Southern Kauai

Southern Kaua‘i

Knudsen Gap / Tree Tunnel

Going south from Līhu‘e between Mile Markers 6 and 8, Kaumuali‘i Highway (Hwy. 50) travels through Knudsen Gap, between Mt. Kāhili and Hā‘upu Ridge (also called Hoary Head).

The 3,089-foot (942-m) peak of Mt. Kāhili is the end of a ridge that extends all the way from the center of Kaua‘i. The Knudsen Gap gets its name from Norwegian immigrant Valdemar Knudsen, a sugar planter who owned property in the area.

A turnoff on Maluhia Road (Hwy. 520) leads south to Kōloa town. Just off of Kaumuali‘i Highway (Hwy. 50) on Maluhia Road is the mile long Tree Tunnel, a double row of eucalyptus trees (swamp mahogany), which were planted in 1911 as part of a community effort led by Alexander McBryde. The trees were donated by Walter Duncan McBryde in the early 1900s, and planted by local residents.

Kōloa

Kōloa was once Kaua‘i’s main port of entry and a favorite stop for Yankee whalers as well as interisland steamers. Kōloa was also the site of the first successful commercial sugar mill in the Hawaiian Islands, the Koloa [Kōloa] Plantation, which was established in 1835 by Ladd & Company.

The land for the sugar plantation had originally been leased from King Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli). Kōloa soon became a thriving plantation town and Koloa [Kōloa] Plantation survived under various owners until McBryde Sugar Company shut the plantation down in 1996.

The remnants of the smokestack of Koloa [Kōloa] Plantation’s mill may be seen just off the main road near the center of town. Also at the site is a sculpture memorializing the different ethnicities that worked on the region’s plantations. After World War II, Kōloa’s population and business climate declined.

Today Kōloa’s refurbished old buildings house a variety of shops and restaurants. Often called Old Kōloa Town, the row of shops, eateries, and other buildings includes numerous historic structures, such as the 1910 Jodo Mission Building. Historical plaques in the front of the buildings describe old Kōloa.

Every July, Kōloa’s residents celebrate Koloa [Kōloa] Plantation Days, which include a parade as well as a town fair. The Kōloa Heritage Trail is a 7½-mile (12 km) route with bronze pedestals describing the historical and cultural significance of 13 sites in Kōloa and Po‘ipū.

[Kōloa, Maluhia Road (Hwy. 520).]

Po‘ipū

Po‘ipū is located to the south of Kōloa on Kaua‘i’s “sunny south side.” Known for its white-sand beaches, clear blue waters, and sheltered coves, Po‘ipū is one of Kaua‘i’s main resort destinations. There is no central “downtown Po‘ipū,” but the area is home to the Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort as well as Kiahuna Plantation, a shopping center, and the Hyatt Regency Hotel, and the Po‘ipū Bay Resort Golf Course, home to the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.

The area commonly known as Po‘ipū Beach spans from Po‘ipū Beach Park (off Po‘ipū Road at the end of Ho‘owili Road) west to the Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort, and encompasses three crescent-shaped beaches separated by rocky points.

The Po‘ipū area contains several popular surfing and bodysurfing spots as well as great swimming and snorkeling locations, including one of the island’s best beaches for children. A lifeguard station and a nice swimming beach make Po‘ipū Beach Park one of the most popular south shore destinations for local kids and families.

Po‘ipū Beach has also been a favorite site for Kaua‘i’s ‘ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua (Monachus schauinslandi, Hawaiian monk seals) to give birth, and more than once in recent years an area of the beach was closed off to protect the monk seal mothers and babies.

Information about recent birthing activity may be checked through the Kaua‘i Monk Seal Watch Program at the internet site: www.kauaimonkseal.com. (See Hawaiian Monk Seals, Chapter 6.)

The western side of Po‘ipū Beach Park includes a spit of sand that ends at the rocky islet of Nukumoi Point. The spit of sand leading to the point was created by sand washed up by waves coming around either side. This type of sand formation is known as a tombolo, and one of just three on Kaua‘i (the other two are at Kīpū Kai and Kīlauea’s Crater Hill.)

