Along the North Shore of Kauai, past mile marker 9 on Highway 560, mauka (towards the mountain) is one of the most fascinating gardens on the island, Limahuli Garden & Preserve. The 1,000 acre garden is now part of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens after being donated to the society in 1976. In 1995, the garden was opened to the public and as of 1997 was rated by the American Horticultural Society as the best natural botanical garden in the United States. The garden, nestled in the mountains, is unique and a real treasure to visit. One of the most amazing areas of the garden is the taro gardens and terrace system, the origins of which date back a century or more to the earliest Hawaiians. An overlook, as seen on the following page, allows you to get an amazing view of this archeological wonder.
Today, 17 acres of the garden and rain forest provide visitors a chance to view both the natural beauty of the island and the cultural history behind it. The garden is a great place to walk the land where taro still thrives on ancient lava rock terraces, learn about native plants of the Hawaiian chain, and become educated on the best environmental practices of water, soil, and rare plant conservation in the state of Hawai'i. The garden is open Tuesday-Friday, and Sundays from 9:30 am until 4:00 pm. There are several guided tours available as well as self-guided tours. The cost is $15 a person for the guided tours and $10 for self-guided tours. Most people agree it's well worth the money, so if you have some time on the north shore, definitely stop by and visit this site. Limahuli Stream also makes its way through the garden to the ocean. You may have noticed it on your way in. It's often used by visitors at Ha'ena and Ke'e Beach to wash off sand and seawater from their equipment and even themselves after a dip in the ocean. You can learn more about the garden, view photographs, and check for updates on their web site at: http://ntbg.org/gardens/limahuli.php