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Who knew a cattle rancher’s gift of 500 eucalyptus trees would become a famous landmark for Kauai?
Today, their treetop canopies form a natural tunnel along the one-mile stretch of Maluhia Road. It serves as a gateway of sorts to Kauai’s south shore and historic Koloa town and is quite possibly the most well-known set of trees there ever was, for Hawaii at least. Tourists purposefully take this route to enjoy the short scenic drive through the trees.
Walter Duncan McBryde donated them over a century ago. He was the co-founder of McBryde Sugar Company and manager of Kauai Pineapple. Since then, the McBryde name has nestled itself within the island history, with Allerton and McBryde National Tropical Botanical Gardens as the most notable.
The trees actually came from Australia and can grow up to 180-feet tall. Because they’re of the eucalyptus family, the only way to really experience them would be to drive through with the windows down. The crisp, menthol smell ruminates like a thought left to ponder, while shadows from the treetop canopies flash abstract designs throughout the car and on the pavement.
You may encounter tree tunnels on other islands, but this one is like no other. It has a historic past that runs as deep as its roots, and after surviving two major hurricanes (in 1982 and 1992), it’s apparent that the tree tunnel landmark also has a determination to stay put for centuries more to come.
KAUAI TREE TUNNEL • Maluhia Rd., Hwy. 520
Photo Courtesy: Jennifer Awakuni