On the west side of Po‘ipū is the tombolo is a well-protected beach that is great for kids. Snorkeling is better on the east side of the tombolo, where the coral reef provides habitat for various colorful reef fish.

Tide pools near Nukumoi Point may be explored at low tide. This is a wonderful snorkeling area, with lots of angelfishes, (Pomacanthidae), Moorish idols (Zanclus cornutus), damselfishes (Pomacentridae), tangs (Acanthuridae), and butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae).

Across the street is Nukumoi Beach & Surf Company, which rents snorkeling gear as well as body boards and surfboards. Just east of Po‘ipū Beach Park is Brennecke’s Beach (off Ho‘onē Road), a favorite spot of experienced bodyboarders.

About 150 yards (137 m) west of Po‘ipū Beach Park, past a rocky point, is Wai‘ōhi Beach (also called Po‘ipū Beach), a popular surfing and swimming beach.

[Po‘ipū—Directions: From Kaumuali‘i Highway (Hwy. 50), take Maluhia Road (Hwy. 520) or Kōloa Road (Hwy. 530) to Po‘ipū Road (Maluhia Road first doglegs to the right on Kōloa Road). To get to Po‘ipū Beach Park, take Po‘ipū Road to Ho‘owili Road and go south about 1/10 mile (160 m).]

Moir Gardens

Moir Gardens encompass 35 acres (14 ha) across Po‘ipū Road (Hwy. 520) from the Po‘ipū Village Shopping Center. Moir Gardens originated in 1938 as the personal gardens of Hector Moir (a sugar plantation manager) and his wife.

The expansive gardens, including many exotic cacti and succulents, have grown larger over the years, and are now surrounded by the Kiahuna Plantation Resort and Plantation Gardens Restaurant, located in the former Moir residence, the plantation manor house, built in the early 1930s and now refurbished with cherry wood floors and trimmed with native koa (Acacia koa).

The home was the plantation manor house for the Koloa [Kōloa] Plantation, and Hector Moir became manager of the Koloa [Kōloa] Sugar Company in 1933. Hector’s wife was Alexandra “Sandie” Knudsen, and her father gave the newlyweds the house as a wedding gift. The Moir’s hosted many social events in the home, which became a center of plantation society.

[Plantation Garden Restaurant, 808-742-2216, 2253 Po‘ipū Road, Kōloa.]

Prince Kūhiō Park / Hō‘ai Heiau

Prince Kūhiō Park is a 3-acre (1.2-ha) park located on Lāwa‘i Road. The park features a pond, terraced stone walls, and Hō‘ai Heiau. The Prince Kūhiō Monument in the park pays tribute to Hawai‘i’s second delegate to congress, Prince Kūhiō [Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole Pi‘ikoi] (1871-1922).

Prince Kūhiō was born on March 26, 1871 to David Kahelepouli Pi‘ikoi and Princess Esther Kinoiki Kekaulike near Hō‘ai Bay at Kukui‘ula (“Red light”[i]) west of Kōloa, Kaua‘i.

Prince Kūhiō was the nephew of Queen Kapi‘olani (sister of Princess Esther Kinoiki Kekaulike), who adopted him, and the great grandson of Kaumuali‘i, the paramount ruler of Kaua‘i who ceded the island to King Kamehameha I in 1810 to avoid war.

Prince Kūhiō was born in the Kōloa region of Kaua‘i’s southern coast near Hō‘ai Bay in a grass house at an ancient fishing village called Kukui‘ula (“Red light”[ii]). He was the youngest of three boys, all considered ali‘i (royalty) due to their royal descent from Kaua‘i’s paramount ruler (king) Kaumuali‘i. One brother, Edward Keali‘ihonui, died in his teens.

Jonah Kūhiō and his other brother David Kawānanakoa were adopted into the childless royal family of King Kalākaua [David La‘amea Kalākaua] and Queen Kapi‘olani after the boys’ father, David Kahalepouli Pi‘ikoi, died when Kūhiō was ten.

