Hawaii 2012 - Day 2: Wailua falls - Spouting Horn

Kauai Travel Blog

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Wailua Falls

Despite the 6-hour time difference I still woke up pretty late. The forecast for the upcoming three days was rain, rain, and more rain. But, to our pleasant surprise, the sun was shining majestically and the sky was completely blue. When we headed outside we could see our hotel for the first time in daylight. A nice garden and a beautiful beach! The building could use some paint.

We had planned a very soft day with a slow pace and not too much to do. We headed back in the direction we came from last night, towards Lihu'e. After a failed attempt to buy some bread and sweet malasadas we ended up having a Chinese take out brunch which we ate at the seaside in Nawiliwili Beach Park.

After the lunch we headed to the Wailua Falls. Those who have seen the old-time TV series "Fantasy Island" may know these falls, they were in the opening credits of the series! Wailua Falls are about 25 meters (80 ft) high and are in the south branch of the Wailua River, the only navigable river in the state of Hawaii.

Near Wailua Falls

The falls are extremely easy to visit. A nice winding road takes the visitors to the brink where a view point provides a great view on the water falling into a huge pool down below. I had read that it is possible to hike down and have a swim in that pool. At the supposed trailhead we found signs that said the trail was closed. A friendly local informed us that the sign was only put here to avoid lawsuits. He told us that the trail is fine and that the hike would be rewarding. So, we headed down.

The first meters were OK. We found ourselves in a Jurassic Park like forest (yes, Jurassic Park was shot on Kaua'i) on a hill with huge ferns and other tropical vegetation. The hill became steeper and steeper and more and more muddy. Fortunately there were all kinds of ropes and lianas on the trail that helped us to negotiate the steep sections.

When we arrived at the bottom we had the ultimate Indiana Jones feeling (yes this movie was also filmed at Kaua'i).

Shipwreck Beach
The falls looked much bigger now. There was enough vegetation to quickly and discretely slip into bathing suits and start swimming in the cool water. The man that advised us to go down had instructed us to not go to close to the falls since the falling water generated an undertow. But even far away from the falls there was still a lot of refreshing mist. While we swam there was all kinds of colored tropical birds flying above us. Sooo cool!

The way up was easier than the way down, we also discovered that we had taken the hard way down. Since we were in the ignoring mood we also ignored some signs at the brink of the falls. In the ancient times young warriors would jump off the falls here to prove their worthiness, or stupidity would qualify better. The views here were amazing, another Indiana Jones feeling. I was also feasted on a ghost bridge. The remains of a very much decayed (assumed) railroad bridge hung, almost hidden in the greenery, over the upper section of the Wailua River.

Spouting Horn

We ended our first day on Kaua'i in the south shore at Shipwreck Beach. We arrived here right before sunset when the colors of the light are most perfect. Apparently several couples found that too, when we were there we saw at least four couples getting married on the beach, almost in a straight line.

The last attraction of the day, just before sunset, was the Spouting Horn blowhole. The blowhole is actually a tube in the lava rocks near the coast line. When the high waves smash onto the lava coast, the water can continue into the narrowing tube and is finally launched at the open end located land inward. The water can shoot as high as 15 meters (50 ft).

More pictures and some videos below!

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Wailua Falls
Wailua Falls
Near Wailua Falls
Near Wailua Falls
Shipwreck Beach
Shipwreck Beach
Spouting Horn
Spouting Horn
Our hotel, the Sands Hotel
Our hotel, the Sands Hotel
At the hotel beach
At the hotel beach
Nice colors!
Nice colors!
At the seaside near Lihue
At the seaside near Lihu'e
At the seaside near Lihue
At the seaside near Lihu'e
At the seaside near Lihue
At the seaside near Lihu'e
At the seaside near Lihue
At the seaside near Lihu'e
Wailua Falls
Wailua Falls
Wailua Falls
Wailua Falls
Descending through the jungle to t…
Descending through the jungle to …
Wailua Falls
Wailua Falls
Wailua Falls
Wailua Falls
The decaying bridge at Wailua Falls
The decaying bridge at Wailua Falls
At the brink of Wailua Falls
At the brink of Wailua Falls
At the brink of Wailua Falls
At the brink of Wailua Falls
The upper Wailua River
The upper Wailua River
Near Wailua Falls
Near Wailua Falls
Shipwreck Beach
Shipwreck Beach
Shipwreck Beach
Shipwreck Beach
Shipwreck Beach
Shipwreck Beach
Shipwreck Beach
Shipwreck Beach
Spouting Horn
Spouting Horn
Spouting Horn
Spouting Horn
Near Spouting Horn
Near Spouting Horn
At the brink of Wailua Falls
Spouting Horn, near Shipwreck Bea…
Another shot of Spouting Horn
Kauai
photo by: hauteboy