Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge
Kilauea Point NWR was established in 1985 to preserve and enhance seabird nesting colonies and was expanded in 1988 to include Crater Hill and Mklea Point. The refuge is home to the historic Kilauea Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1913 and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is situated on Kauai’s northernmost point and was used as a navigational aid for commercial shipping between Asia and Hawaii for 62 years.
The refuge is home to some of the largest populations of nesting seabirds in the main Hawaiian Islands. Every year, thousands of seabirds use the refuge for nesting, foraging and resting. You can view Laysan albatross, red-footed boobies, brown boobies, red-tailed and white-tailed tropicbirds, Pacific golden plovers, great frigate birds and wedge-tailed shearwaters. The refuge is also home to nene, an endangered species of goose endemic to the Hawaiian islands. Nene were reintroduced to the refuge in the 1990s and are making a comeback. Nene is the official bird of the state of Hawaii.
Kilauea Point is a popular place to watch whales in the winter! Besides the beautiful views, visitors may have an opportunity to see spinner dolphins, Hawaiian monk seals, green sea turtles (honu) and humpback whales (kohala). Visitors can learn about various Native coastal plants that have been restored on the refuge such as naupaka, ilima, hala, aheahea, and akoko. The endangered plant restoration program is giving species such as the rare alula a chance to survive in Kilauea Point’s environment.
Kilauea Point is the remnant of the former Kilauea volcanic vent that last erupted about 15,000 years ago. Today, only a small U-shaped portion remains, including a spectacular 568-foot ocean bluff. The Refuge is located 2 miles north of Kilauea town. Approximately half a million people visit the refuge each year to enjoy one of the greatest places on earth to observe seabirds and the endangered nene. Observation scopes and binoculars are available to see them up close and personal. Interpretation and education programs are available with volunteers and staff on site to assist you in identifying wildlife, as well as an information center and bookstore.