Kalaniana‘ole, means “The royal chief without measure,”[iii] referring to the prince’s noble heredity, which includes the royal lineage of Kūhiō’s mother, Esther Kinoiki Kekaulike, who was appointed governor of Hawai‘i Island by King Kalākaua.

When Kūhiō was 13 years old, King Kalākaua declared Jonah and his brother David princes by royal decree with the intent that they would carry on the Kalākaua dynasty.

King Kalākaua and Queen Kapi‘olani held an official coronation on February 12, 1883 at ‘Iolani Palace, and the jeweled royal crowns were carried by Prince Kūhiō and his brother David Kawānanakoa.

Due to his cherubic and handsome looks, Prince Kūhiō was sometimes referred to as Prince Cupid, a name given to him in his youth by his French teacher. Prince Kūhiō attended the Royal School (known as Chiefs’ Children’s School until 1846) and Punahou School on O‘ahu, and then attended St. Matthew’s College in California before enrolling in the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, England. He then graduated from an English business school.

Prince Kūhiō was a master of the traditional Hawaiian art of lua (ancient Hawaiian form of martial arts). He also competed on school teams in the sports of football and track.

In 1884, Kūhiō was appointed to the Cabinet of the Hawaiian Kingdom by Kalākau to administer the Department of the Interior. With the support of King Kalākaua, Prince Kūhiō studied Japanese culture and government for one year in Japan. The king hoped the Prince would find a royal Japanese bride and form a marital alliance between the Hawaiian Islands and Japan.

Prince Kūhiō was named as presumptive heir to the throne by Queen Lili‘uokalani after she ascended to the throne in 1891, making Kūhiō the last royally-designated heir.

After he returned to the Hawaiian Islands just before the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1893, Prince Kūhiō worked to restore Queen Lili‘uokalani [Lydia Kamaka‘eha Pākī-Dominis Lili‘uokalani] to the throne.

In 1895 at the age of 24, Prince Kūhiō participated in a royalist uprising (a counter-revolution) against the Republic of Hawai‘i, and was arrested by the Provisional Government, charged with treason, and imprisoned for one year.

After his release from prison, Prince Kūhiō married Elizabeth Kahanu Ka‘auwai, a full-blooded Hawaiian chiefess who was the daughter of a Maui chief, and they took a trip to Africa. Disheartened by the events in the Hawaiian Islands, Prince Kūhiō joined the British Army in South Africa in the Boer War.

Prince Kūhiō was next in line to ascend to the throne after Princess Ka‘iulani passed away in 1899, but the restoration of the monarchy became more unlikely with each passing year.

Prince Kūhiō and his wife returned to the Hawaiian Islands in 1901. He helped organize the Republican Party in 1902 and that same year he was elected as the Territory of Hawai‘i’s second, non-voting delegate to the United States Congress (after Robert W. Wilcox (1855—1903)), serving in the position for a total of 20 years (ten, two-year terms) until he died in 1922.

Prince Kūhiō helped to found the Order of Kamehameha in 1903 and the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu in 1918. The Civic Club’s tradition of community involvement continues today.

Due to his political efforts to help Hawaiians and promote self-sufficiency among the native population, Prince Kūhiō was known as Ke Ali‘i Maka‘āinana, which means “Chief of the Commoners,” “Citizen Prince,” or “Prince of the People.”

Throughout his life, Prince Kūhiō worked to preserve the traditions and culture of native Hawaiians. One of Prince Kūhiō’s legacies was his inspired involvement in the passing of the Hawaiian Homestead Commission Act, which was enacted on July 9, 1921 to provide low-cost homestead and farming land to Hawaiians with at least 50% native Hawaiian ancestry based on blood quantum.

A total of 203,500 acres (82,354 ha) was designated as “available lands” for the program, but the sugar companies had lobbied to exclude all areas that were not used for sugar, which included most of the best agricultural land in the Hawaiian Islands. No money was available to develop the second-tier parcels and thus most of the lands were not used.

During the first 70 years after the passage of Hawaiian Homestead Commission Act of 1920, just 3,000 families received lands and many people who were on the original list of applications passed away before receiving land.

