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CruiseDirection - Magazine May 2019

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Nawiliwili

Nawiliwili is the gateway to the Hawaiian ‘Garden Island’ of Kauai, as well as being the main port, founded in 1930, for the area. Kauai is the most northerly of the Hawaiian Islands and is also the oldest at five million years, the greenest and the wettest. Captain James Cook is credited with first discovering Kauai when he set foot in Waimea Bay in 1778. Apart from being wet, the climate is temperate with an average July temperature of 82°F and an average winter one of 62°F. Though it rains a lot, it is never really cold.  

With a population of around 5000, Nawiliwili is not so much about fun and sun, but its spectacular surroundings and what you can do there. One of the sights not to be missed is the volcanic and pre-historic looking Na Pali coastline. For new arrivals to Nawiliwili, the ‘garden isle’ scene is set immediately by the lush green of the countryside and the brilliant colours of the abundant tropical flowers.

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Why visit Nawiliwili ?


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Discovered by Captain James Cook

The gateway to the Hawaiian Garden Island of Kauai

The name Nawiliwili came from the Wiliwili tree, which once grew profusely on the island and which is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. Sadly, this tree is now under threat by a virus thought to have been brought from Asian countries. The high rainfall, of more than 400 inches a year, ensures perennial lush vegetation. It also guarantees excellent local produce such as sugar, pineapple, papaya, banana, taro and other tropical fruits. Visitors are encouraged to try the fruit straight from the trees. The much admired fern grotto and innumerable waterfalls on the island are also a direct result of the high rainfall.  

It is possible that the amount of rain is also responsible for the Mokihana or green berry, which grows only on Kauai. The intoxicatingly scented Mokihana is the island’s official flower. Myth and legend has it that the Menehune, or ‘little folk’ of the forests, live entirely on the Mokihana berry and this is the reason why they are found exclusively on Kauai. The Menehune are said to be the tireless worker friends of the locals and their specialty is cutting and shaping rocks for walls and roads. Some native Hawaiians believe that a portion of road, today called the Menehune Ditch, was built by the shy fairy folk who come out only at night to avoid being discovered. It is also said that they complete every project in one night.  

Among the many attractions, in or around Nawiliwili, are world-class golf courses, which are cut into the natural scenery. Waimea, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, is a short helicopter ride away. Numerous films have been made on Kauai and the locations may be visited. “South Pacific”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “Blue Hawaii”, “Gilligan’s Island” and many others, were all made here.  

A popular treetop cable-harness experience is also available to those fit and fearless enough to enjoy the adrenaline rush. Not only do you zip across jungle treetops, but you do it several times, at different levels and in different ways. All local tours and experiences include detailed guided talks on the culture, myths and legends of the area. There are hikes to the Uluwehi Falls, two mile kayaking on the Wailua River, rare trips on remote, off-limit back roads used only by cane workers, tours to the Kilohana crater and more kayaking on the Huleia River. Nawiliwili Port was built at the mouth of this river and the opening scenes of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” were filmed there.

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