The northern most part of Kauai is WILD!!
It’s a popular stopping point for thousands of migratory seabirds looking to rest, nest and eat. The state set up a national wildlife refuge in the 1980s to better accommodate the feathery flock of guests that’d come and go throughout the years. Just off shore, spinner dolphins entertain visitors with leaps and spins, while humpbacks, green sea turtles and monk seals mingle.
To human visitors, this isthmus is known as Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, but to the winged-occupants, it’s become a safe haven of sorts – and quite the social scene.
Red-footed booby, white-tailed tropicbird and wedge-tailed shearwater are among the list of frequent visitors that hang out below the historic Kilauea Lighthouse. Watch out for the feisty Nēnē; they have a personality that bites, literally! Perhaps it’s that they know just how important they are to the state, as Hawaii’s official bird and all.
With nine refuges throughout the Hawaiian Island archipelago, three can be found on Kauai. The Kilauea refuge used be much smaller than it is today because it wasn’t until 1988 when the refuge expanded to include Crater Hill and Mokolea Point.
If you’re not really into birds, then I’d suggest at least stopping at the vista point, which overlooks the wildlife refuge. That’s where you can really take in the surrounding beauty from afar. Just below the hundreds of roosting birds, a boiling inlet of waves and currents swirl this way and that. Waves crash some 50-feet up the rocky cliffs. It’s a beautifully wild place out there, so be sure to check it out!
KILAUEA POINT NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE • State Hwy 56 and Lighthouse Rd., Kilauea, HI 96754 • Open 10am-4pm daily except for federal holidays • $5 entrance fee (16 years and older) • www.fws.gov/kilaueapoint/visit.html