Of his political efforts, Prince Kūhiō stated, “The legislation proposed seeks to place the Hawaiian back on the soil, so that the valuable and sturdy traits of that race, peculiarly adapted to the islands, shall be preserved to posterity.”[iv]

Prince Kūhiō’s home was called Pualeilani, which means “Flower from the wreath of heaven.” The home was located across Kalākaua Avenue from Kūhiō Beach Park.

Prince Kūhiō passed away due to heart disease on January 7, 1922 at the age of 50. He was given the last state funeral held for a Hawaiian ali‘i (royalty), and was laid to rest at the Royal Mausoleum in Nu‘uanu, O‘ahu at Mauna‘ala (“Fragrant mountain”[v]).

Prince Kūhiō Park is located near the Prince Kūhiō’s birthplace on Kaua‘i’s southern shore west of Kōloa. The park features a pond and terraced stone walls, Hō‘ai Heiau, and a statue of the prince that was unveiled on June 17, 1928 with about 10,000 people in attendance.

Prince Kūhiō’s life is celebrated with an annual state holiday each year on Prince Kūhiō Day, the prince’s birthday, March 26. Prince Kūhiō Day is traditionally a day of canoe races and other local events, including a ceremony at Prince Kūhiō Park on Kaua‘i.

Kūhiō Beach Park in Waikīkī is also named after Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole Pi‘ikoi, whose home fronting the beach was torn down in 1936. (See Kūhiō Beach Park; and Statue of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole in O‘ahu section, Chapter 2; Prince Kūhiō Park/Hō‘ai Heiau in Kaua‘i section, Chapter 2; and Chapter 11: Timeline: 1871, March 26 for Biographical Sketch of Prince Kūhiō.)

[Prince Kūhiō Park / Hō‘ai Heiau, Lāwa‘i Road, ½-mile (.8 km) from Po‘ipū Road (Hwy. 520). Directions: As you near the coast on Po‘ipū Road (Hwy. 520), past Mile Marker 4, the road forks. The left fork leads to Po‘ipū. The right fork, Lāwa‘i Road, leads to Prince Kūhiō Park and Spouting Horn.]

Spouting Horn

The natural rock formation known as the Spouting Horn blowhole is located on Lāwa‘i Road on Kaua‘i’s south side, to the west of Prince Kūhiō Park. Waves smashing into a lava shelf on the shoreline are funneled up through an ancient lava tube, resulting in a geyser effect similar to Old Faithful.

Spouting Horn’s water shoots up to 50 feet (15 m) high, producing a loud noise as the water is compressed into the hole in the rock and then released. Legend has it that the groaning noise comes from a mo‘o (lizard) named Lehu who is trapped within the rock and moans for the loss of his sisters on Ni‘ihau.

[Spouting Horn, Lāwa‘i Beach Road, west of Pō‘ipu.]

National Tropical Botanical Garden—McBryde Garden / Allerton Garden

Chartered by the United States government in 1964, the National Tropical Botanical Garden at Lāwa‘i includes an Herbarium with some 27,000 tropical flora specimens.

The preserve encompasses 186 acres (75 ha), with another 100 acres (40 ha) near the coast. This coastal area is now known as Allerton Garden, and was originally owned by Queen Emma [Emma Na‘ea Rooke; Kalanikaumakeamano; Kaleleonālani] in the 1870s.

Queen Emma visited the estate in 1870-1871 with an entourage of about 100 retainers and servants. They stayed at the Queen’s 4,200-acre (1,700-ha) Lāwa‘i, Kaua‘i estate, which had been deeded to her by her aunt, Hikoni. The estate encompassed the entire ahupua‘a (natural watershed land division) of Lāwa‘i.

During Queen Emma’s 1870 visit to Kaua‘i, she journeyed up to the highlands forests of Kōke‘e and the Alaka‘i Swamp with her sizable retinue including hula dancers and musicians, venturing as far as the Kilohana Lookout. (See Kōke‘e State Park section.)

