Kilauea’s rich cousin, Princeville (dubbed ‘Haolewood’) is a methodically landscaped resort community that is about as carefully controlled – and protected – as a film set, especially when it actually is a film set. Its body is made up of high-end resorts, finely manicured golf courses, and a mixture of cookie-cutter residences, vacation rentals, and condominium complexes.
While the North Shore is Kauaʻi’s island within the island, Haʻena is the island within the North Shore. Rural, remote, resplendent and idyllic, it’s also a site of controversy, as many of the luxury homes on the point were built on top of ʻiwi kupuna (ancient Hawaiian burials). Two tsunamis struck Haʻena in the 20th century: the first in 1946 and the second in 1957.
A popular destination for locals spending the day or weekend camping, fishing, diving or just ‘beaching’ it, ʻAnini is unsullied, revered and golden. To get here, cross Kalihiwai Bridge – the swooping one with a distractingly incredible view – go up the hill and turn right onto (the second) Kalihiwai Rd, bearing left onto ʻAnini Rd soon thereafter.
Between Haʻena and Hanalei rests this little spot marked by the ‘Last Chance’ Wainiha General Store. Steeped in ancient history, the narrow, green recesses of Wainiha Valley were the last hideout of the menehune, the legendary little people who are believed to have been living on Kauaʻi when the ancient Polynesians arrived.
On turning out of Hanalei Bay one is immediately at the will of a dramatic coastal contour. The road winds its way around cliffside points which offer quick glimpses of what’s ahead, then swoops through pasture-filled valleys and leads all who follow towards the grand finale – the start of the Na Pali Coast State Park.
Sandwiched between Kilauea and ʻAnini, Kalihiwai (‘water’s edge’ in Hawaiian) is a hidden treasure that’s easy to pass by. Most venture here to Kalihiwai Beach, an ideal spot for sunbathing and sandcastle building that is remote, small and surrounded by lush grounds. Kalihiwai Rd was at one point a road that passed Kalihiwai Beach, connecting with the highway at two points.
Though it’s a tidbit of useless knowledge, it’s obligatory to mention that this beach is where the famous scene in which Mitzi Gaynor declared her intent to ‘wash that man’ out of her hair was shot for the 1958 movie South Pacific. The beach, though beautiful, is known on-island as one of the most dangerous for visitors (save Queen’s Bath).