As well they might. It almost seems unfair doesn’t it? That Kauai has so much beauty? Just consider, all those miles of pristine white sand and aqua water and yet we also have the most stunningly beautiful botanical gardens. Ah well! Paradise it is then!
Limahuli Garden is about as North as you can get. The gardens sit just before the end of the road on the north shore, Ke’e beach and the beginning of the Na Pali Coast. Whilst the gardens themselves are beautiful, many people comment that it is the panoramic majestic views all around and of the coast that contribute in making Limahuli Botanical garden one of Kauai’s most enchanting botanical gardens.
The guides at Limahuli offer quite detailed information about native and non native species if you are paying attention.
“Built on the footprint of our Hawaiian ancestors Limahuli Garden Home to dozens of endangered plants and birds found nowhere else on earth, Limahuli Garden and Preserve highlights native and culturally-significant species in an authentic Hawaiian landscape”
Limahuli Garden has reopened following more than a year of flood recovery efforts and is accepting reservations for self-guided and guided tours. The garden closed in April 2018 after historic flooding closed access to the garden and damaged infrastructure, trails, and plant collections.
Princeville Botanical Garden
Princeville Botanical Garden is a relatively newcomer to Kauai. It opened in 2010 to the public.
Previously cattle land, the owners bought the land in 2001 and the gardens have and the land has been transformed over the years into the gardens that are now lush and full of tropical wonders.
Princeville Botanical Gardens also now make their own organic chocolate from cacao grown on the land and if you tour the gardens, you can also do the chocolate tasting. They do tours 3 days a week.
Na Aina Kai
Na Aina Kai is near Kilauea and one of the best things about these gorgeous botanical gardens is that they introduced “Keiki” day a few years ago where once a month kids and parents come and play in the “Under the Rainbow Children’s Garden”. Kids are even allowed to play in Jack’s fountain and explore the jungle tree house. Fun!
Quite apart from Keiki day however, Na Aina Kai Botanical gardens are frequently mentioned as being among the best in the world. Quite an achievement for gardens that didn’t exist before the 80s. There’s a maze, hardwood trees, a lagoon and more. Tours here started in 1999 and have continued ever since. The tea house is quite lovely.
One delightful feature of Na Aina Kai are the sometimes whimsical, sometimes historical bronze statues that one encounters across the gardens…. over 120 of them!
As with most of the other gardens on Kauai, the garden is also open to Weddings and it’s truly one of Kauai’s most enchanting botanical gardens.
Smiths Tropical Paradise is better known as one of the best and probably the oldest Luau spot on Kauai. However, they do have extensive – 30 acres – of tropical gardens so it’s worth a visit.
From their site: “View over twenty types of fruit in the Tropical Orchard including breadfruit, star fruit, jackfruit, macadamia nuts and soursop. Wander the Bamboo and Fruit forests or enjoy the colorful attraction of the Flower Wheel and Flowering Tropicals areas. Set amidst this natural backdrop are replicas of Polynesian and Filipino huts. The Japanese-themed garden island is a popular location for those who choose to get married in the gardens. ”
The gardens are open daily from 8.30 to 4pm and it’s only $6 a visit.
Allerton Gardens is always on the list of visitors who love gardens. Furthermore, it has become famous just by being home to the famous tree in which the dinosaur’s egg was found in “Jurassic Park”. Many kids want to go to the gardens just to see that tree! And here it is (photo courtesy of NTBG)
Allerton Garden has probably the most fascinating history of all the botanical gardens on Kauai and it’s well worth reading here. Both Allerton and McBryde gardens formed part of the original Lawai Ahupua’a (ancient Hawaiian division of land). Alexander McBryde planted many palms, gingers, plumerias, and ferns in gardens along the beach in the first 30 years of the last century. But it was when Robert Allerton and John Gregg lived there that the gardens expanded and became the first Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden in 1964. Thank you Hideo Teshima There’s so much to see at Allerton and there are tours every day.
The National Tropical Botanical Garden site defines McBryde Garden as being “a safe haven for imperiled plants”. Being next to the Allerton garden and part of the same Ahupua’a orginially, it makes sense to visit McBryde and Allerton on the same day, unless you feel that might be overkill! Most garden enthusiasts embrace them both with open arms!
Moir Garden & Orchid Garden at Plantation Gardens
These gardens are on a much smaller scale than the gardens mentioned above but they are absolutely worth a visit. Moir is a lovely garden in Poipu located in the grounds of the Kiahuna Plantation Resort which is famed for the succulent cactus garden (amongst others). It was opened in the 1950s to the public so just might be the one of the oldest if not the oldest gardens open to the public.
Almost next door is the amazing Orchid Garden at the Plantation Gardens Restaurant. There are so many Orchids blooming in this garden, it’s a feast for the eyes and if you love orchids, this is the place for you.
Kukiolono Japanese Garden
I used to live in Kalaheo and something of a secret to many is that in the middle of the public golf course, the Kukuiolono Golf Course off Papalina Road, there is a stunning Japanese garden. Some may think it’s a rather odd location, but the garden is quite beautiful and if you are over that way, it’s so worth visiting. Especially if you appreciate the tranquility and zen like quality that is the Japanese Garden. Photo courtesy of Kauai.com.
I certainly do. I recently visited the Kyoto Japanese Garden in Holland Park in London. So peaceful and a haven just off busy Kensington High Street. The Kyoto Garden was opened in 1991, a gift from the city of Kyoto to commemorate the long friendship between Japan and the UK.
I’m adding in the Kauai Farmacy to this post as, although not technically a “botanical” garden, it’s a beautiful and noteworthy garden and their tour is amazing.
I will be doing an entire post on this amazing place soon. Kauai Farmacy grows medicinal herbs and makes medicinal teas and salves from them. Although the focus is on growing these herbs for health, the gardens themselves are so beautiful. In addition to the herbs which include Hawaiian natives such as Noni, Soursop and Kukui nut, there are so many wonderful herbs and plants that are also so colorful; from the stunning butterfly pea plant to Tulsi to Cacao.
The tours run on Wednesday and Friday mornings and are lead either by the Founder, Doug Wolkon or one of the very knowledgeable people who care for these gardens. Amazing teas, I can attest to their effectiveness. If you love gardens, don’t miss out on the Kauai Farmacy. It’s an Herbal Oasis!
Kauai is known as “the Garden Isle”. Quite . As I mentioned in “Kauai ~ it’s like a warm hug” just driving around the island there are so many gorgeous tropical plants and flowers. Even without the ocean, it’s breathtaking. But then when you spend some time visiting one of Kauai’s enchanting Botanical Gardens, there’s an understanding of just how much Kauai truly is the “garden” isle.