In honor of her journey, the Queen renamed her Lāwa‘i estate Mauna Kilohana. Queen Emma’s large frame house had a thatched roof, and was situated on a hill on the Kōloa side of the valley overlooking Lāwa‘i Bay. The estate also included several outbuildings, and stone walls enclosed the entire area.

During Queen Emma’s visit, George Norton Wilcox (son of Wai‘oli missionaries Abner and Lucy Wilcox) and William O. Smith (son of Dr. James Smith, also a missionary) rode on horseback with Queen Emma to an area upland of her estate where they surveyed a water source.

Wilcox and Smith consulted with Queen Emma to plan an irrigation ditch to provide water to the her Lāwa‘i estate.[vi] Two men were hired to construct the ditch about 1 foot (30 cm) deep and wide, and about 2 miles (3.2 km) long.

The ditch to Mauna Kilohana began functioning on March 11, 1871. Once water was available, Queen Emma personally assisted in the planting of numerous Polynesian-introduced species, including kalo (Colocasia esculenta, taro), kī (Cordyline fruticosa, ti), kō (Saccharum officinarum, sugarcane), and pia (Tacca leontopetaloides, Polynesian arrowroot).

Also cultivated on the property were native species such as hala (Pandanus tectorius, screwpine), ‘ōhi‘a lehua (Metrosideros species), and hau (Talipariti tiliaceum). Many non-native species were also planted, including rose apple, bamboo, mango, and bougainvillea.

On April 25, 1871, Queen Emma boarded the steamer Pauahi for O‘ahu. The Lāwa‘i estate, Mauna Kilohana, was later leased by Queen Emma to Duncan McBryde, a Scot, who was also the district court judge.

Queen Emma died in 1885, and the following year the ahupua‘a of Lāwa‘i was sold to Elizabeth McBryde for $5,000. The land was used for the production of sugarcane, and Alexander McBryde (the son of Duncan and Elizabeth McBryde) lowered cut-up portions of the Mauna Kilohana house, originally built in 1869, down the pali (cliff) into Lāwa‘i Valley (Lāwai‘i Kai) where it became known as Queen Emma’s Cottage.

In 1937, Robert Allerton paid $50,000 for the 125-acre (51-acre) McBryde estate on Lāwa‘i Bay. Allerton was a Chicago industrialist as well as a philanthropist and arts patron. On Lāwa‘i Bay, Robert Allerton built a new house designed by architect John Gregg and furnished with antiques and expensive art. Allerton, 64 at the time, also expanded the estate’s gardens.

Allerton and Gregg moved to Kaua‘i permanently in 1938 and began the detailed planning and designing of the property’s landscape, including planting many tropical, exotic and rare plants and trees.

The 100-acre (40-ha) Allerton Garden includes sculptures, fountains, and pools as well as prodigious landscaping and many notable plant specimens. The National Tropical Botanical Garden acquired the site in 1971.

Just across from Spouting Horn is the National Tropical Botanical Garden Visitor Center, housed in an old plantation-style cottage from the 1920s. The Visitor Center sells gifts, and also provides information about the NTBG’s scientific research efforts as well as their conservation programs aimed at preserving native species of the Hawaiian Islands.

The 252-acre (102-ha) McBryde Garden includes perhaps the largest collection of federally listed endangered plant species found anywhere. Research is ongoing, and the Garden’s expert botanists and researchers have developed propagation techniques that are helping to preserve these many unique plants.

The herbarium at the site includes more than 27,000 dried plant specimens, while the research library houses about 8,000 volumes and serials.

Tours depart from the Visitor Center to both the Allerton Garden and the McBryde Garden. A bus brings visitors along an old railroad grade to the Lāwa‘i Bay and the Gardens.

Tours of Allerton Garden include a walk through the estate, while tours of the McBryde Garden include bus rides between different areas of the property.

[National Tropical Botanical Garden, 808-332-7361, 3530 Pāpālina Road, Kalāheo, open daily 8-5; Visitor Center, 808-742-2623, Lāwa‘i Beach Road, Po‘ipū. Allerton Garden Tour, Tues.-Sat. (4 times per day), 2½ hour tour. McBryde Garden Tour, Mondays only (2 tours), www.ntbg.org. Directions: Take Kaumuali‘i Highway (Hwy. 50) to Kōloa Road (Hwy. 530), near Mile Marker 11, to Po‘ipū Road, go right, and then take right fork, Lāwa‘i Road. Garden entrance is located across from Spouting Horn.]

