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Kauai Waterfall Rappelling is a unique adventure that allows you experience the lush jungles of Kauai. Island Adventures brings the magic of Hule’ia River and it’s 241 acres of National Wildlife Refuge to visitors and Kama’ainas (residents). Recently, the owners set out to improve on the experiences for their guests, and went in search of an elusive waterfall, which only a handful of locals knew about! They traversed thick jungle many times until they found Jungle Waterfalls with the tallest over 50 feet high. Now there is a trail that has been mapped and cut, and Island Adventures offers exciting tours that include this special place. They have leased 40 acres of private land that adjoins the refuge, so the waterfalls are exclusive to them.
These tours have been put together by Charlie Cobb-Adams and his wife Tanya, and they will bring you adventure and aloha to your vacation. Charlie, aka the “Hawaiian Dundee”, is an experienced trail builder. He is also passionate about keeping people safe, and helps coordinate Search & Rescue Recovery Missions for missing persons along the Napali Coast, and in Waimea Canyon and Koke’e. You know you’re in good hands as Dundee gives the thorough explanation of the equipment and demonstrates and then teaches participants how to rappel.
Check-in for these tours is at the Island Adventures / Da Life location next to the Kauai Marriott in Nawiliwili. They will outfit you with special felt-bottomed water shoes called “tabis” (included in the price of the tour) and then transport you to the location where you adventure begins.
The Waterfall Rappel (Hawaiian Dundee) starts with a van ride to the “Jungle Base Camp” at the top of the private jungle trail leading down to the waterfalls. You will begin with a detailed lesson on rappelling and safety on a 25ft dry wall. Next a 10 minute hike will bring you through a tropical forest full of fruits and Hawaiian plants. This trail takes you to two secluded waterfalls where you will rappel, swim, and even have a chance to stand BEHIND a waterfall!
You will first pass by 30-foot “Bamboo Falls” … this is an amazingly beautiful, wide waterfall with an impressive clump of giant bamboo next to the pool of water at its base. Next, it is a short walk upstream to the immense challenge that awaits … 60-foot “Hawaiian Dundee Falls” is waiting to be conquered! You’ll scramble up a trail that offers hand ropes for assistance, and once at the top a quick check of your gear and over the edge you go! Guides are there to give you instructions on the way down, and one guide is at the bottom belaying you … if you do slip on the way down the guide puts tension on the rope from below and stops your descent, allowing you time to get back into rappelling position. Depending on waterflow conditions and how well the group is doing, Dundee may give those who are doing very well the ultimate challenge; go back up and rappel Dundee Falls again, this time with the rope placed in the very center of the waterfall where the flow is the strongest!
As each person reaches the bottom there is cheering and high fives … after the rappel is over you hike back up the trail to the Jungle Base Camp which offers a shaded picnic area that overlooks the river and Haupu Mountain range. Your delicious custom lunch will be served here from from Don’s Bread and Deli Connection. When the tour is finished, you’ll be drive back to Da Life.
It is possible for non-rappelling observers to go along on either of these tours, but they will pay the same rate as participants. Observers can watch from the pools at the base of the waterfall as members of their party rappel the cascades.