Regions of Kauai and Favorite Movie Moments

April 25, 2017 at 4:35 pm

Aerial landscape view of spectacular Na Pali coast, Kauai, Hawaii, USA

 

The island of Kauai is the fourth largest island in the Hawaiian chain, and is also known as the Garden Isle. It is home to such majestic beauty that over 60 movies have been shot on Kauai throughout its five distinct regions. I encourage you to be your own director or photographer as you visit Lihue, South Shore, the East side a.k.a. Coconut Coast, the West Side, and North Shore.

Jurassic trees in Allerton Garden

Lihue: Huleia River can be reached by air or accessed on kayak. It is where the Raiders of the Lost Ark was filmed when you see that initial temple scene. And if you travel to the Nawiliwili Harbor, some scenes will remind you of Jurassic Park: The Lost World. While you are in Lihue, take a peek inside the Kauai Museum where you will find some great local art and learn about the island’s history. And head to the Grove Farm Homestead Museum to see what life was like back in the farming days.

East Side (Coconut Coast): If you are a fan of Blue Hawaii, Lydgate State Park served as a key spot for this popular Elvis Presley movie. Meanwhile, get yourself good and wet at Wailua Falls, one of the tallest falls on the island. It is also where Fantasy Island, the TV show was filmed. Who can forget that famous line, “The plane! The plane! For the films Blue Hawaii and Islands in the Stream, the gorgeous Wailua River served as an idyllic back drop. Meanwhile, amazing Opaekaa Falls was the site for The Wackiest Ship in the Army, a 1960 flick starring Jack Lemmon. This 151-foot waterfall flows over volcanic eruptions and can be found at the Wailua River State Park. Opaekaa means “rolling shrimp” which were once found in its waters.

North Shore: Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Lighthouse represents one of the famed sites included in the Disney animation, Lilo & Stitch. It is also a coveted locale for bird watching. Pay a nominal fee at the Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge (on the same property) and see if you can spy a red-footed boobie! The same film features Anini Beach Park and Hanalei Bay. And do you recall the musical South Pacific? Key shooting locations included the Lumahai Beach and the Makua Tunnels Beach which is particularly known for great snorkeling and scuba diving. And when you take a speed boat or hike out to Na Pali Coast, note to yourself that this familiar scenery was featured in Jurassic Park: The Lost World and Six Days/Seven Nights.

West Side: Waimea Canyon is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Do come here for hiking and plenty of picture taking. This deep green canyon is featured in films such as Donovan’s Reef, Honeymoon in Vegas, Lilo & Stitch. Hanapepe Town, sighted for Flight of the Intruder, Lilo & Stitch, and Thornbirds, is also the art capital of Kauai. You’ll have to come here to take home an art treasure and discover your new favorite artist.

South Shore: Manawaiopuna Falls, seen only by air, can also be seen in the first Jurassic Park. And when you see the movie, it will also give you a great glimpse of the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s Allerton Garden. You will have to make a day trip to come out. Other tourist sites include the Spouting Horn blowhole for photo opportunities and Poipu Beach Park for picnics and swimming. Old Koloa Town is where you will get your shopping fix as you meander through restored plantation buildings.

The list of movies continues to grow as YouTube videographers and Hollywood directors continue to draw inspiration from the Garden Isle. Have a movie you have seen shot in Kauai not listed here? Give me a holler! Aloha for now.

 

 

Kathy Chin Leong is an award-winning travel journalist who has trekked the world. As founder of www.bayareafamilytravel.com, she is passionate about helping people step out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves to try new things and visit new places. Her work can be found in National Geographic Books, Sunset Magazine, and many others. 

 

 

Cultural Stirrings in Maui

March 17, 2017 at 8:21 pm

Landscape view of bamboo forest and rugged path on Pipiwai trail, Maui, Hawaii

You’ve visited Maui umpteen times. You do the same thing- you relax, you eat out, you read a book, and maybe work up the energy to embark on a hike or two. Now, listen up: on your next trip to this fair island, tackle your tropical vacation by incorporating culture into your daily happenings. By tapping the authentic side of Maui, your week will be enriched, and you’ll expand your appreciation for the traditions of Hawaii, and you’ll be a better person for it. Trust me!

Art Galleries- For a fascinating way to explore the island, bop around the different sections of Maui to find small galleries along the way. There seems to be a fantastic crop of artists in Hawaii, and you will find phenomenal sculpture, paintings, fabric art, and mixed media that echo the Maui soul. The website, www.prideofmaui.com has a listing of what it considers as the top ten art galleries of the island.

