My girlfriend and I (31,32) just returned from the greatest trip of either of our lives! Kauai is wonderful. It was the first time to Hawaii for both of us. When we left, we were asking each other if/when we ever return to Hawaii would we want to check out other islands or just return to Kauai? We both said, "Kauai!"
What girl doesn't like WalMart? Well, mine loves it. First stop: Walmart for necessities, alcohol, and some early trinkets/sovenoirs.
We stayed on the southern shore, in Poipu at the Kuhio Shores complex thru Coastline Cottages. Thanks to Lori and the beautiful fourth floor place we had to use. When we first arrived we both said that if we didn't have so many things we wanted to go check out we could sit there all week and be perfectly content.
Day#1: stayed down South and just relaxed after a long flight and some jet lag. Got up early (we did every morning by 6:30). Walked around in front of the condos and check out the ocean. Went to spouting horn and she loved the little jewelry flea-market down there. Saw our first turtle in the cove there also (many more sightings followed). I was excited to check out the water and use my snorkel gear I rented from Snorkel Bob's. So we hit Poipu beach. After checking it out and walking around, I went back to the car for the gear and as I was a big turtle was within 3' of shore just swimming around, so we checked him out. We both snorkel'd and found the amount of beautiful colorful fish right out from shore to be amazing. Of all the spots I snorkel'd, this was my favorite. Got Puka Dogs for lunch (my g/f loves hotdogs) and shopped at that little plaza. She said Puka dogs are like the best thing ever! hehe In the evening we hit up Brenneckes(sp?) for dinner. Amazing food, and our hostess waited for us to get a great window/ledge seat.
Day#2: Went WEST. My favorite day of the trip. Drove up Waimea Canyon and checked out ALL the lookout spots. BEAUTIFUL and pictures do not do this canyon justice. I've never been to the Grand Canyon, but WOW - Waimea is spendid. We spent a few minutes at the park/lodge at the top. On the way back down, we used the 4x4 JEEP and took a 5 mile (one way) dirt road to the end of one of the Napali coast ridges/moutains. As we pulled up at the end we got to see some large moutain goats take off over the hill. We were rewarded after a long 20-30min slow drive over bumpy, muddy, rutted, step, potholed trail roads with MAYBE the most serene fantastic mother nature view ever and it was ALL to ourselves. After making it down to the bottom of Canyon drive we did a little shopping and got some shave ice at Jo-Jos. We did lunch at the Shrimp Station (decent, but not great). We then decided to head further our West and ventured to Polihale beach. Getting to Polihale beach required another 4x4 trip down a long bumpy winding questionable road next to farm fields. At the end was an amazing beach that showcases the strength of the ocean. No swimming/snorkeling here, unless your a brave one. We walked the beach as far North as possible to where the Napali's rugged coast and cliffs begin. We sunbathed at this spot for a hour or so and the heat out here is scorching. We decided to stay out here late and watch the sunset. What a good choice, probably the most beautiful sunset I've ever seen in my life. Wowzers.
Day#3: Mostly checked out the east side. Started the day with a helicopter tour of the island that had been rescheduled from Tues. We went with Jack-Harter and used the open door Huges500E. That "E" is for excitement as Cornell, our assistant there said - LOL. Jason was our pilot. This ride definately isn't for the faint of heart and my g/f said she was scared 98% of the time, but still enjoyed the ride. She did get a few pictures that were good enough to be postcards IMHO. We survived the one-hour flight and made it back safely. Drove to Wailua falls and checked them out from the ground after seeing them from the heli. Spent a few hours at Lydgate beach and I of course snorkeled again. I got her in the water for a few minutes, but she said the water was freezing and went back to her sunbathing towel. We went further up the coast and had dinner at Scottys BBQ (a thanks for the Ultimate Kauai Guidebook writer). Food and drinks were both pretty good with a great view of the palm trees and ocean out back.
Day#4: Went North this day. Checked out the lighthouse at Kilauea in the morning. It wasn't open yet, so we had to settle for the official viewing spot. Tons of wildlife (birds) here on the cliff. We tried to find the secret lava pools/beach but couldn't find the right road/trail (one of our only failures of the trip). We checked out Anini beach but neither of us got in as it was early in the morning and cold. We checked out the Hanalei valley lookout and the little shopping center near there. We decided to try and find Queen's Bath and had success. You have to pull into the St.Regis resort and drive back in there to a subdivision type area and park in this little dirt lot that has room for MAYBE 8-10 cars. Short downhill hike past some waterfalls and your on the lava cliffs overlooking the strong ocean. PLEASE be careful and attentive here - people have died. We both decided to swim in Queen's bath (it was fairly calm that day) and it ended up being one of our highlights. There ARE fish in Queen's Bath, so take your snorkel gear - I did. After that we continued North and did some shopping and ate lunch/late dinner at Kalypso Bar&Grill. Good food and drinks! We checked out other beaches along the way and I snorkeled at Tunnels for awhile when she layed out. Earlier she had accidently let the ocean come up in her lap while sitting on the shore and get her digi cam wet and ruin it. She was so upset. ;( We checked out the dry cave near Tunnels. We both loved the old road the curves thru the far North side and all the quaint little one laned bridges up here. After a long day we headed back South with a decent drive ahead of us...
Day#5: We were going to go back up North and do the first 2 miles of the Napali coast hike, but since the weather up there the day before was somewhat cold and rainy we decided to stay South and enjoy the better weather. Are we glad we did! We started the morning back up at Souting Horn where the g/f bought some jewelry and I checked out the ocean. Spouting Horn was putting on a lot better show that morning then day1. We drove along the shoreline and decided to try to find the "hidden" Mahaulepu beaches. After arriving early and being one of the first ones out there we started walking to see where we wanted to lay our towels and enjoy the warm sun. As we are walking, here comes maybe a 5' monk seal outta the water and up on shore. We were the first ones to see him. We layed our towels in front of a large washed up branch and stayed about 15-20' away from him. We just sunbathed while he rested and warmed. My g/f absolutely loved it and this made her trip. We probably got to spend ~2hrs with him (i went out and snorkeled for a bit and came back in to see he was still there). Volunteers eventually (few hours after we saw him come ashore) roped him off. We heard from some passer-bys that there was another one down around the point on another beach, so we walked down and checked him out. He was much bigger, but much more lazy. Our little guy moved around a lot. As we began to get hungry we packed it up and headed out as much as my g/f wanted to stay there ALL day until "her' seal went back into the water. I took her for another Puka Dog (mild garlic and mango relish for her) and we got caught in a rainstorm with our JEEP top down. Argh!! We enjoyed the evening around the condo and got ready for our final dinner next door at the Beach House before leaving the next morning. The food was fabulous, but pricey. However, considering your sitting on the water almost its worth it. Our last night falling asleep with the lanai doors open to the crashing sound of the soothing ocean......
Day#6: Only had the morning and then it was off to Lihue airport to head home! We just relaxed around the condo watching the turtles off our fourth floor lanai and walked around the edge of the water for the last time. Treated to 3 of the best rainbows ever that morning! ;( If only it never had to end.
Pictures (tons) can be found here [lots our just us and not really of interest to you guys - sorry]:
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___SORRY for the long winded post, but this was the one of, if not the greatest week in my life and rehashing it in words was fun____