Nawiliwili, Kauai

Kauai is known as a garden island. It is lush and green.  It was the last independent Hawaiian kingdom. The port is named after wiliwili trees that once blanketed the shores.  It is rather laid back.  Lihue which is the administrative centre, looks like a small town. No building can be taller than a palm tree.  There are quite a lot of natural attractions here.  One is the grand canyon of the Pacific, a dramatic highland canyon surrounded by a ring of mile-high mountains.  Another is the Alakai swamp, home to some of the rarest plants and animals on earth. Captain Cook landed in 1778 and named the islands the Sandwich Islands.  It was here that he was killed in 1779.  In 1791, Captain George Vancouver came and befriended King Kamehameha.  Plants and animals on this island are identified as either native or exotic.  The latter were those introduced after the arrival of Captain Cook. One was sugar though the large sugar plantations no longer exist here.  Only Maui still has a plantation.  I took a tour to the Allerton and McBryde Gardens. The area was once a retreat of Queen Emma who did some of the plantings.  It is now a private garden of about 100 acres that was started by an individual named Allerton.  It is dedicated to the preservation of both rare and exotic plants.  Some areas are being dedicated to native plants.  The research centre includes laboratories where scientists are looking into the medicinal and other values of the plants. The mission of the gardens is to enrich life through discovery, scientific research, conservation and education by perpetuating the survival of plants, ecosystems and cultural knowledge of tropical regions. Allerton lived in the gardens and set out many “rooms” in which he entertained. Some of these contain sculptures and water features.  McBryde Garden can be visited on your own but you must take a guided to tour to see the Allerton Gardens.  Our tour included a lunch in a gazebo set in the middle of the gardens.  I include some photos of parts of the gardens, including some of the “rooms” and of the seashore where you can see part of his house.

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