Discover the Garden Island of Hawaii at Nawiliwili Kauai, with its magnificent, diverse and extreme landscapes, from the nearly inaccessible Na’apali Coast to the wettest place on earth – the Alakai Swamp, to the colorful yet barren and beautiful Waimea Canyon. Take it all in with a helicopter tour. Then, settle into the natural beauty to enjoy the cuisine, the shopping, and the very essence of the Aloha spirit. Stroll over to Kalapaki beach for shopping. Look for the famous Nihau Shell Leis made on the island of Nihau by native Hawaiians. Enjoy the amazing locally grown tropical fruit in drinks, salads or over fresh grilled seafood in this exquisite, natural garden paradise.
Most Active or Strenuous
Minimal Activity Required
Soar over Kauai in a helicopter for a bird’s-eye view of the oldest and northernmost island in the Hawaiian chain, viewing phenomenally beautiful remote areas only accessible by air.
Depart from the pier for a brief drive to the check-in office where you will check-in for your flight, store your gear and have the opportunity for a restroom break. Re-boarding your van, you’ll transfer to the heliport site where your helicopter awaits, an aircraft with large windows made especially for sightseeing. Before long, you will take off over the wilds of Kauai, an island of emerald valleys, mountain spires, jagged cliffs and tropical rainforest.
No matter which direction you look on Hawaii’s “Garden Island,” the views are dramatic. It’s no wonder that it has long been a favorite location for feature films. Parts of “South Pacific,” “King Kong” and “Jurassic Park” were shot on the island, and you may see those locations depending on the route of the flight.
The true beauty of flying by helicopter is seeing parts of Kauai that are so rugged that they are impossible to access otherwise. For instance, most of the Napali coast is impenetrable because of steep, razor-sharp mountain pinnacles that tower over 17 miles of its shoreline.
However, you will see Napali by air, as well as secluded beaches, lush valleys dotted with waterfalls, and the crested buttes and rugged crags of Waimea Canyon. The canyon stretches more than 14 miles in length with a depth approaching 3,600 feet, characteristics that have earned it the nickname “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”
After approximately 45 minutes in the air, you will return to the heliport and then transfer to the check-in office to collect your gear. An opportunity exists to purchase a souvenir DVD before shuttling back to the pier.
Please note: There is very limited walking on this tour; however, guests must be able to enter and exit the helicopter with limited assistance. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Guests who suffer from motion sickness should take all necessary precautionary measure prior to leaving for the tour. Weather appropriate casual clothing; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Participants must provide their names and weight to the Destination Services Desk at least 48 hours in advance of the tour as the operator must receive this information 48 hours in advance. GUESTS WEIGHING 240 LBS OR MORE WILL BE REQUIRED TO PURCHASE AN ADDITIONAL SEAT.
Discover two of Kauai's most remarkable natural phenomena on this mostly panoramic tour: Waimea Canyon, which resembles a tropical Grand Canyon, and the powerful blowhole Spouting Horn.
Starting off from the pier, you'll commence a scenic 2-hour narrated drive west across the island toward Waimea Canyon, one of the true natural wonders of Kauai. En route, learn about the culture, history and legends of this beautiful "Garden Isle", so nicknamed for its lush tropical forests. Known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," Waimea is a geological wonder more than 10 miles long and filled with crested buttes, rugged crags and deep gorges. Over the millennia, the Waimea River, which originates from Mt. Wailaleale, has carved the canyon out of volcanic rock.
Stopping at the Canyon's lookout point, you'll enjoy a panoramic view of Waimea Canyon and may even see the river winding through the reddish lava bed more than 3,500 feet below. Sometimes, it's a trickle; other times it's a torrent, but the water is always red from the constant erosion of the reddish soil. In fact, Waimea means "reddish water" in Hawaiian.
Re-boarding your coach, it's a picturesque 1-hour drive to Spouting Horn, another natural phenomenon resulting from Kauai's volcanic creation. The blowhole eerily groans like a horn as it spouts water more than 50 feet into the air. According to Hawaiian legend, the sound is caused by a giant lizard that got stuck in the opening while chasing a villager. As you'll see, the groan and spray are actually the result of ocean waves crashing under the shore's lava shelf and being forced out through a small opening.
