Virtuoso Traveler - June/July 2017 - 46
"The waterfall hike can
get muddy, so sturdy water
shoes are a must; you'll be glad
to have good footing."
- Suzanne Perun,
Virtuoso travel advisor,
are known to strum Hawaiian
songs on waterproof ukuleles.
The journey traverses five
tunnels, one so long (threequarters of a mile) that you
can't see the light at the end
until you're roughly halfway through. Headlamps are
provided, though our guides
encourage us to float through
the darkness of the final tunnel. Our reward: Upon exiting,
daylight appears brighter and
the vegetation more vivid.
Gently down the stream: Kayaking Wailua
River and (below) tubing a calm stretch of
Lihue's former sugarcane plantation.
TUBING IN THE FORMER LIHUE
In Kauai's fertile interior,
visitors can float down a canal while learning about the
island's rich history of sugar
production. "I've tubed the
plantation and loved it," says
Perun. "You can't help but
smile as you rush through the
fast-paced water in such a gorgeous natural setting."
The tour starts with a collection of what look like
giant floating Froot Loops.
These colorful inner tubes
serve as the craft for navigating the 2.5-mile-long canal
that once supplied the plantation with the vast quantities
of water required for growing sugarcane.
Claim a tube and begin
pinballing down the hairpin
turns, following guides who
4 6 V I R T U O S O T R AV E L E R
Just a few miles from Lihue on
the island's eastern side lies the
put-in for the Wailua River
and a portal to Kauai's Hidden
Valley.When Kauai was still
ruled by royalty, this setting
was reserved for the elite. It's
understandable, given the natural splendors found here (for
example, the fragrant awapuhikuahiwi plant, or wild ginger,
used by Hawaiians even today
as a shampoo and conditioner).
Now the valley is open to
all. Visitors can paddle for two
miles, then leave their kayaks
on a shaded bank and begin a
1.5-mile hike through moist
tropical forest. The mostly flat
trail includes a swampy stretch
but leads to a boardwalk that
keeps hikers above the mucky
depths. The destination is
worth the trek: thunderous
Uluwehi Falls (aka Secret
Falls), which plunge nearly
100 feet into a deep pool.
(KAYAKING) MICHAEL RUNKEL/GETTY IMAGES, (TUBING) STEVE BLY/ALAMY
KAYAKING & JUNGLE TREKKING
IN THE HIDDEN VALLEY