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Na Pali Küste, Bild: Shane Myers Photography / shutterstock

Kauai – Hawaii’s dreamlike garden island

The capital of the state of Hawaii, Honolulu, and the tourist stronghold of Maui are clearly the most famous destinations of Hawaii’s Pacific islands. But the archipelago has so much more to offer and still hides some almost undiscovered treasures. One of them is the second smallest island in Hawaii, Kauai. Due to its evergreen landscapes and untouched nature, it is also called the Garden Island.

Kauai is the geologically second oldest of the islands and is home to about 75,000 people on an area of almost 1500 square kilometers. The island is usually reached by a short domestic flight from Honolulu Airport. Kauai’s dramatic landscapes, pristine flora and authentic character are attracting more and more visitors to the island without becoming a tourist stronghold.

The best time to visit Kauai

The weather on Kauai can be described as pleasant all year round. In summer from May to October it is slightly warmer than in the rest of the year, with the most precipitation falling in December. The best time to visit the island is from May to July. As with many American vacation destinations, Kauai gets a little busier around the American holidays, so you should avoid these periods if possible.

The highlights on Kauai

Weimea Canyon State Park

Weimea Canyon State Park is the largest canyon in the entire Pacific Ocean and immediately captivates every visitor. The dramatic landscape of the canyon, which cuts through the island for over 18 kilometers and is up to one kilometer deep, has already inspired thousands and thousands of visitors and is a must-see when visiting Kauai. It is located on the west side of the island and has 60 kilometers of well-signposted and fantastically beautiful hiking trails. Again and again, breathtaking views over the island and the adjoining ocean are revealed. Weimea Canyon is enclosed by Kokee State Park, where visitors can observe a variety of endemic plants and animals.

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Wailua Falls

Wailua Falls, Kauai,
Wailua Falls, Kauai, Image: Mohamed Selim / shutterstock

The Wailua Falls waterfall, which is over 40 meters high, can be seen on many postcards, photo books and illustrated books about Hawaii and was even shown in the opening credits of the series “Fantasy Island” from the 1970s. Wailua Falls is located just off Maalo Road and is easy to find. The photo spot can be reached directly from the parking lot without hiking. The amount of water in the waterfall is highly dependent on precipitation, which is why a visit is particularly worthwhile after rainfall. Scenic flights over the island usually also show Wailua Falls.

Spouting Horn Beach Park

From Spouting Horn Beach Park, a so-called “blow hole” can be observed. These are tunnels in the sediment through which seawater is forced by the surf. The water shoots up at the end of the blow hole and makes for a great sight. Depending on the waves, the fountain in Spouting Horn Beach Park reaches up to 15 meters high. Around the Bow Hole there are smaller hiking trails and lookouts. It is highly recommended to respect the barriers.

Na Pali Coast

The Na Pali Coast stretches along the northwest coast of the island between Ke’e Beach in Haena State Park and Polihale State Park in Mana. This dramatic stretch of coastline offers a huge range of panoramas and viewpoints. The cliffs of the coastal strip stand up to 1200 meters above the surf of the Pacific. Na Pali Coast State Park can be reached by hikers via the Kalalau Trail. It starts at Ke’e Beach and runs along the coast. The most popular section of the trail that has some of the most amazing viewpoints is the first 3 kilometers from the beginning of the trail to Hanakapiai Valley. The trail, which is over 20 kilometres long, is one of the most beautiful hiking trails in the world. However, appropriate permits must be obtained before a longer hike. On the Na Pali coast, Kalalau Beach is also one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Hawaii.

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Tree Tunnel

The so-called Tree Tunnel is a beautiful avenue of eucalyptus trees along Maliuhi Road between the island’s largest city, Lihue, and the south coast. The original first 500 trees of the avenue were planted by pineapple mogul Baron Walter McBryde. Today, the avenue is a beautiful destination on a road trip to the south coast of the island. The scent of the eucalyptus trees fills the air on the shady drive through the Tree Tunnel.

Maniniholo Dry Cave

Maniniholo Dry Cave, Kauai
Maniniholo Dry Cave, Image: Manic Phoenix / shutterstock

The Maniniholo, Waikanaloa & Waikapalae Wet Caves are located just off the main road of Haena State Park and are easy to get to. Maniniholo Dry Cave is located on the opposite side of Haena Beach Park. This large, open, dry cave is easy to reach and can be explored on your own. It is a good idea to bring a flashlight to the cave. The Maniniholo Dry Cave is a nice destination for the whole family and also suitable for children. There is water in the other caves, but swimming is not allowed in it. The best time to visit is in the early evening, when the blue tones of the water in the caves come into their own. In the Waikapalae Cave, scenes for the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean” were even filmed.