Take me there Tuesday: Menehune Fishpond Overlook at Hule’ia National Wildlife Refuge

Photo credit to Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Daeja Fallas

As you’re planning your sightseeing for Kauai, you’ll want to add the view of the Menehune Pond in the Hule’ia National Wildlife Refuge. This  ancient Hawaiian fishpond and its surrounds are not only beautiful, but there’s a very neat legend about this fishpond.

What are Hawaiian Fishponds?

Hawaiian fishponds are a brilliant form of ancient aquaculture. The ponds are rock structures built into the ocean or along inlets usually in a semi-circle formation. Think of it kind of like a fence or a wall that’s built in the ocean or in the case of the Menehune Pond, a stream. The small gaps in the rock wall allows small fish to get inside the pond. The fish end up staying in the pond. As they grow, the become too large to get through the small gaps in the rock wall to exit. Eventually, they are big enough to be caught for dinner.

Fishponds have been in use for centuries. It’s estimated that Menehune Pond is about 1,000 years old. One of its claims to fame is that it’s listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

What is the legend of the Menehune Fishpond?

This fishpond is known by several names. We’ve most commonly seen it called Alekoko or Menehune. I’ve heard it called Menehune Pond the most. That must be due to the legend of how it was built. Per GoHawaii,

“The legend that surrounds the fishpond is based on the mythical Menehune, Hawaiʻi’s mischievous little people who performed legendary engineering feats. The Menehune lived in the forest and hid from humans. According to Hawaiian legends, the Menehune built this entire fishpond in one night. They managed this amazing task by lining up from the village of Makaweli for 25 miles, passing stones hand-to-hand to build the pond. Though Menehune legends abound, some say the word may have derived from the Tahitian word manahune meaning commoner, or small in social standing, not in physical size.”

Menehune Pond at sunset. Photo credit to KaRyle who share this photo with us for Aloha Friday Photos

How can you see the Menehune Pond?

Hule’ia National Reserve and the Menehune Pond are located on the east side of Kauai. More specifically, it’s in the Lihue area near Nawiliwili Bay and Harbor.

To get a great view of Menehune Pond and the Hule’ia National Wildlife Preserve, find the small pull out and overlook off of Hulemalu Road. See this link to Google Maps to get directions.

About Hule’ia National Wildlife Refuge

The Menehune Fishpond is located in the pristine Hule’ia National Wildlife Refuge. The Hule’ia Stream runs through this verdant valley.

If you are a birdwatcher, you’ll want to bring your binoculars to watch for protected and endangered birds. This wildlife refuge was established in 1973 to protect endangered, native birds.

A view from our kayak from the outside of the Menehune Fishpond

We have kayaked the Hule’ia Stream with Outfitters Kauai. It is a very peaceful and relatively easy to kayak going with the wind at your back.

View of the barrier of Akeloko Fishpond as seen from kayaking the Huleia StreamFor more information about Hule’ia National Wildlife Reserve and caring for it, see Malama Hule’ia.

Have you seen the Menehune Fishpond during your travels to Kauai?

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