Kauai is called the “Garden Isle” because of its vast tropical treasures and plant life. You get to see some very rare flora in different spots of the island as well as the most important ones in famous parks and tended gardens. 3 of the 5 national botanical gardens are actually located in the island containing indigenous and ancient vegetation dating back since its earliest days. Here are the best Kauai gardens.
The National Tropical Botanical Gardens
The 3 national tropical botanical gardens are namely Limahuli Garden & Preserve, Allerton Garden and McBryde Garden. Limahuli Garden & Preserve features about 1,000 acres of gardens in the Limahuli Valley on the north shore of the island. Allerton Garden features over 100 acres of oceanfront gardens in the Lawai Valley on the south shore of the island. McBryde Garden several endangered Hawaiian plant and animal species.
Limahuli Garden & Preserve is open all week from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. except on Monday and Saturday. You get to see the high peaks created by thousands of years of rain and wind.
A guided tour for 2 to 2.5 hours or a self-guided tour for 1 to 1.5 hours will take you through 17 acres of garden and rainforest showing the natural beauty and riches of Kauai. Taro continues to thrive on very old lava rock terraces. Some native plants in the Kauai garden were actually brought by Polynesian explorers thousands of years ago. It is ideal to bring walking shoes, mosquito repellent and hat or umbrella.
Allerton Garden is a landscaped estate location presenting special collections of Polynesian herbal plants, coffee varieties, breadfruit cultivars, native Hawaiian plants, palms and erythrinas. Guided tours last 2.5 hours including a 15-minute tram ride and an easy walk for 1 mile. The Kauai garden is open for tours from Monday to Saturday. It is recommended to bring walking shoes, mosquito repellent and hats.
The McBryde Garden has some research and conservation collections as well as a laboratory where experts continue to study the various benefits of different native Hawaiian plants. The garden is located at Lawai Valley offering self-guided tours lasting 1.5 hours including a 15-minute tram ride plus a moderate walk for 1 mile. The garden is open from Monday to Saturday and visitors are advised to bring walking shoes, mosquito repellent, hats and bottled water.
Other Great Gardens of Kauai
Smith’s Tropical Paradise features 30 acres of fruits, flowers and other native Hawaiian vegetation in the Wailua River Valley plus a captivating backdrop of fish-filled lagoons. Kukuiolono Park is found on Papalina Road, Kalaheo on the grounds of the Kukuiolono Public Golf Course. The park is just adjacent to the golf course featuring Hawaiian legend stones, panoramic views of valleys, peaks, rainforests and the coast and a mini Japanese Garden. The place is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. with no entrance fee.
Na ’Aina Kai Botanical Gardens is located at Wailapa Road, Kilauea which is a 240-acre Kauai garden containing unique garden scenes, water features, hardwood plantation, beach and over 90 bronze statues. You also get to see the beautiful orchid collection and miniature ahupua’a.
Tours are available from Tuesday through Friday all-year-round. Moir Gardens at Poipu is found on the grounds of the Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation which used to be the estate of Hawaii’s first sugar plantation manager. Moir Gardens publicly opened in 1954 showcasing orchids, water lily ponds, cactus and succulents.
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