The Garden Island
We stopped for shave ice on the way back at Wailua shave ice. It was on a whole different level than the other shave ice we had. They use real fruit, coconut cream, and fresh ingredients. This one was named “Almond Joy.”
Enjoying some POG juice on a boat tour!
Our second of several trips to the Na Pali coast. We took a boat trip along the coast that also went out to Ni’Hau, a private island west of Kauai.
It was cool flying over the Na Pali coast, but seeing it from this angle was special.
The boat we were on was a pretty large catamaran, but we were able to get pretty close to a couple of caves. We had another boat trip scheduled for later during our time in Kauai… this was like an appetizer for things to come!
Spinner dolphins hang out near the boats and ride the waves while they sleep. There were so many!
We rode along the Na Pali coast for a bit before heading out to sea towards Ni’Hau.
The only way to access this beach is the Kalalau Trail, closed during our stay. I believe boats aren’t allowed to stop here.
We totally lucked out with the weather the entire trip. The boat ride to Ni’ Hau is normally brutal. Waves come in from the north that make the channel impassable during much of the year. It was like lake water for us. The captain’s remarks mirrored our pilot’s the day before. He had not seen a day this clear and calm in months. Apparently May is the time to go to Hawaii!
The keyhole at Lehua Rock.
I was really excited to dive Ni’Hau. It’s supposed to be basically untouched since it’s a whole thing to get there, and is private. The ocean current was absolutely crazy. The guy sitting next to me here froke out once we were in the water and had to go back, so it was just me and the guide. It was a difficult dive due to the overwhelming current, but I did see my first shark!
The next morning, we went tubing down old sugar cane plantation canals. It was a really cool experience. This is the gate to the private road that leads to the canal. It’s all on private land, and the owners’ family runs the business.
Most of the tubing went through hand-dug tunnels. The water was very “refreshing!”
Wailua Falls. It’s much bigger than it looks in the picture.
The Wailua River, the largest river in Hawaii.
Opaekaa Falls was visible from the other side of the road.
I believe that’s Mount Wai’ale’ale in the distance (the wettest spot on earth that we flew over in the helicopter).
A peacock we came across along the river.
We were lucky to have Christina and Aaron fly in and join us for a few days in Kauai! This was our last night, and last sunset on the north shore.
The sky really looked like this.
The sunsets on the north shore were something special.
Our time on the north shore was great, but we were looking forward to exploring the south and west.
We went on a hard, but well worth it hike the next day. It took several hours due to the condition of the trail. It was great because there weren’t many people on it.
The waterfall at the end of the trail. It was a lot of work to get to, but it was really nice having it basically to ourselves (there were a couple of other small groups there, but nothing like the big tourist areas).
We had a refreshing dip in the waterfall after our challenging hike in.
We camped in Polihale State Park on the beach during our first night in the south. This is where the Na Pali coast begins. It was memorial day weekend, so a bit crowded. It is quite a trip to get to this beach. You turn off the main road onto a gravel road for several miles, then through some questionable sand roads (felt good to be in a Jeep).
The stars out here were amazing.
Not a bad view to wake up to!
Polihale in the morning. It started to heat up really fast, so we left pretty early.
We went on a hike recommended by our boat captain, the Awaawapuhi Trail, which runs along a portion of the Na Pali coast.
These flowers were everywhere. There was a constant buzz (loud) in the air from all the honeybees.
Lisa spotted this crazy mushroom that looked like it belonged in a scifi movie.
The view from one of the points in the trail. It was really high up, and pretty slippery from loose sand/gravel.
Just over this ledge is a drop off that was making me pretty nervous. The ground is not what I’d call solid here. Lisa definitely does better with heights than I do.
Hikes in Hawaii are next-level.
More views of the Na Pali coast.
We stopped by the Waimea canyon viewpoint on our way back from the trail. Views for days.
We went kayaking down the Wailua river the next day. We kayaked to a spot to hike to a not-so-secret waterfall.
They call it the “secret” waterfall because you have to kayak and hike to it, but it was pretty mobbed. Still, pretty awesome.
Lisa and I under the waterfall.
We were staying in the south at this point, so we decided to check out Poipu beach. The snorkeling was actually pretty good for a crowded public beach!
Some of the fish at Poipu beach.
Random turtle that decided to hang out on the beach.
The next day, we went back to the Na Pali coast. This time on a really small boat. It was us, two other couples and the captain. This tour was really nice because we got to go in many of the caves that larger boats can’t get near.
Looking out from inside a cave.
Talk about a secluded beach. Only accessible via the (super difficult and dangerous) Kalalau Trail.
One of many waterfalls on the coastline.
Inside one of the many caves we got to explore. This captain said the same thing about the weather as previous guides… that it was some of the best of the whole year.
I think we’d both recommend seeing the Na Pali coast in a small boat. It was really cool getting closer to the coastline and going into many of the caves. It really is a special place.
One of our last hikes of the trip. We hiked the sleeping giant trail after having had it recommended countless times.
Kauai is a small place. We actually ran into one of the guys that was working the boat of one of our tours – at the top of the mountain of all places.
Back to Wailua shave ice!
One last hike, at Hoppii Falls. Cows in Hawaii are living the life. On the way back, Lisa spotted a wild hog on the trail, which was interesting (we may have startled it, which was a little unsettling).
The first waterfall at Hoopii Falls. To swim in this one, you had to jump off a ~30′ cliff. We opted out of that.
The second waterfall was much more accessible and had a nice swimming hole. It had a rope swing that took a little practice but was super fun!
We drove back up to Waimea Canyon for one last look before we had to leave. It was noticeably cooler up here, and a nice break from the heat down below.
The sunset at Waimea Canyon was pretty spectacular.
One last look at the canyon.
The drive back down was scenic as well.
You can see the island of Ni Hau in the distance on the horizon.
We visited Kauai Coffee on our last day. We had passed fields of coffee trees during our stay that stretched as far as we could see. We weren’t sure what they were at the time, but they were all fields owned and operated by Kauai Coffee.
Coffee beans. Apparently if the trees aren’t trimmed periodically, the beans get larger and larger, up to the size of a small coconut.
Our last sunset. We went back up the Hanalei on the north shore for dinner before heading to the airport to fly out.
The last bit of sun during our stay in Hawaii. This was at a random spot in between Hanalei and the airport.
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