Shipwreck Beach (Keoniloa Bay)

Located in front of the Hyatt Regency Kaua‘i is a nice stretch of sand called Shipwreck Beach, named after a wrecked vessel that once adorned the site. The shorebreak sometimes attracts experienced surfers and body boarders, but create dangerous conditions for the inexperienced swimmer.

Makawehi Point, on the left (east) end of the beach, is frequented by fishermen as well as kids jumping from the cliff. Anne Heche and Harrison Ford jumped from these rocks in 6 Days/7 Nights. The lithified cliffs in this area were formed from sand dunes during the last ice age, and are a great place for hiking and exploring.

[Shipwreck Beach—Directions: Take public access road between Po‘ipū Bay Resort Golf Course and the Hyatt Hotel

Māhā‘ulepū Beach and Coastline

Māhā‘ulepū Beach, located a couple of miles past Shipwreck Beach, is isolated and untouched by development. Beyond the sea cliffs are beautiful, white-sand beaches, including sheltered coves and tide pools.

Onshore are lithified sand dunes created about 11,000 years ago by rising sea levels that turned the sand into solid limestone. Later erosion by wind and rain created the many strange formations that may be seen there today. This land was inhabited by Hawaiians in ancient times.

Walking east along the beach for about ten minutes leads to Kawailoa Bay, which is also surrounded by sea cliffs and sand dunes. About 1/3 mile (.5 km) west, just past a stream, is a short trail that leads to a cinder cone with a cave in the center.

[Māhā‘ulepū Beach and Coastline—Directions: Take Po‘ipū Road (Hwy. 520) past Hyatt Regency onto the dirt road and go 1.8 miles (2.9 km), turn right at stop sign and go past gatehouse to parking area at end of road. Follow the trail on the right to the beach. Open 7:30 to 6 during winter months, and 7:30 to 7 during summer months.]

88 Places of Kobo Daishi

This Buddhist holy place near Lāwa‘i includes 88 miniature shrines, each made of cement and named for a Buddhist saint. Sacred sands buried beneath the shrines came from the original 88 Holy Places, which was built by the revered Shingon leader Kobo Daishi, about 1,000 years ago. According to Shingon tradition, worshiping at the site will release one from the 88 human sins symbolized by the shrines.

[88 Places of Kobo Daishi—Directions: A trail to the shrine begins near utility pole #344 about 200 yards (183 m) west of Wawae Road on Kaumuali‘i Highway (Hwy. 50), or go just a short distance on Wawae Road makai (toward the ocean) from Kaumuali‘i Highway (Hwy. 50).

Kalāheo

Kalāheo and east to Lāwa‘i is cattle country. Local farmers in this area also raise poultry and grow coffee. In 1860, Duncan McBryde leased the land and started a cattle ranch. He also married Elizabeth Moxley, and one of their six children was Walter McBryde who started sugarcane operations on the land. The McBryde Sugar Company was incorporated in 1899.

The Kalāheo lands were later made available at low rates to homesteaders as part of an agreement with Hawai‘i’s Territorial Government. Many descendants of the region’s original sugarcane workers still live throughout the area, including a significant Portuguese population.

The town’s commercial center consists of a few stores and a post office at the intersection of Hwy. 50 and Pāpālina Road.

Kukuiolono Park

Atop a hill south of Kalāheo is Walter McBryde’s former estate, now known as Kukuiolono Park, including a 9-hole golf course as well as a Japanese garden and other gardens. Also at the site are a variety of culturally significant stones that were gathered from around Kaua‘i.

The stones at Kukuiolono include Pōhakuloa, said to symbolize a fish god, and the bowl-shaped stone called Pōhaku Awa, the fish stone said to have been used to hold fish being transferred to upland ponds from Nōmilu Pond near the ocean.

