See the Rock of KingsKaua‘i
The WAILUA RIVER tells the epic history of the island’s demigods, high priests, kings and royal families. Mystics called the waterway “THE RIVER OF THE GREAT SACRED SPIRIT,” and legends say the spirits of the dead traveled up the river on their final journey to the next life.
The remnants of seven SACRED SITES are located within the 1,093-acre WAILUA RIVER STATE PARK. They include four Hawaiian temples, a bell stone, a birthstone and a cluster of petroglyphs on boulders along the shore.
While the last of Kaua‘i’s kings, King Kaumuali‘i, died in 1824, you can get a good look at what remains of Wailua’s HISTORIC SITES along Kuhio Highway. They include:
HIKINA‘AKALA: A large, rectangular, walled site built around A.D. 1300 that was used as a place to welcome the day with prayers and chants.
HAUOLA: Adjacent to Hikina‘akala, this heiau, or temple, was used as a place of refuge, where people came to escape enemies or persecution.
WAILUA PETROGLYPHS: These rock carvings are located just north of Hikina‘akala on the southern bank of the river near the river mouth. The petroglyphs appear on large rocks along the river and are visible only when sand has been washed from the surface of the rocks.
MALA‘E: The oldest heiau on Kaua‘i, legend says it was built by the menehune (mythological Hawaiian creatures similar to pixies or leprechauns) about 1,500 years ago. It is located on the south side of the Wailua River across Kuhio Highway from the Aloha Beach Resort.
HOLOHOLOKU: Royals from throughout the islands came to give birth at the large birthstone adjacent to the heiau. It was believed that a child must be delivered at this place to attain high-ranking status. The site, which is marked, is just beyond the old Coco Palms Resort on Kuamo‘o Road.
POLI‘AHU: A partially restored heiau, it is believed to have served as a temple to the war god Ku. It sits on a bluff on the north bank of the Wailua River on Kuamo‘o Road across from OPAEKA‘A FALLS.
BELL STONE: A short path leads from Poli‘ahu to the Bell Stone, which was struck with a large rock to announce the birth of every new chief.