Destination Hawaii - here we come. We've been to Hawaii on several occasions, spending time in Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. This vacation we chose to stay at Kauai for 3 days and then head back to Oahu to meet up with our children and grandchildren.
We normally fly Jetstar from Sydney, but this time chose to fly Hawaiian Airlines. A 10 hour flight from Sydney to Honolulu and then a 2 hour stop over (which was needed to get through customs - flying anywhere from Honolulu around 10am to 2pm can be a nightmare with long lines, as Hawaiian airlines schedules most of their flights around those times) before the final 30 minute flight to Kauai.
Previously we have flown to the smaller islands with Mokulele airlines (a small 9 seater plane) - superb views and a different experience to flying in the bigger Hawaiian airline planes, which we did this time.
Kauai, known as the "Garden Island" is Hawaii's fourth largest island which is an accurate description with its tropical rainforests, forking rivers, jagged cliffs and mountains, and cascading waterfalls. After much research I chose to stay at Kauai Beach Resort, which was only a short drive from the airport. This placed us in a central location, so we could drive to the North Shore one day and then drive south towards the Canyon, Nā Pali coastline and Poipu the next day.
We had a beachfront room and the views were stunning.
You could choose to lounge by any of the four sparkling swimming pools steps from the sand, nosh on fresh island fare, relax in the tranquil spa, experience aloha all around you…or do nothing at all. Of course, we chose the totally opposite, which was to explore, hike, helicopter and climb.
The resort provided 2 complimentary mai tai cocktails, which were enjoyed watching the hula show around the pool area.
Our first morning was taken up with a helicopter flight over the Island provided by Mauna Loa Helicopter tours. The flight was outstanding and highly recommended with doors off. On our 2nd day, we drove to Poipu Beach (above and below). You will find roosters and chickens all over the Island - chickens have not just crossed the road, they are also crowing in parking lots, hanging out at beaches and flocking in forests. They’re absolutely everywhere.
Poipu Beach is known as the most popular beach on the South Shore. The beach is fronted by Poipu Beach Park, which is a fantastic area to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a relaxing lunch with the chickens. This is a popular beach for snorkeling, swimming, has a natural ocean wading pool and is popular for boogie-boarding and surfing.
The Kīlauea Lighthouse situated in Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, is an impressive 52 foot structure situated on a rocky peninsula 180 feet above the Pacific Ocean. It is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and supported by the Kīlauea Point Natural History Association. The refuge is a natural habitat for seabirds like the red-footed boobies, the wedge-tailed shearwaters, and the red and white-tailed tropicbirds. There is a small fee to enter the refuge, unless you have your US annual park permit.
There is a huge world map, which is great for kids and adults alike, to walk and explore the world.
Hanapepe Swinging Bridge is just a fun thing to do on Kauai. For over 100 years the suspension bridge has spanned this part of the Hanapepe River. I was told it is used by taro farmers and locals and of course many visitors cross on this bridge too.The swaying motion is fun for all ages. Hanapepe is a historical small town, known as the art capital of Kauai. I read that its historic buildings are so authentic that the town was used as a location for films like “The Thornbirds” and “Flight of the Intruder,” and even served as the model for the Disney film “Lilo and Stitch.” But now those plantation-style buildings are home to charming shops, local eateries and more art galleries than any other spot on Kauai.