Following your time at Spouting Horn, you'll return to the pier where your tour concludes.
Please note: This tour includes a limited amount of walking, mainly at the guests' discretion during the stops. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Guests should be able to sit for extended periods in a coach seat. Casual, weather appropriate clothing and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested.
Explore the fascinating history of eastern Kauai by visiting several natural attractions and then riding a train through the grounds of a former sugar cane plantation.
Your tour begins with a short drive to Opaeka'a Falls and the Wailua River, both of which you'll see from roadside lookouts. Opaeka'a means "rolling shrimp" in Hawaiian, a reference to the freshwater crustaceans that were once plentiful here. These spectacular falls cascade down a soaring volcanic-rock cliff and make for a nice photo opportunity.
Next, you'll visit the Wailua River Complex, designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1962.The tranquil Wailua, the only navigable river in Hawaii, is just as extraordinary as it's framed by tropical landscape. Centuries ago, Hawaii's early royalty lived in the area, which was considered sacred. Poli'ahu Heiau, a place of worship that dates back to the 15th century, if not before, is a reminder of that period. Its surrounding walls were constructed without mortar by commoners using rocks from the Wailua River. The ceremonial structures inside were made with perishable materials that have long since decomposed. Nevertheless, it remains an impressive sight to see.
Continuing on, you'll visit Kilohana Plantation. Upon arrival, you'll board the train that runs through its grounds for a 40-minute fun and informative conductor-narrated tour of 105 acres of Kilohana Plantation. Originally built to transport sugar cane, the train now offers a delightful sightseeing experience during which you’ll see fruit tree orchards, sugar cane, pineapple, banana, papaya, and countless other exotic fruit and indigenous trees as well as animal pastures. Don't be surprised if the train stops for you to feed a herd of wild pigs, goats & sheep. After your train ride, enjoy some free time to explore the plantation mansion, a beautiful 16,000-square-foot home furnished with period antiques that sugar baron Gaylord Parke Wilcox built in 1936. For rum connoisseurs, the home also houses an on-site rum tasting room.
Following your time at Kilohana, you'll rejoin your coach and travel back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes a limited amount of walking, mainly at the guests' discretion during the stops. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach and train, and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Casual, weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested.
Cruise by riverboat through eastern Kauai's lush hinterlands to the natural wonder of the Fern Grotto, a picturesque prelude to seeing majestic Opaeka'a Falls.
A scenic coach drive brings you to the Wailua River Marina where you'll board a riverboat and meander inland on Hawaii's only navigable river. Relax and enjoy the passing scenery as your guide reveals the area's fascinating history and legends. The first migratory Tahitians settled here in the 12th century and Wailua became the home of Hawaii's early royalty.
As you cruise upriver, you will pass by lush tropical vegetation that creates a truly idyllic island landscape. You may also see kayakers paddling along the calm waters, open grasslands and Mt. Waialeale looming in the background. According to legend, at night ghost warriors walk the ancient river trails to and from the mountain.
Before long, you will arrive at the Fern Grotto, which was formed out of lava rock centuries ago. It's a beautiful setting, cooled by the mists of the waterfall. The fern-covered grotto acts as a natural amphitheater and the acoustics are nothing less than impressive, as you will discover by listening to Hawaiian musicians play traditional wedding songs. The Fern Grotto has long been a popular venue for weddings and it's easy to see why.
After a return cruise down the river, you will re-board your coach and drive into the Valley of the Sleeping Giant. The name derives from the outline of the ridge of nearby Nounou Mountain, which appears to have a giant sprawled across its top. A short walk here affords you a spectacular view of Opaeka'a Falls, where the north branch of the Wailua River cascades over a sheer rock cliff. Afterwards, you will drive back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes a limited amount of walking, mainly over flat surfaces. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach and touring boat, and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Casual, weather appropriate clothing and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested.
Naturally beautiful Kauai has been the setting for some of Hollywood's most famous movies and TV shows, and this tour visits many of those spots, which you're sure to recognize.
