Guided Tour Kauai: Waimea Canyon and Fern Grotto

Hawaii, Tours & Experiences, United States / Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

It was a peaceful and calm morning on the lush island of Kaua’i. The perfect conditions for an adventure. The Roberts Hawaii Shuttle was doing its collection from Bayan Resort at 8.15am so with plenty of time to spare I left my accommodation and strolled down along the waterside.

The shuttle bus was right on time and took me to meet the other passengers at the airport, all ready for their Kaua’i experience. Just a small group of 12 we selected our seats and were introduced to our very well informed driver for the day, Larry. Larry visited Kaua’i many years ago and loved the island so much he never left. After joining this tour to see the beauty of Kaua’i I can understand why.

A photo of opaekaa falls in Hawaii

The day began with a drive through the Tunnel of Trees which were planted over 100 years ago. The 500 eucalyptus trees, standing 100 feet tall, form a spectacular tunnel which used to completely block out the light from the road until Hurricane Iniki came through and thinned out many of the branches. It’s a magical sight to drive through on a sunny day, streams of light peeking through the gaps.

We arrived at the Spouting Horn; a hole in the rocks the ancient Hawaiians once believed a giant lizard lived in. The waves wash into the lava tubes and burst up through the opening in the surface with such force that it creates a loud roar. Besides the audio aspect of the experience, it’s also quite an impressive show to watch. If you’re lucky you’ll also be able to spot a turtle or two in the ocean.

Sprouting horn in Kauai

On our way to Waimea Canyon Larry pointed out the British Queen Victoria’s Profile; the shape of the Haupu Mountain Range in the distance has created an alikeness to her face wearing a crown. The site also comes with a pretty interesting story. We passed Koloa Town and were informed about Hawaii’s sugar plantation days, as well as the location where Captain Cook first landed in Hawaii. I say landed and not discovered as it was clearly the Hawaiian’s who discovered the islands first!

About halfway through the day, we arrived at the site I had been wanting to see long before I stepped on Hawaiian soil. If you don’t see Waimea Canyon did you even visit Kaua’i? Everyone I had spoken to said I must go. Naturally, I was beyond excited. The bus load began their ascent up the ramp to the viewing platform, wanting a little more space I turned left and climbed up the slippery dirt embankment until the most spectacular view reviled itself.

The scenery was jaw dropping. Red volcanic soil mixed with lush green foliage created a perfect blend of color and texture. This lookout was a seamless panoramic viewpoint to watch the birds soaring below and the Waimea River flows effortlessly south. With plenty of time to spend, we all took some great photos but want to get the most out of this mystical place, I was, of course, the last back on the bus.

View of Waima Canyon with clouds

The day wasn’t over yet, we still had so much to see. By this time I had befriended about half the bus. Everyone was so lovely. An older couple here on a work trip invited me to share lunch with them at the plantation. As well as learning about Hawaii it was great to hear all about where the other travelers were from. After lunch, Larry encouraged us to walk down to the nearby beach which is apparently the only place on earth they have this specific combination of sand particles; black, green and yellow.

Photo of the Kauai Plantation in Hawaii

To end the day we took a short boat cruise up the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what a Fern Grotto was which made for a very special surprise. As we walked through the lush tropical rainforest everyone was in awe when we approached the grotto. Water was freefalling from the end of the stream above, it passed the individual fern fronds growing upside down on the rock face and trickled into a flower bed of Hawaiian red gingers. We were greeted by a group of Hawaiian traditional dancers who played for us a love song.

Hawaiian traditional dancers at the Fern Grotto on Kauai

Larry gave us the perfect amount of time at each destination. Not too long and not too short. He was full of interesting information and had the answer to every question we asked. We visited so many places on my list plus more I hadn’t heard about, I’m leaving a few out as you’ll need to jump on the tour yourself to discover them! It was fascinating to learn more about ancient Hawaii and recent history.

I could’ve gone to these places myself, but it would have purely been a sightseeing journey. With Roberts Hawaii, I was able to connect with Hawaii’s history, make new friends, and enjoy the island in a comfortable and relaxing way. They offer a range of tours on the various islands. Have a look at their selection here.


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