Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai, the Garden Isle

Kauai, the Garden Isle, is covered in a tropical rainforest and boasts a stunning lush scenery.  From the air it glimmers like a brilliant green jewel.  It’s the least commercially developed of all the Hawaiian islands, but there is so much to explore: beautiful beaches, the dramatic Na Pali coast, waterfalls, kayaking, hiking….it wasn’t going to be hard to fill in my time.  The only shame for me was that I couldn’t fully experience it all.

Kauai, Hawaii

The Napali Coast

A few months ago I had read an article about the Na Pali Coast, and in particular the Kalalau Trail.  It’s described as a strenuous trail, 11 miles one way, which sweeps along the coast line.  To complete the whole thing you require a permit and you would normally camp at the end point in Kalalau Valley, but you can walk to Hanakoa Valley, which is about the half-way point.  This is what I had my heart set on, and I booked this holiday, envisaging five days with several hikes.

Sadly this was not to be.  Following the last short hike I did, the Dragon’s Back in Hong Kong, I had developed an injury on my lower right shin.  I had been resting it, and diligently doing the exercises recommended by the physio, however in another stroke of bad luck, about two weeks before I left, I severely sprained my left foot as well!  Then after the hike to Diamond Head injuries on both my left foot and right shin were aggravated and it got to the point where I could barely walk.  Very reluctantly I realised that hobbling around the supermarket in Princeville was all I was going to be able to manage.  As an aside, when I returned to Sydney I had an x-ray on my right shin and finally got the diagnosis that it was a stress fracture.  So probably a good thing I didn’t push it and walk, I could have damaged it much more seriously.

Although bitterly disappointed that I couldn’t walk, luckily however there is much to do in Kauai that doesn’t involve hiking.  For starters there are more than 60 beaches and it was really fun to explore in my Jeep and stumble across some of the most amazing golden sandy stretches, which I pretty much had to myself most of the time.  My favourite was probably Kauapea Beach, or more commonly known as Secret Beach.  It’s absolutely gorgeous – a long beach with golden sand and fringed by green jungle and palm trees.  Unofficially it’s also known as a nude beach because it’s only accessible after a short 10 minute hike (or hobble), and I did spot a few nudists there (no I wasn’t one of them!), even though it’s officially outlawed in Hawaii.

Kauai, Hawaii

I loved the Secret Beach!

Kauai, Hawaii

Kauapea Beach, or Secret Beach

I also signed up for a Blue Dolphin catamaran trip to see the Na Pali coast.  The water is astonishingly blue and clear, and there is really nothing to prepare you for the majesty of the cliffs.  We cruised up the coast line, spotting green sea turtles, schools of small spinner dolphins jumping in and out, and then a nude hippy doing yoga at the beach in Kalalau Valley!  We stopped and did some snorkelling, enjoyed a delicious lunch and then back to shore.

Kauai, Hawaii

The beautiful Na Pali Coast

As I was on a different side of the island I decided to explore some more and drove up to the Waimea Canyon.  I didn’t really have much idea of what I was going to, just that it was a very steep and narrow climb up to the viewing point.  When I got there it completely took my breath away, it was truly stunning.  The views are panoramic and I could have stayed and just soaked it up for hours.

Kauai, Hawaii

Waimea Canyon – breathtaking

Obviously there is so much to do in Kauai, but what really caught my eye was the chocolate tour with Garden Island Chocolate.  This was really worthwhile for anyone with any interest in chocolate.  We learnt about how chocolate is grown, made and then of course eaten and enjoyed.  I admit my favourite part was the second half, which is where the “all you can eat” part of the tour started.  They only served a minimum of 85% chocolate, and they experimented with a lot of different flavours – from chocolate with coconut and macadamia (my favourite), to sea salt, to bacon!  Definitely recommended.

Kauai, Hawaii

Cacao pods – where the magic begins!

Undoubtedly one of my highlights was a helicopter tour over the island.  It really is a beautiful, lush island. With a wide smile on my face as I soared above the green lush jungle, the waterfalls and the rainbows, I decided that I would definitely be back.  This time injury free and ready to hike and explore this green piece of paradise!

Kauai, Hawaii

Beautiful Kauai

Kauai, Hawaii

Beautiful Kauai

Kauai, Hawaii

The Kalalau Trail finished here at this beautiful beach.

Kauai, Hawaii

Poipu Beach

Kauai, Hawaii

Shave ice truck in Hanalei

Kauai, Hawaii

My hire car for the week – lots of fun!

Comments
2 Responses to “Kauai, the Garden Isle”
  1. Jackie says:

    Great reading as usual, very interesting. One day I would love to go back to Hawaii but will probably have to win lotto.. I was hoping to win forty mill this last weekend but three others won it instead dividing the money between them which is probably more fair especially as it wasn’t me!

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