Our trip to “The Garden Island” came about when we stumbled upon a new year’s eve fireworks event poster on the internet. So we decided to travel to Kauai, 3rd island we visited in the Hawaiian archipelago. Not much in advance we made our travel arrangements for a 4 day/3 night trip. On the day of new year’s eve, after a 6 hour delayed flight from Long Beach, we finally arrived at Lihue airport, Kauai.
Our initial plan was to attend Auli’i Luau at Sheraton Kauai Resort, but it was fully booked due to busy season. In our rented car we drove to Poipu beach park to watch the fireworks spectacle as it was our only choice for the day. As we waited in line at a food truck for an hour and a half, the explosion of fireworks boomed in our ears as the sky lit into a colorful sparkle.
Soon after, the food truck ran out of food and with all restaurants closed for the day, we drove to our hotel hungry and tired. We checked in at Courtyard Kauai at Coconut Beach and to our rescue the Voyager Restaurant inside remained open. We ended our day with couple of Mai Tais and some good food while enjoying live entertainment and joyfully welcomed the New Year 2016.
There were chickens EVERYWHERE. Literally. They wandered about freely on roads, in parking lots, on trails and even on beaches. Weather that day was moderate and perfect for hiking. Kuhio highway 56 took us from our hotel all the way to Ke’e beach at Na pali Coast. We enjoyed this amazing scenic drive with a mix of ocean and valley views, among fields, flowers and dense tropical trees, all while trying not to run over a chicken. Along the last half mile or so were java plum trees. Fallen fruits that were squished by cars and shoes painted the road in black and purple. Parking lot was full so we found a spot few yards down the road next to a creek. We hopped on the rocks along the creek trying not to get ourselves wet to click few pictures before heading towards the beach.
Beach was almost empty as most hikers head straight to Kalalau trail. We climbed our way up tall rocks on this slippery muddy forest trail, enjoying slight drizzle and hoping it does not rain heavily. Before we knew it, the trail had leveled a bit and we got our first glimpse of the ocean along the Na pali coast. Most hikers target 2 miles upto Hanakapi’ai beach on this 11 mile hiking trail. But lazy hikers that we are, we turned around after about a mile.
Our next stop was Tunnels beach. After our not so tiring hike we sat on the beach (at a safe distance) to relax while sipping on a refreshing tender coconut. Guess nature didn’t like that. A huge wave crashed the party and took away one of our phones into the ocean. After drying our things and dusting all the wet sand we head to Limahuli garden and preserve. Well, it was closed.
Next we pulled over at Hanalei Valley lookout. Views of taro fields surrounded by deep green mountains and waterfalls at a distance was definitely worth the stop. We made a quick stop at Kilauea point. Lighthouse was closed as we arrived late, but we were able to watch from a distance and capture the beautiful scenery.
We had delicious dinner at Verde in kapaa and headed back to our hotel. We strolled on the empty moonlit beach to unwind and enjoyed the ocean all to ourselves.
Hibiscus flowers were the main attraction of the day. As we drove along south side of the island, we came across small plants of hibiscus to huge trees with 100s of blooms. We made our way to Mcbryde garden and took a 25min bus ride from the check-in. Our driver was very informative about the history of the gardens and surrounding area. From the bus we got a beautiful view of Allerton Gardens and learned a bit about the movies it was featured in and tour details.
We were dropped off to explore on our own. We spent few hours photographing a variety of tropical flowers and leisurely strolling on the many trails. Best part was the fragrant white flower from a canon ball tree that smelled like sweet white chocolate.
Not too far from the garden’s entrance is Spouting horn, where high surf caused ocean water to blow through a lava tube. Local vendors sold handmade jewellery and souvenirs there. On highway 50 we stopped at Paco’s Tacos for some delicious tacos and Lappert’s icecream next door.
With ocean at a distance we drove past villages and fields to Waimea Canyon, known as the grand canyon of the pacific. It was a beautiful place with nice views and waterfalls. We spent our evening at Poipu beach watching the sunset and then headed back to our hotel.
Every morning in Kauai we woke up to the sound of crowing roosters. Well they actually crowed all day, and night sometimes. Sun rose as we strolled on the calm peaceful beach and captured the beauty of this island some more.
A fresh smoothie and a wrap from Java Kai, Kapaa was the best way to kick start the day. 10 miles drive from our hotel is the beautiful Wailua Falls that flowed into Wailua river below surrounded by lush vegetation. The view was incredible.
Sweet smell of huge pears hanging from trees in the yards of locals filled the air on our way to Kadavul Hindu Temple. The temple is a magical place so tranquil and spiritual. Gorgeous views of Wailua river from the back simply says paradise. We made a quick stop at Opaekaa Falls on our way to the airport. This falls was not as closer in view as Wailua but still stunning.