Although no point on the tiny island of KAUAI is as much as a dozen miles from the sea, the variety of its landscapes is quite incredible. This is the oldest of the major islands, and erosion has had more than six million years to sculpt it into fantastic shapes. The mist-shrouded extinct volcano Mount Waialeale at its heart is the world’s wettest spot, draining into a high landlocked swamp. Nearby is the chasm of WaimeaCanyon, while the north shore holds the vertiginous green cliffs of the awe-inspiring Na Pali coast, familiar from films such as Jurassic Park and South Pacific, but the sole preserve of adventurous hikers. Kauai is a place to be active, on sea and land; if you take only one helicopter flight in your life, this is the place to do it.

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