Thursday, May 01, 2014

Getting Lost in Magical Kauai: Hanalei

Getting lost in a magical island sounds like a great adventure!  Not that we got lost physically, but we fell into its magical spell.  To me, Kauai is the most beautiful island in Hawaii.  It sits in the Northernmost part of the group of Hawaiian islands.

Instead of going the usual touristy thing to visit Waimea Canyon, which is the popular Grand Canyon of Hawaii, we ventured out into the more rugged and off the beaten path Kauai with a lovely local couple, Karen and Jay, both Kauai guides, who brought us around.  We are not hikers but we love the secluded outdoor nature sceneries that simply take your breath away, where the mountains meet the sea.  And that is why Kauai is popular to moviemakers who have ventured to for those perfectly breathtaking backdrops for movies like King Kong, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jurassic Park.  More recently, movies like Lilo and Stitch, Catching Fire, Six Days and Seven Nights, and Soul Surfer, amont many others, have continued to be added to the list.

Kauai's charm is brought about by the successful preservation of this natural beauty.  Quaint charming houses and shops line Kauai's beautiful little towns tucked between valleys.  Our favorite was of course Hanalei, which is sort of an artsy sleepy town graced with timeless beauty, with population of 450.  It's popular for its art galleries and famous beaches.  Hanalei was also supposedly referenced in the song, Puff the Magic Dragon, despite no proven acknowledgement of this interpretation by the song writers.  Although from the Hanalei Pier, we can imagine the exact scenery painted by the song, complete with the autumn mist that covered the mountains shaped like a dragon which lived by the sea.

View from Hanalei Pier on a rainy afternoon

Hanalei Pier on a rainy afternoon
Black Pot Beach
Families enjoying Black Pot Beach
Surfers at Black Pot Beach

Nearby from the pier, we found some of the sites that make up Hanalei's character and charm.

Just by the stream off the ocean
Someone's backyard

Wai'oli Hui'ia Church, one of the most historic churches

Hanalei Bay is also popular for the movies South Pacific, Lilo and Stitch and the Descendants.  The famous song "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Out of My Hair" in South Pacific was also filmed in nearby Lumahai Beach.

Rainy afternoon at the Lumahai Beach
Lumahai Stream links from the ocean on the right
Some of the breathtaking views as we were waiting to pass the one-lane bridge leaving Hanalei:

Tall and thin pine trees and what seemed like vine-like plans
Feels like Christmas ;-)

Hanalei was once a great producer of Taro (kalo in Hawaiian), and many of the wet taro fields are seen along the way.  I've had taro back home but never really seen taro plants.  The taro plants are easily identifiable by their large heart-shaped leaves.  The Hawaiians use the taro to produce poi, which is Polynesian staple food, mashed into a paste like consistency.  Of course, these days, other varieties of products are made from taro including taro chips, etc.

Wet taro patches (sorry, not a very good photo)
Taro chips

Till we see each other again, Hanalei!

You can also read the rest of our Kauai journey here:

Getting Lost in Magical Kauai: Wailua Falls, Kealia Beach and Anahola Beach

Getting Lost in Magical Kauai: Kilauea Lighthouse, Kong Mountain, Coco Palms, Nawiliwili Harbor


daphne said...

THANK YOU for the provided information, very helpful in planning my trip!

Tina L said...

Happy to help! Happy Travels to you!