A charming mix of plantation history and modern, north shore island life, Kilauea is a town thriving due to its resident’s sense of Malama, care for the environment and one another.
Like many Hawaiian communities, Kilauea began as a sugar plantation. The Kilauea Sugar Company, later becoming the Kilauea Sugar Plantation, operated from 1880 to 1971. During the early 1900s, stones, cleared from the cane fields, were used to construct buildings on the estate. These structures proved easily maintained and durable, and as an added design benefit, they blended well with the landscape. Several of these legacies, like the Kong Lung Store, are still standing and in use today.
In this era, the Kilauea Point Lighthouse was commissioned. Positioned on the northernmost point of the Hawaiian Islands, the 52-foot structure safely guided commercial ships for over 60 years. At its centennial, the lighthouse was dedicated to Senator Daniel K. Inouye, who was actively involved in raising funds for its restoration.
When the U.S. Coast Guard transferred the land where the lighthouse stands to the government, the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge was created. Operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the area was already a natural habitat for seabirds. Visitors of the refuge learn about the area’s ecology and history, as well as savor the panoramic views of the rugged coastline, Nihoku (Crater Hill) and Mokolea Point.
East of Kilauea Point is Kilauea Bay or more commonly known as Kahili or Rock Quarry Beach. The freshwater Kilauea Stream empties into the bay, which is a popular north shore surf spot.
Kauapea Beach, also known as Secret Beach or Secrets, is a half mile stretch of soft sand surrounded by ironwood tree-lined sea cliffs, lava rocks, and stunning views of Kilauea Point. Tranquil and uncrowded since it’s accessed by a moderately difficult 10-minute hike, the rugged beauty of this coastline and the naturally occurring lava rock pools, when the tide is right, make this expanse feel like a private retreat.
Hawaiian heritage is on display at Anaina Hou Community Park. Interactive, educational, and entertaining experiences for all ages are provided at this gathering place. Play a round of mini golf set in a botanical garden or prepare to be mesmerized during the Ahi Lele Fire Show. Continue your outdoor adventure by walking the 4.5-mile Wai Koa Loop trail. Roam through a mahogany forest and behold stunning views of the Namahana Mountains.
Kilauea Plantation Stone Dam is a popular landmark along the trail. Built in the 1800s the plantation needed the dam, not only deliver adequate moisture for the cane, but also to provide drinking water to the field workers and their families. Unfortunately, Stone Dam fell into disrepair, but an effort spearheaded by John Ferry, President of Bali Hai Realty, succeeded in the restoration of the dam. The Kauai Historical Society presented Mr. Ferry an award for his endeavor and contribution to preserving a piece of Kilauea’s history.
The appeal of nature-based tourism and architecture that at one time reflected the economy of the area are just some of the characteristics that make Kilauea a noteworthy place to visit. However, it’s the strong and confident sense of community that’s enabled Kilauea to flourish and remain a place where residents are connected to the place, they call home.