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If you’re going to be on the island of Kauai on your vacation, and especially if you’ll be staying in the Poipu area on the south shore, make it a point to do the Koloa Heritage Trail.
It’s ten miles long. You can do the trick in an hour by car, or walk it and enjoy it much more. You’ll learn about the sugar era buildings still existing in Koloa and you’ll discover the history of Prince Kuhio, Koloa Landing, Moir Gardens, Poipu Beach and Keoneloa Bay.
Altogether there are 14 interesting and scenic stops and monuments describing the significance of teach location. Here are some of the highlights:
There’s the area where Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole was born. He became a delegate to U.S. Congress after Hawaii became a territory in 1900, serving for 19 years.
You’ll see Koloa Landing, which once was the third largest whaling port in all of Hawaii.
In the Pa’u Allaka-Moir Gardens, you’ll encounter water-lily-filled lava rock ponds, koi and a variety of orchid and cactus species.
Poipu Beach Park contains abundant, easy-to-view marine life in calm waters. You may come across an endangered native Hawaiian Monk seal or a threatened Green sea turtle. From November through May, the endangered Humpback whale appears.
You’ll see Keoneloa Bay, which used to be a temporary fishing camp where users left behind stone-age tools, remnants of heiau (temples), and ahu, or altars.
The Pu’uwanawana Volcanic Cone was a hotspot in the earth that spewed lava upward to form the volcanic mountain island you’ll be on.
Nearby, the Jodo Mission’s interior was built by a specialist in temple architecture from Japan. Hand-painted, wooden ceiling tiles were a gift from the Japanese artist who rendered them.
Built at the turn of the 20th century, the Yamamoto Building functioned at various times as a plantation camp store and general store with a service station. Behind it, the Koloa Hotel offered rooms to traveling salesmen and actors.
As you can tell, there’s a lot to take in, and there’s plenty more that we haven’t covered here. If you’re driving, don’t just blow by the signs, mounted on lava rock pedestals, that are scattered throughout the area. They provide a wealth of information about this part of the island.
There’s a variety of family-oriented tours available.