After arriving in Lihue we went straight to our car rental hoping they would have the jeep available for our reservation, just about every person in line ahead of us rented one.
We had a few hours left before sunset so we set out for Poihale Beach on the very West end of the Island to finish the day. Along the way we saw our first Hawaiian rainbow. Once the black top ended it was a very long extremely rocky road to the beach, the rough gravel eventually turned into large protruding rock and deep potholes in the road, it definitely affirmed the Jeep was a wise decision.
The next morning we went up to Waimea Canyon, stopped at many of the lookouts and took a short part of Pihea trail before hiking Awa’awapuhi trail. The end of the canyon road overlooks the North shore and the Pihea trail up to a certain point continues those views before connecting to another trail.
We stopped at a farmers market on the way back to Poipu and tried some Rambutan, bought fresh micro greens and tried coconut treats. We spent the evening on Poipu beach right from the property we stayed.
Our third day we checked out and headed early to find the cave nearby created by a sinkhole. We got there and the cave hole was gated off so you couldn’t crawl through, turns out they open it between 10AM-2PM. We decided last minute to catch a helicopter tour, we met a great couple from London we got to share the tour with. It was my third time in a heli and it was quite rough in a few areas but the views were unreal and if I had to choose one island to do an air tour it would be Kauai. On the rest of the way North we went to the Wailua Falls lookout and then we went to the Kamokila Village on the Wailua river to rent a kayak and paddle to Secret Falls trail to the waterfall, the river is the only way to get to the trailhead for this waterfall.
From there we headed to our stay on the very North part of the island in Haena, after getting to our room we realized there was a black mold problem. They moved us to a much cleaner unit for the night but it still had mildew issues and due to health risks we decided to book a different place despite loving the location and the views there. Keep in mind if you have allergies or are sensitive to mold the North shore is a very rainy tropical place where mold can appear quickly inside.
Before heading to the next place for check-in we started the Kalalu Trail. Again the jeep comes in handy especially getting creative with parking space. The trail had seen a lot of rain over the days before and the day we hiked it was extremely slippery clay mud one way and going through completely running water the other way. We did the 4 mile out and back to the beach, it is a moderate hike but the conditions did make it more difficult and we witnessed many people falling and injured from the weather conditions but the views on the North Shore are worth it in my personal opinion. On the way to the trail parking lot we stopped to check out a couple caves with spiders hanging out nearby but I ran in at my own risk anyway.
We were famished after the hike and stopped at Bubba’s burgers in downtown Hanalei, turns out it’s a pretty famous place with the likes of many actors and musicians stopping in. The burgers are local pasture grass fed raised yet the patties were surprisingly small in size and while my better half opted for the full on burger I went for the lettuce wrapped version. The female workers there seem to be sporting a similar jewelry line with the prestigious Kauai sunset shell and sea glass found on the beaches there, we inquired about them and found out it’s a local girl from Kauai that collects the pieces on Kauai and makes the jewelry. We bought Bubba’s tees before leaving! We got settled in at our place and later stopped at one of the stores in Hanalei to see their stock of the jewelry we heard about but didn’t find anything that stuck out, hit up an amazing grilled cheese place that serves homemade ice cream including dairy free homemade coconut ice cream! Back at our place we enjoyed the stars on our lanai outside.
The next morning we went back to the northern part of the island to a botanical garden, it was an expensive fee however they nurse indigenous endangered species which was neat to learn about. It smelled incredible with all the exotic flowers which by the way is abundant on the Kalalu trail.
We went on a jewelry hunt for a piece by Caitlin Ross Odom. I found a ring in Haena by the local artist and a bracelet in Poipu. Crossing bridges along the way the rule is 5-7 cars cross and then yield to the oncoming cars since the North shore bridges are one lane. Driving the whole island around we saw incredibly beautiful landscapes. We stopped to see how the Taro fields were being planted and harvested and pulled out for many of the lookouts.
Kauai banned plastics 5 years ago on the entire island. Kauai is also notably a vocal GMO free place since GMO’s are invasive for native plant life, Kauai is especially against this type of danger to their indigenous species. Out of islands Kauai, Maui and Oahu so far Kauai is by far the best island. Once we see the Big Island the verdict will be in.
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