Heritage Sites-Two designated Hawaii Heritage Sites have been selected in Maui for their distinct impact on culture and history and the environment. First up is the lush Iao Valley State Park where King Kamehameha conquered the Maui Army in a forceful battle in 1790. The other is the Haleakala National Park, home to a mammoth-sized volcanic crater. Popular activities are riding a van to the top to see the sunrise and biking back down or taking a bus to see the sunset.

Music and Entertainment– The comforting, breezy music classic to Hawaii can be heard in public places including the Whalers Village shopping mall, downtown Lahaina, and many restaurants, bars, and lounges throughout the island. Of note is the slack key guitar music of George Kahumoku Jr., a four-time Grammy award winning artist. You can find him and his entourage playing at the Napili Kai Beach Resort Pavilion on Wednesdays and Thursdays. This casual concert is welcoming and fun for the entire family.

And do not leave Maui without attending the irrepressible Ulalena show at the Maui Theater. This $9.5 million production combines dance, music, multimedia, and acrobatics to illustrate Hawaii’s history. And no, it’s not cheesy. Ethereally elegant, professionally-crafted with high-end sets, this is an unforgettable performance that touches the heart.

Art and Culture – A trek to the Maui Arts and Cultural Center is worth the drive. Each time you visit it will be different for programs change all the time. Here, you can book a ticket to see a high-quality concert or dance exhibition. The art gallery also showcases regional and international artwork.

And at the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center, you can wander the grounds of the famous Kaluanui Estate, where it is located, and visit its history room. You can watch sculptors, glass blowers, painters, and other visual artists in action. If you plan ahead, you can register to take a one day or half day workshop to learn a Hawaiian craft.
Cowboy History- Wander into Makawao to hear stories about the panoilo, or Hawaiian cowboys where they have their own culture. Located “up island”, this low-key town has also become an artist enclave. Be a cowpoke at Piiholo Ranch, and saddle up for horseback riding. If you want to experience ranch life, reserve a spot at Piiholo to be a Maui cowboy for a day. By five or six o’clock you’ll be famished, so stay in town for a juicy steak dinner at the Makawao Steak House and talk story with a local.

Do you have other Hawaiian cultural activities not listed here? Respond to this post with your ideas and share with the California-Tour.com community!

 

 

 

 

 

Kathy Chin Leong is an award-winning travel journalist who has trekked the world. As founder of www.bayareafamilytravel.com, she is passionate about helping people step out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves to try new things and visit new places. Her work can be found in National Geographic Books, Sunset Magazine, and many others. 

Hiking in Hawaii

January 23, 2013 at 12:30 am

 

While there are many spectacular destinations to hike around the globe, the Hawaii islands offer its visitors a plethora of excellent hiking trails. There are nine island masses that make up Hawaii: Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, and Kahoolawe. Each island has its own unique geography and history. Whether you are interested in a physically strenuous, but very fulfilling hike, or if you enjoy a less challenging scenic hike, the Hawaii Islands are the place to go.

Hiking Na Pali Coast in Kauai

If you are seasoned hiker, or even a beginner, there are numerous trails in Kauai to satisfy all your hiking needs. Much of Kauai is inaccessible by road, making it the perfect hiking destination. The Kalalau Trail along the Napali Coast is 11 miles long. While this trail is considered challenging, don’t let that stop you from exploring its beauty for at least 2 miles to see Hanakapi’ai Beach. The view of Kauai’s North Shore is breathtaking – with the lush green mountain terrain on one side and the steep cliff drop towards the powerful ocean below, the Kalalau trail is not one to miss.

There are also many famous hiking trails on the Big Island. King’s Trail, also known as Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, is located on the Kona Coast. It is a 175-mile long trail that travels through numerous ancient Hawaiian settlements.  You will come across temples, petroglyphs, and even fishing shrines! In addition to the cultural and historical richness of the trail, the natural resources will be surrounding you in abundance. Look for the native sea turtle habitats – when the water is calm you may see turtles in small coves along the shore.

Pipiwai Trail waterfalls, Maui, Hawaii

The Pipiwai Trail in Haleakala National Park in Maui offers its visitors a glimpse of the island’s beautifully diverse scenery. Don’t forget to pick up some bamboo hiking poles at the trailhead. The hike has some steep slopes in the first half mile that can be difficult to maneuver, especially in the rainy season from November through March. Highlights on the trail include sights such as a majestic banyan tree, a bamboo forest, and cascading waterfalls. Waimoku Falls, located at the end of the trail, drops 400 feet off a sheer cliff of black lava rock.

View from Diamond Head

Have you even wanted to hike up a volcano? If you are planning a visit to Waikiki, the Diamond Head summit trail, or Le’ahi in Hawaiian, is not to be missed. Diamond Head received its name by British sailors in the 19th century who thought they saw diamonds on the volcano slopes. Although there were no diamonds to be found, the name stuck. This 560 foot climb can be done in about an hour and any able-bodied person can enjoy its spectacular 360° views. From Waikiki, to the Pacific Ocean, to Ko’olau Mountains, the views are absolutely stunning. Bring water and sunscreen with you on the hike to the Diamond Head crater, as it can get hot on the trail and a nice breeze and shade are sometimes hard to come by.

