Kauai Day Trip: Waimea Canyon, Wailua River from Oahu
Location: Waikiki, Oahu
Duration: 15 hours
Fly from Oahu to Kauai to explore the lush island’s natural beauty, including Kauai’s famously scenic Waimea Canyon, nicknamed ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific.’ Along the way, see Old Koloa Town and Waimea, the town where Captain Cook landed in 1778. Ride by Poipu Beach to visit the blowhole at Spouting Horn then take a scenic cruise on Wailu River to see Opaekaa Falls and Fern Grotto. Round-trip flights, transportation with a professional driver-guide on Kauai and the Wailu River cruise are included.
Optional early morning pickup in Oahu takes you to the airport for your 45-minute flight to Kauai. Upon landing, your guide meets you in an air-conditioned van and you set off on your island adventure.
Visit majestic Waimea Canyon, the biggest canyon in the Pacific, measuring more than 3,600 feet (1,097 meters) deep, 14 miles long (22.5 kilometers) and one mile wide (1.6 kilometers). From the lookout, get breathtaking views of the canyon’s deep green valleys and rugged cliffs.
Continue by van to the coast where you see the 19th-century Russian Fort Elizabeth, the last remaining Russian fort in Hawaii. Nearby you find Waimea town, the spot where Captain Cook first landed in the Hawaiian Islands in 1778.
Driving past Poipu Beach, stop at Spouting Horn Park, an ocean blowhole where the sea surges through a hole in the rock shelf, blasting water up to 50 feet (15 meters) into the air. Stop near Poipu Beach at a friendly local restaurant where you can purchase lunch, then follow the road through Old Koloa Town, where Hawaii’s first large sugarcane plantation started in 1834.
Further along the highway, Mount Ha’upu is said to sport a likeness of Queen Victoria’s profile on the mountainside. Whether you see the queen or not, you can be assured that the king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley, was spotted in nearby Nawiliwili Harbor when filming his 1961 hit movie Blue Hawaii.
Your Kauai adventure wraps up on the east side of Kauai with a cruise along the Wailua River. As you glide down the 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) river to Fern Grotto, your guide points out gorgeous Opaekaa Falls and Wailua Falls. Disembark at the Fern Grotto landing where musicians perform songs of ancient Hawaii, accompanied by hula dancers. A short walk through lush rain forest takes you to the fern-covered grotto.
Throughout the day, your guide shares informative and entertaining commentary about the sights and history of Kauai. At the end of the tour, you are returned to the airport for your flight back to Oahu.