I love the peace and beauty found in a botanical garden. On my first trip to Oahu, some of my most cherished memories are hiking around the paths of the many free and gorgeous gardens. On Kauai however, the three main botanical gardens all have steep entrance fees ranging from 30-60 dollars per person! Traveling to Hawaii can be expensive, especially if you stay on the beaten tourist path. So rather than break the bank we discovered some hidden gems on the south side of the island perfect for the botanist at heart, and completely free. They may not be as big as the premier gardens, but they certainly have their own charms and are well worth a visit if you happen to be on the south shore of Kauai.
Kiahuna Plantation Resort – 2253 Poipu Rd, Koloa, HI 96756
Kauai’s south shore does not get a lot of rain. With that in mind during the 1930s Ms. Moir, the wife a sugar plantation manager developed a garden filled with plants that are drought resistant. This resort has two distinct garden sections.
You will encounter the Plantation Gardens as you walk in from the parking lot.
Be sure to take a good look at the pond filled with lilies, coy, and possibly a green heron.
This garden is filled with an impressive assortment of orchids, popping with vibrant color along the paths.
Enjoy the enticing fragrance of the plumeria tree,
and the beautiful treasures you will find beneath it.
Enjoy the flowering trees and plants, including the bird of paradise flower.
Continue on to find the entrance to Moir Cactus Garden.
The winding paths of this treasured garden are filled with strong looking succulents and cacti.
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, we saw many birds and lizards around the garden.
It won’t take too long to completely view the gardens, but they certainly add a special element to your day.
Kukuiolono Park & Golf Course – 854 Puu Rd, Kalaheo, HI 96741
This park is located adjacent to a golf course is carved into three sections: Japanese garden, ancient Hawaiian rock garden, and pavilion, just under a mile of walking. I couldn’t resist starting by walking under the red shrine of the Japanese garden.
The paths lead you across footbridges and around bonsai trees. Take a look at the interesting artifacts in the ancient Hawaiian rock garden, read up on what purpose they served.
This land was once the sight of an ancient Hawaiian heiau. If you hang around the bird feeders long enough you may get lucky to spot something special!
Our last stop was the pavilion, equip with facilities. Gaze out upon the ocean, countryside, and mountains in the distance.
Watch for whales. Enjoy the breeze. The best things in life are free!