Always take precautions while hiking. Be sure to wear shoes that you don’t mind getting wet and/or muddy. It is also important to always bring water and food, as the hiking can work up an appetite. Even if you are a seasoned hiker, it is best to hike with a partner. Not only will you be able to share the sights with someone, but it’s always nice to have a helping hand on those steeper slopes. Hawaii is gorgeous with its pristine natural beauty and its magnificently breathtaking views. There are many well-tread trails that wind around the islands of Hawaii, don’t miss your opportunity to explore as many of them as you can. For information on Hawaii vacations, check out California Tours Hawaii Packages and book your flight and hotel today!

For more trail information check out the following links:
Kauai: http://www.hawaii-guide.com/kauai/hiking_trails
Hawaii: http://www.gohawaii.com/
Maui: http://www.gohawaii.com/maui/guidebook/topics/hiking-on-maui
Oahu: http://www.gohawaii.com/oahu

Kauai – A True Outdoor Paradise

January 2, 2012 at 5:00 am

Kauai — A True Outdoor Paradise

The remarkable, opening scene of verdant mountains and undulating valleys from the legendary flick, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” was captured in none other than lush Kauai. And it’s no secret that the velvety greens and sapphire blues of the landscape and ocean have enticed producers worldwide to select Kauai as the backdrop for nearly one hundred films. Elvis Presley’s famous “Blue Hawaii” was shot on location. And Jurassic Park, King Kong, and even the iconic TV show Gilligan’s Island locked in celluloid dreamscapes on this island gem.

At its very heart, Kauai remains true to its nickname, the Garden Isle. Unlike bustling Oahu, and larger-than-life Hawaii Island, small Kauai takes life easy in the slow lane.  As the fourth largest island in Hawaii, with only 552 square miles, the island is segmented into five main districts: Lihue (in the south east), East Side, North Shore, South shore and West Side.

Outdoor lovers will revel in its unparalleled and haunting beauty, and it is no wonder that visitors return year after year. When you go, be sure to spend time in these five beloved locales:

1. Waimea Canyon – Plan on spending an entire day here in what is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Bring a picnic lunch and explore this breathtaking canyon  measured at one mile wide, ten miles in length and over 3,500-feet in depth. Popular are helicopter flights that take tourists above and into the canyon itself. The Kalalau Lookout, in particular, yields unspoiled views of the valley, descending 4,000 feet to the ocean.

2. Na Pali Coast – This pristine 17-mile of coastline on the North Shore is world-renowned. Be sure to jump on a chartered boat excursion to see the variety of caves, jagged mountains and cliffs which are nothing less than jaw-dropping.  It can only be accessed via sea tour, air, or foot.

3. Poipu Beach Park – On the South Shore, this lovely stretch of beach was once named American’s best beach. Why? It is ringed with palm trees, soft white sand, and provides great opportunities for snorkeling to see tropical fish up close.  The park offers restrooms, showers, picnic tables and lifeguards to keep everyone safe.  From December to May, you can see humpback whales in their glory.

4. Wailua, Hanalei, and Huleia rivers – Rent a kayak and paddle on these navigable rivers for majestic scenery you have only seen in the  movies. Sacred waterfalls, unfathomable mountains – it’s the stuff dreams are made of.  The river waters are relatively calm, and you can also take a guided tour intended for all skill levels. Also available are zipline safaris for access into private ranches and rare waterfalls near the Huleia River.  The Wailua River, however, remains one of the most popular.

5. Fern Grotto – Take a Wailua river boat ride and get an eyeful of this natural amphitheater that is so spectacular it plays hosts to weddings throughout the year. Opulent ferns create a canopy on lava rock, and a typical cruise up the river to the grotto takes about 40 minutes. A short paved walk extends from the dock to the famous grotto while Hawaiian musicians serenade in the background.

This list is a sampling of the dynamic outdoor diversions of Kauai. Whether it’s your first or fiftieth time on the Garden Isle, the charms of Kauai never grow old. For travel info, visit www.kauaidiscovery.com or call the Kauai Visitors Bureau at +1 (800) 262-1400. Check out California Tours’ Hawaii Packages and book your flight and hotel today! Aloha!

 

Kathy Chin Leong must get her Hawaii fix every two years or she will definitely suffer withdrawal symptoms. This author has written about Hawaii for Sunset Magazine, Coastal Living Magazine, Islands Magazine, TravelAge West, and www.BayAreaFamilyTravel.com