Lesser-Known Natural Wonders of Hawaii
You’ve probably heard about all the popular natural attractions in Hawaii, from Waimea Falls to the K?lauea volcano, but there are so many other lesser-known natural attractions that are equally as breath taking. For whatever reason, they don’t get as much attention as the other sites but they still shouldn’t be missed.
Over the years, human habitation has left much of Hawaii vulnerable to visitors. This can be a good thing as more and more people are allowed to witness the spectacular beauty of the islands; on the other hand, it can leave precious little to be left in its relatively untouched state. Here are some of those other places you may not hear much about in the tourism guides.
Wainiha Preserve, Kauai: Encompassing more than 7,000 acres, Wainiha Preserve is one of the state’s biggest private nature sanctuaries, with an unmatched ecological diversity. That’s because it has equal parts of lowland forests contrasted with mountainous bogs and waterfalls such as Hinalele. Wainiha boasts 220 different species of indigenous plants and endangered native birds. With so many freshwater streams and springs, the ecosystems here thrive. Unfortunately, you can’t readily visit Wainiha because it’s so remote and not easily accessible. The primary way people get here is to take a helicopter, and that privilege is typically reserved for employees of the preserve.
Moomomi Preserve, Molokai: Featuring a stunning coastal and sand dune ecosystem, the vigorous trade winds have crafted undulating sand dunes that stretch for a mile long and hundreds of feet wide. As you can imagine, coastal life thrives here, packed with 20 native Hawaiian plant species, as well as a variety of bird species. The area acts as a nesting ground for the green sea turtle and wedge-tailed shearwaters. Since the Moomomi Preserve is located on private land, you can obtain access to the gate with a $25 deposit that grants you the key.
Kamehame Beach, Kau, Big Island: Nestled on the southeastern coast, this place is home to rare marine turtles that live along this 24-acre beach. As a nesting site for the endangered Hawksbill turtle and a refuge for the threatened honu (green sea turtle), the black sands of Kamehame make the perfect destination for these species to emerge from the sea each year and bury their eggs. Unfortunately, Kamehame Beach is off limits to visitors.
Waikamoi Preserve, Maui: Spanning 5,230 acres, the Waikamoi Preserve encompasses watershed land that provides some 60 billion gallons of water throughout the island. Home to many native Hawaiian species, this is the place to be if you love bird watching (it happens to be home to 13 types of native forest birds). You can take a hike with the National Park Service along Waikamoi Preserve’s Bird Loop Trail every Monday and Thursday morning. You can also check out the Boardwalk Trail every third Sunday of the month. The tours themselves are free but you have to shell out $10 to park.
There’s so much more than meets the eye on Hawaii. When you want to check out the natural beauty of Oahu, book a tour with Hoku Hawaii Tours!