Wailua River Cruise & Fern Grotto
Duration: 3 1/2 hours
Tour Code: naw-001
Cruise by riverboat through eastern Kauai's lush hinterlands to the natural wonder of the Fern Grotto, a picturesque prelude to seeing majestic Opaeka'a Falls.
A scenic coach drive brings you to the Wailua River Marina where you'll board a riverboat and meander inland on Hawaii's only navigable river. Relax and enjoy the passing scenery as your guide reveals the area's fascinating history and legends. The first migratory Tahitians settled here in the 12th century and Wailua became the home of Hawaii's early royalty.
As you cruise upriver, you will pass by lush tropical vegetation that creates a truly idyllic island landscape. You may also see kayakers paddling along the calm waters, open grasslands and Mt. Waialeale looming in the background. According to legend, at night ghost warriors walk the ancient river trails to and from the mountain.
Before long, you will arrive at the Fern Grotto, which was formed out of lava rock centuries ago. It's a beautiful setting, cooled by the mists of the waterfall. The fern-covered grotto acts as a natural amphitheater and the acoustics are nothing less than impressive, as you will discover by listening to Hawaiian musicians play traditional wedding songs. The Fern Grotto has long been a popular venue for weddings and it's easy to see why.
After a return cruise down the river, you will re-board your coach and drive into the Valley of the Sleeping Giant. The name derives from the outline of the ridge of nearby Nounou Mountain, which appears to have a giant sprawled across its top. A short walk here affords you a spectacular view of Opaeka'a Falls, where the north branch of the Wailua River cascades over a sheer rock cliff. Afterwards, you will drive back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes a limited amount of walking, mainly over flat surfaces. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach and touring boat, and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Casual, weather appropriate clothing and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested.