Mahaulepu Beach is a glorious and unique beach on the south side of Kauai. Primordial and rugged, jagged sea cliffs, lacy lava and blow holes take you to another world.
Craggy sea cliffs are etched by the timeless pounding of waves forming sea caves and tunnels beneath the earth. Air holes in the ground below you push up puffs of sand according to the oceans whims. A crack in the rock forms a natural megaphone, and when a wave crashes, it sounds like you are in it. If you’re wearing a cap, the air rushing through just might blow it off!
A knife-like formation reaches for the sky and I feel like I’m on Mars. Red spires, about four feet long, are a splash of lava frozen in time. When a wave hits just right, sound and mist from the center erupt and the ocean and earth breathe together. Waves smash into one bluff and dance across to the next and somehow make a higher spray against the second summit, sometimes higher than the 40 foot cliff. It’s a special place that fills me with awe and wonder, reducing me to a child searching for life among the earth’s vast playground.
I recommend a renting a car in Hawaii with high clearance to make your way down the deeply rutted dirt road. Follow Poipu Road until it turns into a dirt road and continue on until you are forced to make a right. Bounce along until you come to a parking lot. You can park here and walk to the left where a narrow path shaded by trees will take you to the beach. If you follow the road to the left, you’ll come upon another parking area and a small bay. Facing the ocean, look to the left. There is a sandy trail sheltered by enormous Ironwood trees that hugs the coast.
If you go here during your Hawaii Vacation, there are some things you should remember: You drive through private property to get to the beach and they close the gate to the parking lot at 6 p.m., sharp. If your vehicle is on the wrong side, they tow it to their lot with their tow truck. Also, the lava is sharp and can cut like glass. Wear appropriate shoes and watch your footing.
Photo by Daniel Lane.