The Hanalei District, also known as the NORTH SHORE area of Kauai, sits between the Na Pali Coast to the West and the town of Kilauea to the East.
On Kauai’s north shore you’ll discover some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. One of the most dramatic is the Na Pali Coast, whose cliffs rise 4,000 feet above the ocean and deep lush valleys which are accessible only by hiking, boats and planes. And Lumahai Beach, where Mitzi Gaynor “washed that man right out of her hair” in the movie South Pacific.
The north shore is home to the quaint town of Hanalei, one of the earliest areas to be settled by the ancient Pacific voyagers. Other communities in the north shore area include: Ha’ena, Wainiha, the premier resort community of Princeville, ‘Anini, Kalihiwai and Kilauea.
The Hanalei Valley Lookout on the edge of paradise off Highway 56, offers one of the most famous views on Kauai. This stunning valley is one mile wide and six miles long. Most of the taro grown in Hawaii is grown here. Taro is used to make poi and numerous other food products that were and still are the mainstay of many Hawaiian’s diet. The fields are constantly irrigated with water and are grown in patches giving the valley a patchwork quilt look.
On the valley floor is a one-way truss bridge built in 1912. The bridge was damaged by a tsunami in 1957, and subsequently reinforced. Legend has it that the rainbow came to Hawaiian Islands from the bluffs just beyond the valley when a piece of brightly colored kapa cloth was thrown into a pool below Namolokama Falls, and its colors arched up in the mist.
Across the road from this lookput point is the Princeville Resort, gracefully spreading out over 23 acres on Puu Poa Ridge, high above Hanalei Bay. Its well-manicured, award-winning golf courses provide an emerald centerpiece for the posh resort and residential community.
The view from the Lookout lies in perfect contrast to the resort. Here a lazy river meanders through taro patches, green leaves glimmering like emeralds framed by moss-colored mountains and deep, blue sky. Here the 917-acre Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge has been established to protect endangered and other birds. And here, at the gateway to the Hanalei Valley, is a one-way truss bridge originally constructed in 1912, the first of many one-way bridges that lie in the path of the winding highway that leads through Hanalei Town to the end of the road.
This area is rich in natural resources, scenic resources, and outdoor recreation opportunities. It has become a major destination for visitors to Kauai who are seeking outdoor recreation, particularly hiking and boating along the Na Pali Coast. Economic growth is mostly concentrated in tourism-oriented businesses. Agriculture, which is important to the rural character of the North Shore, thrives in certain areas but is challenged in general due to the high land prices and the alternative of developing large-lot residential subdivisions. The North Shore’s wetland areas represent an important agricultural resource for the cultivation of taro and other wetland crops.
Anini Beach has several miles of white sand beach with calm waters and panoramic views. Finding a private spot on this sparsely populated beach is usually a breeze. The protected waters, the massive coral reef and the unique setting make Anini Beach perfect for: Swimming, Kayaking, Relaxing, Snorkeling, Sunbathing, Fishing, Windsurfing. Shelling or strolling down the beach hand in hand while the sunset colors everything pink and gold!
Over the last 30 years, the North Shore has experienced a relatively high rate of population growth. In 1970, the North Shore had only four percent of the Kauai population, by far the least of five districts. By 1990, the North Shore was home to nine percent of the population. In the next census, the North Shore will have well over ten percent of Kauai residents and may surpass the West Side in population size.
The North Shore’s population is 6,500 (2003 census).
Other special places to check out in the North Shore area include: Ke’e Beach, the heiau at Ha’ena, Ha’ena State Beach Park, the 1837 Wai’oli Mission House, Hanalei River, Black Pot Beach Park, Limahuli Gardens, Pu’u Poa Beach and Marsh, Kaweonui, Wainiha Ku’au, Lumaha’i Beach, Crater Hill, Kamookoa Ridge, Kalihiwai Beach and Kilauea Lighthouse and surrounding bird sanctuary.
To learn more about Kauai’s North Shore area, please click on the scenic communities of Haena, Hanalei, Princeville and Kilauea.