Sunday, June 2, 2013

By Land, Sea, and Sky: Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge & Lighthouse

Kauai has some world-class outdoor wonders, but none more striking than the Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge that hangs 200-feet above crashing waves on the north shore. On a given day (and using binoculars that are provided for free) you may see the who's-who of Hawaiian wildlife. Soaring above are tropicbirds, Laysan albatrosses, and frigatebirds, while waddling in the grasses are nene, or Hawaiian goose, the state birds. In the seas are breaching whales (winter months) and spinner dolphin, and hauled out on reefs are Hawaiian monk seal, an endangered species that is the only mammal (besides a bat) to be native to Hawaii.

Shearwaters and red-footed boobies nest in the cliffs and flit about on updrafts. As a bonus, you can take a gander at the historic lighthouse, which has been restored in recent years. Admission is low cost, and the vistiors center has eye-catchng educational displays, as well as many items that will complete the gift list. This is one of the top attractions in the state, and it seldom feels crowded.

Put Secret Beach and Kilauea Bay on your to-do list the same day. Directions in your Kauai Traiblazer.