Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kauai's Limahuli Garden is Peace on Earth

On sunny days, things can get hectic on Kauai's north shore at the end of the road, which is both the beginning of the fabled Kalalau Trail along the Napali Coast, and the site of Ke'e Beach, a snorkeler's delight. For guaranteed quiet and beauty that shouts to the heavens, pull in about .25-mile before road's end at Limahuli Garden, one of the country's five National Tropical Botanical Gardens (three of which are on Kauai).

Paths wander from the Edenlike terraces of the lower gardens to upper view knolls just below the serrated ridge of Makana—called "Bali Hai" in the movie South Pacific. Both native Hawaiian plants and those brought by the voyaging Polynesians thrive here. Large mango, autograph, and other broadleaf trees shade the upper garden. A stream rushes from the valley's higher reaches. The nominal admission charge to the nonprofit garden includes a booklet that is one of the best plant books available. Page 31 of Kauai Trailblazer has more details.