The Kishwaukee River south of Rockford has great kayaking for people of all skill levels. I went with my sister, her husband and their two boys. The almost 9-mile length was a little long for the younger one, but with a current that keeps you moving in the right direction, it seems shorter. And there are plenty of sandbars to take snack breaks.
We put in at Baumann Park in Cherry Valley and ended at Atwood Park in New Milford. You need to leave a car at Atwood or arrange to have someone pick you up there.
My sister’s family has done this kayak several times, and she says the water level has varied considerably. When I went with them, she said it was much lower than her previous trips. We had to hop out of our kayaks and drag them a couple of times when the river was too shallow, but it was manageable and only happened two or three times.
Time lapse video of the Kishwaukee River:
Uluwehi Falls – also known as Secret Falls – is a beautiful 100+ foot waterfall located in Wailua River State Park.
The route to the falls includes a 2.5-mile kayak on the Wailua River, followed by an easy hike of less than one mile. The paddling and hiking are relatively easy, and although it takes a couple hours to complete the journey, the falls are well worth it. And there are scores of people there on pleasant days.
If you have your own kayak, you can make this trip yourself (and if you have your own kayak in the area, you probably already do this on a regular basis). But for tourists, there are a bunch of tour companies offering guided trips down the river to the falls.
The kayak portion, starting at the Wailua Marina just off Highway 56, is an easy paddle down the slow-moving and scenic Wailua River. A high cliff towers over the south side of the river, while traffic on Kuamoo Road flows by on a bluff the north side. At the fork in the river just past the Hawaiian village, head right and the river gets narrow. Your guide will know where to dock your kayak and proceed with the short and easy hike to the falls.
At the falls, there is plenty of room to find a spot in the rocks for lunching, relaxing and gazing at the waterfall. There is a wide pool at the base of the falls to swim in, although the water is often chilly. Be careful as decent-sized rocks can tumble down the falls.
The kayak trip back is with the current, making for a relaxing end to a scenic trip.
Low tide off the beach at Papageno Resort.
Papageno Resort on Kadavu Island has kayaks and paddles for guest use… so use them!
The waters around Papageno tend to be pretty calm and clear, making for great kayaking. You’ll float above an abundance of sea life and coral, and you can paddle into a cluster of mangroves, where the tannen from the trees turn the water from crystal blue to a dark tea.
Once you head past the protection of Skipper Fish Island (we named it after the fish that skimmed along the water’s surface around the isle), the winds can pick up a bit.
You can paddle east around the point past the island into Daku Bay. If you continue on and hug the coastline, you’ll come to the village of Naivakarauniniu, Unless you have made arrangements with the village elders, it’s recommended that you respect the villagers’ privacy and not enter. They are extremely friendly to guests but would prefer to know of their arrival in advance.
Rainbow as seen from shore of island near Papageno Resort.
From Papageno Resort on Kadavu Island, there is a small uninhabited island to the northeast, just waiting to be explored.
A quick kayak paddle (provided to Papageno’s guests at no extra charge) of 10 minutes gets you to the island – and watch for fish skipping across the surface of the ocean on your paddle.
The waters around Papageno tend to be pretty calm and clear, making for great kayaking. Keep an eye out for sea life swimming below you, and there are some clusters of coral the closer you get to the island.
Once there, you can tie up your kayak and walk around the entire island in about 30 minutes. You’ll have to pick over rocks on the far northeast side, but on low tide, the south side has a nice wide beach to walk.