It's a relaxing drive from the pier into Kauai's spectacular countryside, a land so beautiful it's frequently featured in motion pictures and television shows. Your coach is probably more appropriately referred to as a "Theater on Wheels" because driving along, you can actually watch some of the scenes shot on Kauai on its surround-sound TV screens. The film clips will play while you're at the very locations where they were shot.
You'll see thundering Wailua Falls, which appears in the opening credits of "Fantasy Island." Nearby Opaeka'a Falls is also well known for its role in the 1960 Jack Lemmon movie "The Wackiest Ship in the Army." Then, there's gorgeous Hanamaulu Bay, where parts of the 1958 film "South Pacific" were filmed, as were many lesser-known movies such as "Voodoo Island," starring Boris Karloff.
Elvis Presley's popular "Blue Hawaii" is considered the most famous movie ever shot in Kauai. It was filmed in the Coco Palms Resort, which has been closed since Hurricane Iniki roared through in 1992. But you'll still have the rare opportunity to visit. Later, you'll see Moloa Bay and Aliomanu, both of which were featured in the pilot for "Gilligan's Island."
Not only does this comprehensive tour showcase a wealth of film locations, you'll hear what the stars did while they were here. It's not all about movies though, because you will also learn about Hawaiian myths and legends, the language and the local flora and fauna.
Before returning to the ship, you'll be treated to a relaxing lunch at a local restuarant.
Please note: This tour includes a varied amount of walking at the stops, including uneven and sandy terrain at the beach stops. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Casual, weather appropriate clothing and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested.
See some of Kauai's most beautiful scenery; first by soaring overhead in a helicopter, and then by driving along the striking North Shore on this limited participation tour.
From the pier you'll transfer via van to the town of Lihue, where you'll board a modern air-conditioned jet helicopter. During the next 45 minutes, you'll fly over some of Kauai's most dramatic, impossibly beautiful landscapes. Enjoy a bird's-eye view of lush valleys, spectacular waterfalls, and majestic Waimea Canyon on the island's western side.
Known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," Waimea is a geological wonder more than 10 miles long and filled with crested buttes, rugged crags and deep gorges. It's an amazing sight, especially from the air. You'll also soar over the Na Pali Coast, whose characteristic sheer cliffs plummet thousands of feet into the ocean.
Following your unforgettable helicopter ride, you'll re-join your van and drive to Kauai's enchanting North Shore. At the Kilauea Lighthouse, which was built in 1913 more than 200 feet above the water, you'll enjoy a stop for photos. Being a wildlife refuge, the surrounding acreage serves as a sanctuary for seabirds, and you may spot frigates, shearwaters and albatrosses.
Continuing on, you'll spend several hours exploring the luxurious Princeville area and lovely Hanalei Town, which is surrounded by fields of taro and emerald-green mountains. Be sure to take a stroll on the town's pier. Constructed in 1892, it gained fame in the classic 1957 film "South Pacific." Before returning to the pier in Nawiliwili, you will be treated to a deli-style picnic lunch at Anini Beach Park.
Please note: This tour includes a varied amount of walking at the stops, including uneven and sandy terrain at the beach stops. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and not recommended for those who suffer from motion sickness. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Participants must be able to enter and exit the helicopter on their own. Furthermore, it will be required to advise the Destination Services Desk of your weight at least 36 hours in advance of the tour's departure and guests weighing over 240 lbs. will be given a second seat and assessed an additional surcharge. A child of 23 months or less is considered a lap-child. A child 24 months or older, will occupy a seat and require a full purchase price ticket. Weights will be required of all participants, including children. Casual, weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested. In the event the flight portion of the tour is canceled due to unsafe flying conditions, a partial refund will be given. DVDs of the flight will be available from the helicopter provider at the end of the tour.
Admire the endless beauty of Kauai by cruising through the jungle to the Fern Grotto, exploring a wildlife refuge and stopping in an idyllic bay in the shadow of lush mountains.
Depart from the pier and enjoy a leisurely drive north to a marina on the Wailua River, one of the few navigable waterways in Hawaii. Starting high atop Mount Waialeale in the center of Kauai, the river tranquilly weaves through 20 miles of thick jungle.
While cruising, you will stop at the geological wonder Fern Grotto, a lava-rock cave covered with tropical flora. Being a natural amphitheater, the grotto provides a wondrous setting and fine acoustics for the musicians who will serenade you with traditional Hawaiian tunes.
