kaua'i again. This time the hiking was more varied and interesting, including the Kui Lau Ridge Trail, where you walk along a narrow ridge path with 200-metre walls of ferns dropping off either side.

The other spectacular hike is the Hunter's Trail, striking deep into the centre of Kaua'i, and, incidentally, into some of the wettest parts of the island.

Kui Lau Ridge Trail

The Kui Lau Ridge Trail starts at the Keahua Arboretum. The trail runs along a ridge in the Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve. You have views across the valley to Mount Waialeale (the ancient volcano) in the west, the Makaleha Mountains in the north, and a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean in the east.

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Page Updated 2011 December 10