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Kaua’i – the Garden Island

Hawaii offers an incredible amount of diversity, with a depth of experiences to travellers from across the globe. From peaceful, sandy beaches and lush rainforests, to active volcanoes and historic towns steeped in history, Hawai‘i has something for everyone. Comprised of eight main islands, each with their own personality, visitors to Hawai‘i can enjoy a range of different experiences on each of the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii’s four largest island Kaua’i is known as the “Garden Island”, which is entirely accurate.

Discovering Kaua‘i

This guide will take a journey to Hawaii's oldest island, the Island of Kaua’i. Known as The Garden Island, Kauai's ancient, stunning landscapes are instantly recognisable as the backdrop of countless Hollywood movies. 

Kauai’s mountainous landscapes are nothing short of spectacular, featuring in Elvis’ classic “Blue Hawaii”, modern blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean”, and most notably Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” series.

One of the most recognisable locations on Kaua’i are the imposing cliffs on the Na Pali coast.  Walking tracks will take you into this remote part of the island, but the best perspective can be seen from the air or from the water.

Getting here

The island’s main airport is located in Lihue on the southeast coast.  It’s an easy 25-minute flight from Honolulu, or there are several direct flights from the US mainland.  A popular way to visit Kaua’i is on a week-long cruise on board the Pride of America, which calls at ports on all four of the main islands.

Getting around

Depending on how you want to spend your time, there are plenty of options for exploring the island.  Renting a car or hopping on a public bus is an easy way to get around, as Kauai’s main road extends around roughly three-quarters of the coast, leaving out only the Napali coastline.  If you want to explore the inland, a guided tour is a great option, providing expert local knowledge and someone else to worry about the driving.  If you prefer to travel at a slower pace, hire a bike and pack a picnic.  There’s an excellent cycle path on the east coast that’s perfect for beach hopping.

Where to stay

With luxury hotels, apartments and cottages, Kaua’i has accommodation to suit every budget.  The beaches of the island’s south shore offer great family-friendly resorts and gentle waves, while the northern beaches have a unique, laid-back atmosphere and great surf.  If you’re planning to spend time hiking in Waimea Canyon on Kokee, base yourself on the west coast for a few days.  Your personal travel manager can help you find the best option to match your needs.

Activities for families

Kaua’i offers a different holiday to the hustle of Honolulu – the towns are small, the buildings are no higher than the coconut trees and there are plenty of safe beaches with surf patrols. Take the kids on a tubing adventure floating along open waterways, through flumes and caves that date back to the days of the sugar plantations.  If you’re interested in Polynesian history and want to learn more about early life on the island, a visit to Kaua’i museum is a must, offering live performances and craft-making sessions that the whole family will enjoy.

Activities for couples

Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon has been described as the “Grand Canyon of the South Pacific”, and for good reason.  Time your visit to arrive either early in the morning to avoid the crowds, or an hour before sunset when the cliffs are at their most dramatic.  The stunning scenery of the Napali Coast provides an ideal backdrop for romance – take a heart-stopping helicopter ride, a tranquil guided kayaking expedition or a sunset dinner cruise to wow that special someone.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family holiday, Kaua’i has plenty to offer for every visitor – talk to your Hoot Holidays consultant and start planning your escape to the Garden Island.