Kauai is Hawaii's forth largest island and is sometimes called the "Garden Isle". The island is home to a variety of outdoor activities including kayaking, snorkelling, hiking or simply relaxing. Some parts of Kauai are only accessible by sea or air, revealing views beyond your imagination.

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About Kauai

General Information About Kauai

Kauai is Hawaii's forth largest island and is sometimes called the "Garden Isle", which is an entirely accurate description. Kaua'i is geologically the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands and northernmost island in the Hawaiian chain is draped in emerald valleys, sharp mountain spires and jagged cliffs, aged by time and the elements. Centuries of growth have formed tropical rainforests, forking rivers and cascading waterfalls. Some parts of Kauai are only accessible by sea or air, revealing views beyond your imagination.

Image Source: Hawaii Tourism Authority. Couple on bluff overlooking Kalalau Valley
Couple on bluff overlooking Kalalau Valley
Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)
Tor Johnson

Kaua'i's origins are volcanic, the island having been formed by the passage of the Pacific Plate over the Hawaii hotspot. The highest peak on this mountainous island is Kawaikini at 5,243 feet. The second highest peak is Mount Wai'ale'ale near the centre of the island, 5,148 feet above sea level. One of the wettest spots on earth, with an annual average rainfall of 460 inches is located on the east side of Mount Wai'ale'ale. The high annual rainfall has eroded deep valleys in the central mountains, carving out canyons with many scenic waterfalls.

On the west side of the island, Waimea town is located at the mouth of the Waimea River whose flow formed Waimea Canyon one of the world's most scenic canyons, and which is part of Waimea Canyon State Park. At 3,000 feet deep, Waimea Canyon is often referred to as "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific". Kokeo Point lies on the south side of the island. The Na Pali Coast is a centre for recreation in a wild setting, including kayaking past the beaches, or hiking on the trail along the coastal cliffs. There is another headland, Kuahonu Point, on the south-east of the island.

Tourism is Kaua'i's largest industry. Kapa'a is the largest city in Kaua'i. The city of Lihu'e, on the island's southeast coast, is the second largest city on the island. The peaceful town of Hanalei is also worth visiting, as is the historic town of Hanapepe.

Beyond Kauai's dramatic beauty, the island is home to a variety of outdoor activities. Kayak the Wailua River, snorkel on Poipu Beach. Hike the trials of Kokee State Park. Even go ziplining above Kauai's lush valleys or visit the sugar plantation town of Koloa. But it is the island's laid-back atmosphere and rich culture found in its small towns and along its one-lane bridges that make it truly timeless. Make your escape to the island and discover the undeniable allure of Kauai.

For more information on where to stay and what to do, visit our Kauai directory.

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