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Kate Ceberano's Hawaiian homecoming

14:00 AEST Thu Apr 7 2011
Going to the Hawaiian island of Kauai is something of a homecoming for Kate Ceberano. Her dad Tino was born there, and while Kate was born in Australia, childhood visits hold strong memories.

It's been 25 years since she paid a visit and there was much excitement at seeing her aunts, uncles, cousins and extended family. There was much kissing, hugging and laughter as they planned what to do for Kate to show Getaway viewers the beauty of the island.

The geologically oldest of the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai is a 25-minute flight from Oahu. The circular island has lush mountainous regions in the centre and beaches covering almost half of its shoreline. It has fertile valleys and deep fissures. Mt Waialeale's summit is the wettest place on earth, averaging around 11,430mm of rain annually. Just a few kilometres away, the annual fall is just 250mm.

The Napali coast on the island's north is nothing short of spectacular, and Kate and some cousins walked a chunk of it. It's pretty easy to begin with, but from Hanakapiai Beach it becomes rugged and slippery, but the views are stunning. The cliffs are so steep there will never be roads built. One road encircles the island, except for the 24km Napali stretch. If walking the entire trail is a little daunting, you can hike along a short section.

The trail has been there since 1860. Coffee and oranges were grown in the valleys and Hawaiians used it when waves were too high for canoeing to be safe. Kate's grandmother was born in Kalalau Valley and they used to swim from there to Kauai and back.

While preparations for the family get-together were underway, Kate slipped out to see the Napali Coast from the water. With the help of Bali Hai Tours, she saw amazing coves, some so sacred locals don’t speak when they are in them. She managed to do a little fishing in the same spot her dad used to drop a line for tilapia.

If there's one thing not to miss on a visit to the Hawaiian Islands, it's a traditional luau. It's even better if, like Kate, it is the excuse and venue for a family reunion. They all met at Smiths' Tropical Paradise Luau in the sacred Wailua River Valley. There are three generations of Smiths, and along with Kate's extended family, some of whom she's not met before, there was much enjoyment to be had.

A whole pig is cooked on hot rocks in the ground all day and the meat is shredded and served to hungry luauers. They enjoyed huli huli chicken, banana, coconut and guava cake and a traditional coconut dessert. To be authentic, only fruits grown in the islands are served. The general idea is to eat as much as you can, rest and then eat more!

Kate's luau was full of music — her entire family seems to have a talent of some sort, but she wins the crown. She revealed last year she was recording an Hawaiian bluegrass album.


Kauai, a 25-minute flight from Oahu.


Hawaiian Airlines has flights to Kauai via Honolulu from:
  • Sydney $1280
  • Melbourne and Brisbane $1520
  • Adelaide $1620
  • Perth $1780

For travel between November 1 and December 9, 2011. Conditions apply.

Native Hawaiian Conservation & Hiking Napali Coast day hikes are $122 per person. They will tailor outings to suit your available time and fitness. Polynesian guides accompany the walks.

Smith's Tropical Paradise Luau held in the Wailua Marina State Park costs $87 for adults and $30 for children. It includes a luau feast and drinks and a torch-lit show. Show-only is $15 for adults and $7.50 for children. They operate on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, on Thursday between February and October and Tuesday between June and August.

Prices correct at April 7, 2011.

For further information

Hawaiian Airlines
Ph: 1300 669 106

Native Hawaiian Conservation & Hiking
PO Box 30882
Anahola, Hawaii 96703
United States
Ph: +1 808 652 0478

Smiths Tropical Paradise Luau
174 Wailua Road
Kapaa, Hawaii 96746
United States
Ph: +1 808 821 6895
Fax: +1 808 822 4520

Bali Hai Tours
Box 339 Post Office
Anahola HI 96703
United States
Ph: 808 634 2317

Visas: Most Australians do not need a visa, providing they have a machine-readable passport with at least six months validity after the departure day, have a round-trip non-refundable ticket and do not intend to stay longer than 90 days. Australians need to complete a pre-travel authorisation at

Electricity: 110V to 115V at 60Hz. Outlets take two parallel, flat prongs. Australian visitors will need a US adapter and converter.

Time zone: Hawaii is GMT -10.

Currency: The American dollar.

International dialling code: +1.

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