Distance from Honolulu, Hawaii to Nawiliwili, Kauai, Hawaii: 92 Nautical Miles (12.7 knots)
Kauai is known as the “Garden Island”. The vegetation is very lush due to the rainfall levels. The population of Kauai stands at around 67,000 people. “Jurassic Park” was filmed in Kauai.
Both Ellen and I are on tour today (same bus even) - “Tropical Botanical Gardens - Allerton and McBryde Gardens” – so after breakfast, we meet with our group in the terminal building. Just to get us in the Hawaiian spirit, we are greeted by a very good hula girl.
Welcome to Kauai
Our guide is Soren, who is a researcher in the Allerton Garden Facility. Soren looks like a mountain man/surfer but he is knowledgeable and can speak and drive the van at the same time. That’s all I am looking for in a guide.
Soon we were on our way. Our ultimate destination will be the Allerton Gardens, which are located on the old Allerton Estate along the beach in the Lawai Valley. Since this is Kauai, the ride was very scenic.
Our first stop was the “Spouting Horn” Blowhole – legend has it that a dragon is trapped in the rocks and he is growling to be released. The Blowhole is located adjacent to the popular Poipu Beach Park.
Poipu Beach Park
The blowhole did not disappoint as several roars and spouts were seen and photographed.
Spouting Horn Blowhole
Our next stop was the “National Tropical Botanical Garden” – a US Government Chartered Institution (formed around 1964). It’s mission is to study and conserve tropical ecosystems. Sorin indicated that we might want to visit the Gift Shop and get some insect repellent. We were lucky enough to have a generous passenger on our tour willing to share her repellent with us. I actually did not see that many skeeters on our tour.
National Tropical Botanical Gardens Grounds (near entrance)
Located within the National Tropical Botanical Garden are our main stops, the Allerton (80 acres) and McBryde Gardens (200 acres). We were able to get a glimpse of the estate grounds from the road above the valley. The Allertons were a wealthy Illinois family (the estate in Illinois is now a museum). They lived here for a while and the estate was mostly constructed by their son. There is still a house down by the beach but it is not occupied. The gardens are now a research facility.
The Allerton Estate Location
The van parked at the main research facility. We stopped to check out a fish pond, that was not designed to be a pond. The heavy rain in the area flooded a tank and soon fish were brought in and now it sports both koi and frogs.
Fish and Frog Pond
What the younger Allerton tried to do was to make the outside grounds into a house. One of the features of the garden is the “Living Room”. The living room has “walls” made of trees and features a fountain in the center.
Living Room Fountain
Just beyond the Living Room was another pool and statue of Apollo.
Apollo Pool and Statue
As we continued our walk, Soren pointed out a waterfall constructed of shells. Authentic Shells had been replaced by manufactured replicas. The fountain was unique and interesting.
A Bamboo Tree Grove
Our tour of the grounds took us to some strange banyan trees. These trees have much of their roots exposed. Even more interesting is the fact that these trees will wrap around other trees and literally strangle them until their sap won’t flow.
Below is a close up of a “Strangler Tree”. Soren also pointed out that this particular tree was in “Jurassic Park” (the tree where children found some dinosaur eggs). It was a big and creepy tree.
Soren told us that the Bougainville Trees found on the sides of the hills were a favorite of Hawaiian Queen Emma.
Queen Emma’s Bougainville Trees
Other sites along the way:
Creek and Unusual Foliage
Statue of a Deer
The tour stopped at a very unusual fountain area known as the Mermaid Room. The fountain had a ribbon like look and two similar but different Mermaid Statues at the ends. The Mermaids were replicas of pieces by an Italian sculptor (his information is on a plaque on the statues). Even though they are both mermaids, one is very feminine and the other is not.
Mermaid Fountain and Statue
Another fountain on the tour contained a statue of a horse – you couldn’t tell what the statue was until you got real close.
Horse Statue Fountain
I was also brave enough to try a local citrus fruit (right off the tree) – it tasted like a very, very tart tangerine. I thought it was good. I think I was the only one willing to give this fruit a taste.
Lunch was served in a gazebo near the place when we parked the van. There was a choice of chicken or veggie wraps, Maui Gold pineapple, assorted chips in bags, and Hawaiian Ice tea (cans). The veggie wraps (the server made me take two – they were small) were very good and the pineapple wonderful. The iced tea was pretty standard but overall the lunch was very good – just what we needed after the huge meals on the ship.
After lunch, we made our final stop – Waihulili Falls. to get there, you had to unlock a gate and take a short walk to the falls. The falls weren’t awe inspiring but the site was scenic.
We hopped back in the bus for the ride home.
On the way, Soren told us that the tall mountain in the distance was a cinder cone from the last eruption on Kauai.
Back at the Pier
It had been a long day so we decided not to take the shuttle to any of the nearby malls and tourist shopping areas. It takes some willpower not to visit the Walmart in Nawiliwili.
We watched the sail away from Deck 15. One thing I didn’t notice on our past stays here is the terrific golf course off the port side.
Nawiliwili Sail Away w Kimo and Lokelani
Showtime tonight was Dwight Blake (Crooner Bar singer) doing “A Salute to Sir Elton John” – did not attend.
A nice day in Kauai.