Walter McBryde is buried near the 8th tee, near his prized Japanese garden. Kukuiolono (“Lono’s light”[vii]) is said have once been the sight of where signal fires (torches) were lit to help guide ocean travelers back to shore in their canoes.

[Kukuiolono Park—Directions: From Kaumuali‘i Highway (Hwy. 50), just east of Highway 540, take Papālina Road (at the stop light) ¾ mile (1.2 km) to Pu‘u Road and then turn right through the stone archway.]

Hanapēpē / Port Allen

Hanapēpē, located just past ‘Ele‘ele, a, is touted as the “Biggest Little Town on Kaua‘i.” A fork in the road off of Kaumuali‘i Highway (Hwy. 50) leads directly to Hanapēpē’s main street, Hanapēpē Road, which was featured in The Thornbirds, a television miniseries. Today Hanapēpē is primarily a farming town and grows much of Kaua‘i’s produce.

Port Allen is western Kaua‘i’s main port, located just east of Hanapēpē. Port Allen is a popular departure point for boats tours, and is also the headquarters of McBryde Company, which formerly ran a sugar plantation there, and now grows coffee on about 3,400 acres (1,376 ha), making it the largest coffee plantation in the Hawaiian Islands.

Not far from the coffee production facility is the Kaua‘i Coffee Museum and Visitor Center, located in the former sugar camp called Numila, west of Kalāheo. The Visitor Center is located in two restored camp houses (plantation worker houses).

One of the houses serves as a gift shop while the other exhibits items from Hawai‘i’s sugar era, including old coffee roasters and grinders. Free coffee samples are provided along with information about coffee processing. Outside you can view the coffee trees.

[Kaua‘i Coffee Museum and Visitor Center, 808-335-0831.]

Hanapēpē Valley Overlook

This overlook of Hanapēpē Valley is located at Mile Marker 14 and provides a great view of the expansive valley with its red-edged cliffs.

The lands makai (toward the ocean) were the site of an 1824 battle that took place when George P. (Prince) Kaumuali‘i, also known as Humehume, the son of Kaua‘i’s former paramount ruler King Kaumuali‘i, led a revolt on Kaua‘i seeking independence from King Kamehameha II (Kalaninui ‘Iolani Liholiho).

Kuhina Nui (Premier) Ka‘ahumanu, the former queen as wife of King Kamehameha I, helped to stop the rebellion with the assistance of Kalanimoku [Kālaimoku; William (Billy) Pitt].

Humehume was defeated in the battle and was taken prisoner along with his wife Betty, the daughter of Isaac Davis [‘Aikake]. Humehume remained imprisoned on O‘ahu until his death of influenza on May 3, 1826. (See Chapter 11, Timeline: 1824.)

[Hanapēpē Valley Overlook, Kaumuali‘i Highway (Hwy. 50), Mile Marker 14.]

Salt Ponds

Salt Ponds is a traditional Hawaiian salt-gathering area located on the western edge of Hanapēpē. Shallow, mud-lined beds (salt pans) are used to allow the sun to evaporate seawater, leaving behind crystals of pa‘akai (salt), which is tinted red by Kaua‘i’s iron-rich earth. This site is the last of the natural salt ponds still in use in the Hawaiian Islands.

Just past the salt ponds is Salt Pond Beach Park, with picnic and camping facilities as well as a lifeguard station. A reef partially protects the sandy beach, and a shallow cove area provides safe swimming. A nice park area also make Salt Ponds a popular spot for picnics..

[Salt Pond Beach Park, Hanapēpē. Directions: On Kaumuali‘i Highway (Hwy. 50) near the 17 Mile Marker, take Lele Road (Hwy. 543) about ½-mile (.8-km) south, then go right on Lokokai.]



[i] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[ii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[iii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[iv] p. 182. Seiden, Allan. Hawai‘i: The Royal Legacy. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 1992.

[v] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[vi] George Wilcox had studied at Yale College’s Sheffield Scientific School, where he earned an engineering degree that also helped him plan and build ditches to irrigate his Grove Farm Plantation.

[vii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.