The Island of Kauai

I was most excited about visiting Kauai because it is a place I haven’t seen before and I looked forward to one of the activities we planned to do there, which I won’t spoil in my opening sentence.

We arrived late at night after a very brief flight of only 20 minutes from O’ahu.  After retrieving our bags and rental car we had to drive about an hour to our accommodation which was on the north side of the island in Princeville.  It was raining a bit and I was totally wiped from the day so I might have zonked out a bit while Callum was driving which almost never happens a lot.  It rained heavily when we got to our place so we got soaked walking the distance from car to door but once we got inside our room we were so pleased because it was veritable luxury compared to our horrible hostel room in Waikiki.  It was clean!  It had a kitchenette!  The bathroom was large!  There was counter space for my makeup and toiletries!  There was a television!  There was a table and two chairs!  There was a pool and hot tub on the grounds!  Yes, Callum earned some husband points for booking this deluxe location.  I dropped my bags, had a rinse off shower and promptly fell asleep almost before I managed to brush my hair.

The next morning we had to get up relatively early and drive alllll the way back to basically the exact place we arrived on Kauai.  We were checking into our helicopter flight!!!  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we splurged on a helicopter ride in Hawaii.  And if you’re ever going to do it, do it in Kauai because man-oh-man was it worth every single penny.  Especially because Callum may or may not have told the nice people at the desk that it was our honeymoon and so we got the front seats.  And by “may or may not” I mean he kind of did.  Although, to be fair the placement of where everyone sits is kind of random due to the weight of every passenger.  Perhaps we were the correct weight for the front seats.  Who knows!  I am just so thankful we got to sit where we sat.

The whole flight was AH-MAY-ZING.  I was grinning the whole time, and I said “wow” a lot.  We were nervous about the flight because the whole drive from Princeville it was overcast and a bit drizzly.  There were a few breaks in the clouds but mostly it looked like not the most amazing day to fly.  However, when we arrived at the tarmac our pilot said that the weather was perfect because the rain made the waterfalls better and the sky was bursting with rainbows and the sun was coming out.  So our 10:30am flight was the best time to fly.  We had a one hour flight and we basically went all over the island.  We saw mountains, canyons, waterfalls (including the famed “Jurassic Park” waterfall), rainbows and the best part: the Napali coastline.  I was amazed at what we were seeing.  It was so beautiful it almost didn’t seem real.  I’ve seen video footage and pictures of it before but seeing it with your own eyes is indescribable.  Case in point: I’m having a hard time coming up with anything more interesting than “it was so beautiful”.  I have always admired how Hawaii’s mountains look like they’ve been gently folded like a kneaded slab of clay and then just left there.  They look like a painting where the artist has roughly blocked in the major shapes and colours and then decided not to blend.  But it doesn’t look sharp!  The folds are curved in places.  I dunno, just go see it yourself.  We were also fortunate to be able to fly into the crater of Mount Waialeale where there are heaps of waterfalls called the “wall of tears” and which is termed “the wettest place on earth”.  The previous helicopter flight wasn’t able to fly over the ridge because of inclement weather.  The hour in the sky felt like 10 minutes and when we landed I wished we could go back up again.  Two of the other four people felt like throwing up so wished it had been shorter.  I didn’t blame them; they all basically paid for Callum and I to have an incredible time because of our front seats.  It might be one of the top five things we’ve done on this year trip.  I might wager in the top three!

The helicopter was a hard act to follow so we found a beach to look at and laughed at all the roosters everywhere.  Kauai has a lot of chickens.  So many that t-shirt companies are making money by selling rooster shirts as the island’s souvenir.  We found lunch at the shops at Poipu where I ate the most delicious grilled cheese sandwich I have perhaps ever eaten.  It had grilled pineapple in it.  Yum!  We had a lovely time just resting in the sun at Poipu Beach Park until the rain chased us away.  We drove back to the north side and had a cheap dinner by getting prepared salads and meats from Foodland.  I love the simple shop names you can find in Hawaii.  Beer is to be purchased from The Beer Store.  Need shoes?  Go to The Shoe Store.  Want to rent DVDs?  Go to the Movie Shop.  It’s so pragmatic.

Our second day in Kauai we hiked along the Napali Coast for the first two miles of the trail.  This is a common and popular thing to do for day-trippers such as ourselves.  If we had had more time in Kauai it would have been most interesting and quite the adventure to do the overnight hike option.  It would take 14 hours round trip to do the whole stretch which is possible for hikers to do.  Most would do it in two days so as to better enjoy the walk and the views.  We were luckier than most when we arrived at the parking area for the hike as it was pretty tight and nobody seemed to be leaving.  We just managed to get a spot and struck out on the hike which has a steep trailhead.  The trail was muddy and rocky and slippery but the hours we were doing it were hot and sunny so the sun was drying the mud as best it could while we walked.  The views were stunning and the ½ mile markers were really appreciated by me.  I can handle anything so long as I can measure how long it is going to take.  At the end of the two miles there is a little beach where everyone gets their reward.  The water was refreshing though we hadn’t brought our swimsuits or any towels.  We had a snack and watched the Instagram models posing in their matching red one pieces.  It was a tough hike for me especially because I had a bit of a slip and slammed down hard on my backside catching my fall with my hand.  It didn’t feel great for the next half hour and I was sure I had sprained it somehow but it eventually subsided.  The arrival back into town for some food and refreshment was doubly enjoyed, as was the warm shower later on.

Our third day we made the journey to Waimea Canyon which is a must-do when visiting Kauai.  The scenery we saw on this day was more impressive to us than the Grand Canyon.  The hills were lush and the greens contrasted with the red earth which Hawaii is famed for.  We drove along the road, stopping at different viewpoints and even spotted the same helicopter company we had flown with two days earlier.  We did one hike down a bit to see a waterfall.  However, the view was a bit anticlimactic as it was encumbered by trees and bushes and we were seeing the canyon from different viewpoints before the waterfall.  It was a good hike for exercise and more intimate views of the canyon, though.

Our final day on Kauai we made short stops at a few different locations to make the most of the sight-seeing.  We first stopped at Hanalei Bay which Callum fell in love with.  It was a very pretty spot with an iconic pier with a covered portion at the end.  We also visited the Kilauea Lighthouse, meandered through a few shops at Kapaa and drove to view yet a couple more waterfalls near the airport in Lihue.  I wish we could have had one lazy beach day while on Kauai but overall I am quite pleased with all we saw and did while there.  It is quite the adventure island which I would be happy to return to!  Our flight to Maui was later that night.

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