Kauai (Kaua'i in Hawaiian) is the oldest and fourth largest of the main Hawaiian Islands. Known also as the "Garden Isle", Kaua'i lies 105 miles (170 kilometers) across the Kaua'i Channel, northwest of Honolulu on O'ahu. Of volcanic origin, the highest point on the mountainous island is Mount Waialeale, at the center of the island, 5148 feet (1570 meters) above sea level. The wettest spot on Earth, with an annual average rainfall of 460 inches (11 648 millimeters), is located just east of Mount Waialeale. The high annual rainfall has eroded deep valleys in the central mountain, carving out canyons with many scenic waterfalls.
The city of Lihue, on the island's southeast side, is the seat of Kauai County and the main city on the island. Waimea, on the island's southwest side and once the capital of Kauai, was the first place visited by explorer Captain James Cook in 1778. The city is at the head of one of the most scenic canyons in the world, Waimea Canyon, whose gorge is 3000 feet (9144 meters) deep.
Kauai from space (NASA image). A portion of the island of Ni`ihau
appears on the west. In this photo, north is towards the upper left corner
See also: Tourism on Kauai