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Not only does the Garden Isle of Kauai’s wondrous set of natural features make it distinctive from the other islands, its place in Hawaiian history makes it truly unique.
There is no road that goes all the way around Kauai in a tidy circle. Once you see the amazing Na Pali coastline you will understand why. So we recommend dividing the island into 2 portions for your sightseeing adventures. Each deserves one day of your time.
Feel yourself slip into the friendly laid back personality of the island as you visit North and Eastern Kauai and the beach resort areas of Hanalei and Princeville. The tour continues all the way to the end of the road at Ke’e Beach.
Sample delicious smoothies and shave ice flavored with local tropical fruit, while you stroll the shops in the vibrant town of Kapa’a. A trip to view Wailua Falls, one of Kauai’s most popular, is not to be missed.
In Southern and Western Kauai you can drive under a canopy Tree Tunnel of 500 trees, over a 100 years old, and see the island’s most famous blowhole; Spouting Horn.
Pick up a local souvenir as you wander the shops and galleries in the artsy town of Hanapepe. We travel up Kauai’s volcanic mountains to Grand Canyon of the Pacific, the superb Waimea Canyon and continue to the awe-inspiring viewpoints of Koke’e Park perched above the Na Pali Coast.
It’s also the best place to see endangered monk seals, often lazing on north shore beaches and around Poipu.
There are no official start locations for this tour, simply join the route wherever is closest to you. All driving directions are provided in the tour audio.
If dividing the island into 2, we would recommend 5-8 hours for each section. The driving time without stops from Princeville to Waimea Canyon is about 2 hours, so expect to spend a full day out if starting in the north part of the island.
For the north and eastern section, the driving distance is about 40 miles one way from Lihue. From Lihue to Waimea Canyon is approximately 65 miles.
It’s a little too much to try and see everything in one day. We recommend to give yourself a minimum of 2 days of car touring; one day for the north and eastern parts like Hanalei and Kapaa. Use the other day for Waimea Canyon and Poipu which are accessed from the south side of the island.
The Na Pali Coast is extremely mountainous and there is no road access. The best place to see this amazing coastline other than a helicopter sightseeing trip is to look down from the viewpoints in Koke’e Park, which is at the end of the Waimea Canyon Road.
Those who want to get into some of the hidden cove beaches will hike the Kalalau Trail, though this must be pre-arranged due to parking restrictions at Ke’e Beach. There isn’t an easily accessible route from the south end at Polihale State Park.