Continuing on, you will head toward Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge to see its towering lighthouse and bird sanctuary. The refuge’s ocean cliffs and grassy slopes provide a fine habitat for some of the largest populations of nesting seabirds in Hawaii. Be on the look out for red-footed boobies, Laysan albatross, and wedge-tailed shearwaters.
Then, after an island picnic lunch on Anini Beach, you will be treated to a view of beautiful, crescent-shaped Hanalei Bay and its signature pier. The landmark Waioli Huiia Church stands nearby, a reminder of the missionaries who settled here in the 1830s.
Finally, you will depart the North Shore and return to Nawiliwili, but not before stopping for photos of the 150-foot Opaekaa Falls. Opaekaa means “rolling shrimp,” which were once abundant in the stream.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 90-minutes of easy to moderate walking that includes some uneven terrain and steps to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those who must utilize a walker. Guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Light-weight, weather appropriate clothing (participants should be prepared for the possibility of rain); sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
Get adventurous by riding an inner tube along a flowing manmade canal that has you traveling down cascading flumes and through several tunnels in the breathtaking Kauai backcountry.
It's a short transfer from the pier into Kauai's emerald-green interior and the historic Hanamaula Ditch. Painstakingly carved by hand out of the gorgeous countryside in the early 1900s, the canal originally served as an irrigation system for the Lihue Plantation, one of Hawaii's oldest sugar cane plantations. It takes approximately 500 gallons of water to produce one pound of sugar, so the canal was essential to business. Nevertheless, by the beginning of this century, demand waned and the plantation closed. Before long though, the canal was re-opened for float trips, as it cuts through some of the island's most beautiful and remote land, land which was never before open to the public.
Upon arrival, you will receive your safety briefing and make your way to the start point. No skills are involved in your ride other than sitting in the center of a large inner tube and going with the flow. The waters, which originate from rainwater off Mount Waialeale, will gently carry you along. Your float travels down approximately two miles of the canal, which is flanked by tropical rainforest and includes some exhilarating flumes and several tunnels. Some of the tunnels are quite lengthy, but you'll still be able to see easily as your headlamp will light the way.
Afterwards, you'll travel to a nearby swimming hole where you will have time to relax, be treated to some complimentary snacks and go swimming in the pristine waters before it's time to head back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes a limited amount of walking; however the trails can be muddy and slippery and there are several stairs to negotiate to enter the canal system. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests, those with mobility concerns, back problems, or pregnant women. It is not recommended for those who suffer from claustrophobia. Guests must be at least 5 years old and children under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian. There is a minimum height requirement of 43 inches and the maximum allowable weight is 300 lbs. Swim suits or quick drying shorts and shirts; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; insect repellant; a towel; and flat comfortable walking shoes are suggested. Water shoes and headlamps will be provided. Guests participating in any water activities do so at their own risk and responsibility. The tour operator may require participants to sign a waiver before being allowed to participate in the tour.
Horticulture buffs will love this limited participation tour of idyllic McBryde and Allerton Gardens, which National Geographic's Traveler magazine named one of the world's top 50 must-see attractions.
Departing from the pier, you will drive to the southern tip of Kauai, home to the Allerton and McBryde Gardens, which were created by a Congressional Charter and are now governed by the National Tropical Botanical Garden. First, you'll meander through Allerton Garden, which was initially designed in 1938 by millionaire Robert Allerton and his adopted son, John Gregg. The garden includes open meadows, shady ravines and rugged cliffs, all consisting of fertile volcanic soil. Certain areas are devoted to exotic palms and tropical gingers and you will find hillsides blanketed with fragrant plumeria trees. Colorful bougainvillea spills over the cliffs, and star fruit, Ceylon gooseberry, and horseradish trees flourish in the orchard.
It's a veritable paradise, as is neighboring McBryde Garden, which began to take shape in 1970. It contains the largest collection of Hawaiian plants in existence, many of them extinct in the wild. Several species of plant, such as the "canoe plant," are descendants of ones brought to Hawaii centuries ago by the founding Polynesians, who wanted to ensure that they had plants for food, buildings and medicine.
