#Kauai: Nukoli’i Beach

(Note: This post was written by Brett!)

Not the foulest beach I ever saw! No sooner did this thought run through my brain than a local woman passing by told me, “It’s always been like this.”

flotsam: fishing debris; driftwood
Fishing Debris and Driftwood

In all fairness, I’ve seen bigger messes on the mainland, as well as in other countries. Here, the debris is mostly fishing equipment from large and small boats: lines from quarter-inch polypropylene to two-inch hawsers, scraps of net, water bottles, remnants of styrofoam coolers, a lid from a 5-gallon (chum) bucket, and driftwood. Further, this beach is like a catcher’s mitt, capturing all the flotsam from the north and east shores.

Wailua, Sleeping Giant, Kapa'a, King Kong
Looking North to Wailua, and Kapa’a

Although it’s not remotely a place for Volleyball, Tanning, or Swimming, it is a beautiful beach for long walks and stunning vistas.

Pristine Section of Nukoli'i Beach
Pristine Section of Nukoli’i Beach

Back there in the distance, the beach evaporates into a rocky shoal that wraps around to Hanama’ulu Bay. Between here and there are innumerable photo opportunities, like this one I didn’t capture completely (blame it on the high winds and heavy surf).

Screen of Trees

…or THIS,

pockmarked lava
Weathered Pumice

…or THIS.

Bat-like fracture in sandstone
Bat Fossil? No, Geologic Process.

And that last, the cleaving of the rock, hints at the greater threat to this beach, climatic transition rather than the litter shown in the first photo. Beyond this berm is a swamp, the confluence of old diversion trenches from plantation days.

Eroding Shoreline
Eroding Shoreline

 Oh, I should not forget to mention the abundant wildlife available for watching such as shearwaters, the many varieties of Hawaiian butterflies (which I am seldom quick enough to photograph), and the infamous side-stepping beach creatures—a few different crab species. Of course, if you watch the tide timetables carefully, you just might catch dinner!

Farewell from Kaua'i Beach Resorts End of the Beach
Farewell from Kaua’i Beach Resorts End of the Beach

Finally, getting to Nukoli’i Beach is easy as pie. From Kuhio Highway, turn down the driveway to Kaua’i Beach Resorts, and then right at the four-way intersection at the bottom of the hill (before you actually get to the resort). Follow that road to the end where you’ll see a small lavatory shelter and parking for about six cars, it’s rarely crowded, and heed the no trespassing signs. The land on both sides of the road is private property, but you can walk the extent of the beach without incident as long as you don’t turn your back on the ocean.

6 thoughts on “#Kauai: Nukoli’i Beach

  1. I don’t know, but I did mention it to YaYu that her school’s Key Club might take it on because they often clean up at Lydgate Beach Park and this would be a great service project for them.


    1. No, it’s a denuded example of that Rhododendron-looking tree in my last photo. Here and there, they’re dying off due to a combination of erosion and salt. Not sure what they are, aside from hardy–you’d be amazed at how much of the root structure is exposed before the tree gives up.

      However, there are some nice moringa trees on the left side of the trail, in the first quarter mile, coming up Sleeping Giant from Wailua Houselots (the east side). I also saw one on the Kalalau trail last month, but that usually means there are more than that.


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