Whether you’re an outdoor lover or like to keep things indoors, Kauai will treat you with exquisite scenery and it’s delectable cuisine.
I’m sure you are wondering where in the world is Kauai? Kauai is the 7th island if you counted starting from the right. It is referred to as the Garden Isle, meaning the Garden Island. This lush and mountainous destination was supposedly founded and put on the map by Captain James Cook, who also discovered Australia! (The Hawaiian cannibals later took him to the Big Island and ate him).
The estimated time to drive around the coast of Kauai is 1hr 30 mins, which is only half way around the island due to the fact that the road ends near the Na Pali Coast. However, there are hiking trails that allow you to visit lookouts such as the Na Pali State Park Lookout.
Waking up to the beautiful Kauai sunshine was great motivation to start the day! The Grand Hyatt Kauai is one of the few Grand Hyatt’s in the world, and it surely lives up to any expectation you may have. From holding giant macaws in the morning to poolside beverage and meal service, it is definitely for all the families and couples looking for a memorable holiday. This 5 star hotel is in a very central location in poipu, making it easier for you to travel around the island and go to great restaurants.
I definitely recommend hiring a car during your time in Kauai, as it will save you lots of money during your stay and will make it much easier for you to travel and explore without the hassle of finding a taxi! I used ‘Alamo’ car hiring during my stay and it was really easy to hire and just a minute away from the airport (they take you and your bags on a small van to Alamo).
On the first day, I decided to drive to the other side of Kauai, all the way to Tunnels Beach. From there, I would start to make the trip back by making all the stops on the way back. You will notice that every time you drive out of Poipu towards the North end of Kauai, that you will pass Maluhia Rd. This road is especially beautiful, because it has been designed as a tree tunnel! This tunnel travels for a mile and is beautiful to drive under every time you explore.
Tunnels beach is one of the nicest beaches in Kauai; along with it’s incredible rock formation enwreathed in vines and other vibrant shrubs and trees. This is definitely a great way to see a mountain up close, especially on the Garden Isle.
Next stop was Hanalei Bay Beach Park is definitely one of my favourite beaches in the world. The white sand stretched beach is formed in U shape, ensuring all angles of the beach are equipped with stunning views of the whales out in the ocean. Bring your binoculars!
Next exciting location was Anini Beach and Queen’s Bath. Anini Beach is a great beach with not many people on it. Great for a beach picnic or just fun in the sun! Queen’s bath is a series of giant rock pools that sit in a rock formation high above the ocean. Each rock pool has stunning views of the ocean and they are deep enough for you to swim in! This is definitely one of Kauai’s hidden treasures, and you should definitely look out for this place. Also, make sure you visit Queen’s bath on a calm day; otherwise the wave conditions can cause the baths to be dangerous.
Kilauea Lighthouse is a fantastic way to look over a cliff onto the ocean. A visit to this small lighthouse costs $5 per person from 10am till 4pm. Come and take lots of photos!
Secret beach’s beauty is definitely no secret! The light blue water is delightful to swim in, and also has a great view of the Kilauea Lighthouse from below. This beach has a lot of beautiful rock pools along the sand and it is good for snorkeling!
Kealia Beach is great for surfing and there is also a lifeguard so if you are with the family, this is a safe and beautiful beach to visit, and is very close to the waterfalls.
Wailua Falls was such an extraordinary adventure! It is quite tricky to find the entry to the trail, but once you find a red gate and walk down the short 5-minute trail to the waterfalls, you will want to stay there forever! These falls are the only few in Kauai that allow you to stand next to, and under them.
Now that we have made our way back to the hotel, we can head the other direction! If you do choose to stay in the Grand Hyatt, you will have beach front access to Shipwreck Beach which also has a gigantic rock cliff that many people climb up the beach trail to have a look at the exquisite views. Once you are up here, it is a great opportunity to walk along the ocean cliff trail, which will lead you along the coast on top of all the cliffs. This is great for all the active people wanting great scenery during great exercise!
Just around the corner from the hotel is Poipu beach, which is the most popular beach in the whole of Kauai! There are great restaurants on the beachfront such as Breneke’s which serves all kinds of food for the whole family!
To conclude the day, I had to see the one and only Spouting Horn Park. This viewing platform allows you to witness the spouting horn, which is a hole in the rocks along the beach. As the water crashes against these rocks, it gets sucked into a small cave underneath, causing the water to shoot out of the rocks up to 15m high! I couldn’t get myself to leave because it was so interesting to watch! This is a very rare sighting and there are only a few in the world. Go and check it out!
The following day, I planned a snorkeling trip with Holo Holo Charters, so I could get up close and personal with the whales, turtles and dolphins that are so beautiful in Hawaii. This tour departed from Port Allen (30 mins away from hotel), and travelled South-west to Kauai’s small neighbour island- Ni’i Hau. This island is also referred to as the forbidden island due to its small population and mind-blowing sites. The tour went for 7 hours, visiting the ‘Keyhole’, which is a giant hole in the centre of two adjacent rock formations above the ocean. The tour allows you to get really close to the keyhole and the shore of Ni’i Hau, which is an added bonus. During the snorkeling (they lend you the gear), I saw a sea turtle, and so many colourful fish! We then travelled back to Kauai and along the Na Pali Coast, which is renowned for its large population of Dolphins and Whales. The exquisite Coast was vibrant and filled with pods of dolphins that followed the boat, which was great for photo opportunities! Once we were closer to Port Allen again, and had seen about 100 pods of whales, out of no where, a whale popped up right beside the boat to wave it’s fin at us to say goodbye. This was my most memorable whale sighting I have ever seen and I’ll never forget it! This tour was definitely worth the money, as it is for all ages and the friendly staff also caters for Breakfast and lunch.
To make sure that I hadn’t missed any of Kauai’s beauty (or just that I wanted to see it all again), I booked a plane ride over Waimea Canyon on ‘Wings over Kauai’, which allows you to ride on a 8 seated plane for an hour. I was able to see over the magical canyon and also the Na Pali Coast. This is absolutely the best way to see everything that you can’t see from a car seat, such as hidden waterfalls and the wettest mountains on Earth! I also managed to see some whales from above! This tour departed from the Lihue Airport and was very easy to book. This is great to take the family on and also learn some things from the guide who narrates throughout the journey. I learnt so much like where movies such as the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Descendants and Indiana Jones were filmed - all on Kauai!
Overall, I was overly impressed with the range of activities and stunning scenery that Kauai has to offer, and if I’ being honest, I could live there!
I will definitely return in the near future to fall in love with it all over again!