A tasty deli lunch will be served in the Canoe Gardens, before setting off to see other sights found here, including a serene waterfall and Spouting Horn, a 50-foot-high spray of saltwater caused by the ocean waves rushing under a lava shelf and then exiting through a small hole.
Following your visit, you will rejoin your transportation and return to the pier in Nawiliwili.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 3-hours of moderate walking that includes uneven natural surfaces and gravel paths. Total is distance is approximately 1 1/2 miles. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Casual, weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; insect repellant; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested.
Zip through some of Kauai’s most beautifully rugged terrain in an open-air Mudbug, an off-road vehicle made for exhilarating adventure.
Depart from the pier and drive inland, where you will soon meet up with an adventure guide at the check-in location. After a brief orientation on how to drive a Mudbug all-terrain vehicle, the guide will provide you with outerwear that will shield your clothes from the inevitable mud and water you will encounter. Then, you will ride off into the surrounding tropical forest and mountains, following a 23-mile course that presents some of the most outstanding scenery on the island.
You will wind through back roads cloaked with thick vegetation, zip over rolling hills and tear through crystal-clear mountain streams, spraying water in every direction. It’s an exhilarating experience, especially when you’re at the wheel of the Mudbug.
Another highlight is driving through a half-mile-long tunnel that was cut through a mountain to accommodate trucks hauling huge loads of sugar cane. The tunnel leads to a switchback trail deep into the interior of Kauai’s south shore.
There will be stops along the way for picnic-style lunch and to drink in the scenic beauty. If the weather permits, you will have the opportunity to swim in a mountain pool at the base of a waterfall in the foothills of craggy Mount Kahili. Following your Mudbug adventure, you will return to the check-in location where you can shower and change clothes before transferring back to the pier.
Please note: Walking on this tour is mainly at the guests’ discretion during the stops. The tour travels over rugged natural terrain and through mud and water. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests, those with mobility concerns, back or neck problems, existing heart conditions, extreme allergies to dust or pollen, recent surgery within the past 3 months, or who are or might be pregnant. A swimsuit worn under your clothes; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; insect repellent and a towel from the ship are recommended. Closed-toe shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy are mandatory. Each Mudbug vehicle holds 2 passengers.
Guests must be at least 5 years of age to participate and 16 years of age to drive one of the vehicles. Age verification will be required. Any children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian. Maximum weight is 320 lbs. per person. Those who participate in any water activities do so at their own risk and responsibility. The local operator will require guests to sign a waiver before being allowed to take part in the tour.
Soar over the Kauai backcountry on an exhilarating zipline that carries you down a mountainside into the lush valley below.
It's a 30-minute scenic transfer from the pier to the zipline, located in a remote expanse of land in the heart of the backcountry. It's an area rarely seen by the general public, but you'll view its thousands of acres from high in the sky on seven different ziplines.
After a briefing by certified instructors, you'll harness up and begin your adventure. Zipping along from platform to platform, you'll fly through the air descending the mountainsides, gliding over the valleys, and passing through openings carved out of the tropical landscape. Here, deep in Kauai's verdant interior, the native flora flourishes and the sights are spectacular in every direction. It's as if every acre is blanketed in a different shade of green.
Finally, arriving at the valley floor, you'll enjoy a light snack in a bamboo grove, where you can share the thrills of your zipline tour with the other adventurers. During free time, you can swim in a natural pool nearby, relax in the sun, or simply wander about exploring the unspoiled landscape. Afterwards, re-board your coach and drive back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes a limited amount of walking; however there are several steps to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests, those with mobility concerns, back problems, or pregnant women. It is not recommended for those who suffer from a fear of heights. Participants should be in reasonably good physical condition. Guests must be at least 12 years old and children under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian. The minimum allowable weight is 100 lbs and the maximum allowable weight is 250 lbs. Long pants and closed-toe, secured shoes are required. Long hair must be pulled back and secured with a hair tie. Sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and insect repellant are recommended. Those wishing to swim should wear a swimsuit under their clothes and bring a towel. Guests participating in any water activities do so at their own risk and responsibility. The local operator may require that participants sign a liability waiver.