The Garden Island - Last Stop
Trip Start Mar 20, 2010
41Trip End Aug 25, 2010
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We rented this very cute plantation home in North Kauai, about 2 blocks from Hanalei Bay beach, on the mountain side of Kuhio Highway which is considered the north side of Hanalei Bay - where the surfers hang out. Our home was in a rain-forest setting, down a dirt road which didn't have a name, it was surrounded by banana trees and provided us with mountain views off our back deck. Given we are in the heart of a rain-forest it means you never know what you are going to get in the morning, rain or shine
Kauai is filled to the rim with ferrel roosters..seriously, they are absolutely everywhere, either in your backyard singing their hearts out starting at 6am or along the highway and/or local shopping areas. At times you need to stop your car to allow a family chickens cross the road
Our time in Kauai was extremely mellow, we pretty much just wanted to enjoy our home and chill out at Hanalei Bay Beach. We did so much driving and exploring on Kona and Maui that we basked in not doing much for our last leg of the trip. Aside from hitting the beaches and getting some hikes in, we did do some exploring and visited the Kilauea Lighthouse and neighboring beaches/sights - Anini Beach, Kalihiwai Bay. We ventured into the towns of Kapa, Lihue and Waimea as well.
The best beaches in Kauai are found in the North Shore - in actuality, one of the best Hawaiian beaches is the Hanalei Bay Beach, so we didn't have to go far. Hanalei Bay Beach is really beautiful - it is a 2 mile horseshoe bay, the north side is home to the local surfers and the south side is calmer and home to kids (and Christina).
Napali Coast - Kalalau Valley trail to Hanakapi' ai Beach. This trail actually goes 11 miles out to Kalalua Valley, but we just did the first bit of it to Hanakapi' ai Beach - which was plenty. This trail begins at the most north end of Kauai, off of Ke' e' Beach in Ha' Ena State Park. This trek was spectacular and a lot of fun. It provided varied terrain and amazing views of the Napali Coast. We hiked all the way down to Hanakapi' ai Beach, where you can only get to by hiking, but unfortunately the beach is too rough to swim. One of the funniest things was that during the hike Brian was mentioning that of all the things we saw during our time in Hawaii we had yet to see any dolphins up close..literally as soon as he said that, we turned a corner of the trail and these two guys were walking up in the opposite direction towards us, one of them was wearing a Miami Dolphins visor..so Brian said, "oh..here is a Dolphin"
Waimea Canyon State Park - Referred to as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific (mile-wide, 3000 ft deep gorge). Located at northern west side Kauai this canyon provides numerous trails. We ended up taking a trek that ran along the canyon rim and down into waterfall. Really pretty views. Unfortunately our camera died so the shots we took are not available - hopefully we will be able to salvage them and upload them later. After that hike, we drove up to the end of Waimea Canyon road which led to Koke'e State Park and the Pu' uokila Lookout (5000 ft above sea level) which offered the most amazing shots of the Kalalau Valley (mentioned above)...we have these shots (keep in mind we used our iphone at this point, imagine what the photos would have looked like had we had a regular camera!).
Restaurants worth noting that we enjoyed
Bar Acuda - Excellent wine and tapas bar - gave us a taste for home
Tiki Nui - The absolute best pizza we ever had. We also got to meet the Maui Roller Derby team that happened to be in town hanging out that night.
Postcard Cafe - great organic food
Kalypso - We went here a few times, once for brunch and had Banana Foster / Macadamia Nut pancakes..yum!
Tropical Tacos - amazing fish tacos
Kauai was a wonderful chance for us to do a final recharge before returning to NYC. We really enjoyed our time in Hanalei. The town itself is very warm and welcoming and we look forward to returning.
Aug 13 - Aug 24