I’m back from heavenly Hawaii with MUCH to share with you. I cannot believe that this adventure has already come & gone, like most people always say; it absolutely was NOT long enough! Thankfully, I’ll have at least a week of reliving the trip through my posts & all the photos/videos I’ll be sharing to make up for being back in rainy Vancouver. So let’s get to it shall we, let me take you through a virtual wandertour of my Hawaiian adventure.
First things first, as much as I love a good adventure, I love reunions with my favourite people just as much. Spending as much time travelling & living overseas as I have in the last few years I really can’t express how much I appreciate the people who have stuck around in my life with all my comings & goings. So to make this adventure even more amazing (I didn’t know if that was even possible) cue a reunion with the best friend ever!
After a little under 6 hours in the air we landed on Oahu around 10pm & called it a night at a hotel near to the airport to board our early flight over to Kauai… And thus begins our adventure. After deciding one of us would get the window seat on the way there & one on the way back we were buckled in for the 34 minute flight north to Kauai (yep I said 34 mins, not even 15 minutes in the air actually). I was able to squeeze a few peeks out the window and was immediately blown away, flying that low to the ocean is amazing. You can see so much being so low that it’s the best way to explore above the islands in my opinion.
Just as quickly as we took off we were wheels down on the tarmac & off to pick up our rental car. If you plan on going to Hawaii at any point you’ll most likely read that it’s best to rent a car, which I will 100% agree with! There is not a transit system on Kauai so having your own wheels is definitely the best bet, take a look at this site Discount Hawaii we got a decent size car (hyundai elentra), no payment before arrival and pretty good prices. Manned with Mikey’s driving skills & GPS we headed off in search of our Hotel; Castle Mokihana. Not even 15 minutes from Lihue airport and we had arrived, albeit too early to check in but we immediately knew we had chosen the best spot for the first part of our trip when we saw the view from the “backyard”. Needless to say we were ready to explore!
Driving north from Kapaa the side of the highway is lined with beaches, so we figured we’d make a stop and lay out for a little while until our room was ready. After a little sun (or for my face a lot apparently thanks to the burnt nose) we headed back to the hotel, did some planning for the next few days & were in bed early to sleep off the jet lag. And then bright and early on Monday morning we began our adventures properly, starting off with the most spectacular sunrise right over our hotel and from there we took off driving south to Waimea Canyon State Park or aptly nicknamed ‘The Grand Canyon of the Pacific’. Over 14 miles long (just a heads up every distance will be measured in miles because thats what I remember from the signage), stretching 1 mile wide & over 3 600 ft deep there’s not anything that I had ever seen before than compared. The drive out from Kapaa alone adds on to the feeling of being in a completely other world. From roadside waterfalls, to red sandy hills to rival that of P.E.I to sheer drop off cliffs perfect for seeing down into the canyon itself you almost forget that you’re driving out to a lookout point. We took in a ton of roadside viewpoints before arriving at the end platform and we were not disappointed.
We did think that there was a trail that took you in and around the canyon, but quickly discovered that was not the case so we hopped back into the car & found ourselves in Kokee State park with just the trail! Just north of Waimea canyon and almost 4 000 ft above sea level, we were graced with incredible views of the canyon as well as some hidden waterfalls & insane rock faces. Just before we had arrived on Kauai there had been a massive rainfall (which keeps the Garden Isle green in all her glory of course) but also makes the awesome trails a bit challenging to say the least. But Mikey & I were in for the adventure from the get go and with a little help for some branches and our adventurous spirits we didn’t let a little mud slow us down! All that beauty was staring us right in the face but it did take us a bit of mud slide maneuvering to get ourselves to the end.
Our plan for the next day was something we had both talked endlessly about doing and decided no matter what we would do it, so with that we set off towards the start of the Na Pali Coast & the 11 mile Kalalau Trail. Sadly (to start) when we arrived the rain had apparently come out from the mountains and was less than accommodating for a hike (especially after reading about the challenges we may face along the way) after Mikey coaxing me a little bit (I wasn’t a fan of being soaked) we were up and off on the trail promising each other to go as far as we could before calling it a day. Now to give you an idea of how rugged this coast line is not 2 days before we arrived on Kauai did 52 hikers got stranded, and then air lifted off the trail due to intense flash floods washing away trails and leaving them stuck overnight. So we had made the pact that we wouldn’t end up as hikers 53 & 54 and took our time getting up the first stretch of muddy trail, when after a while the rain actually felt good in the heat of a Hawaiian morning and we met some equally as eager fellow hikers along the way. As we continued we realized that the previous day’s muddy trail hadn’t prepared us for this mud and the sometimes vertical downward trails with nothing to hold on to, but we laughed it off and then something quite surprising happened. Most of the way along it had been cloudy and added to the drama of the Na Pali coast but when we got to one fairly large look out point, the sun & blue sky made an appearance and ultimately made the dirt up to our knees and the soaked feeling so worth it.
From there we enjoyed the rest of the trail (even through the ridiculously muddy trek back to the parking lot) where we decided to take it easy for the rest of the day by checking out some wicked caves & a beach, although closed due to high surf it was a good spot for a well deserved coconut!
That leads us to our last (almost) full day on Kauai before taking a late afternoon flight back over to Oahu for the rest of our trip. We made the most out of our last bit of time by checking out Wailua Falls, which was within 15 minutes from the hotel and en route to the beach. It’s a roadside attraction, where you can drive up, park & take a few good shots of the top of the falls & then get back in your car & drive off. Buttttttt with no convincing needed Mikey & I managed to find a few things online giving instructions on how to actually hike down to the base of the falls. So on we trekked. And using our previously gained hiking skills we fandangled our way from the parking lot down the steep “trail” until we reached the river and figured we could walk along until we reached the bottom of the falls…however the info online we found was a bit misleading in time & ease so we managed to get as far as we could before deciding that heading back was our only option. A tad disappointed we vowed that on Oahu we would tackle more waterfalls! With that we headed off to do a bit of relaxing at Poipu beach which had been recommended to us aby quite a few people in the days prior, and we were not disappointed by it. I mean would you be?
And there you have it folks! The first bit of our Aloha Reunion on Kauai, next up 4 insane days spent on Oahu experiencing crazy surf & the tropical vibe you hear so much about in Hawaii.