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01 December, 2012

Top 5 things to do in Kauai Hawaii

Napali Coast
Napali Coast Kauai Hawaii
Kauai, also known as the Garden Isle, is the greenest of the Hawaiian Islands. Mount Waialeale on Kauai is one of the wettest places on earth. The high rainfall is the reason why this island has so many beautiful valleys, canyons and waterfalls. We visited Kauai in April 2012 and put together our top 5 things to do on Kauai, enjoy!


Waimea Canyon
Waimea Canyon

1. Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park

Drive to Waimea and take the Waimea Canyon Drive. It is recommended to first drive all the way up to the Kalalau lookout in Koke'e State Park. It is very often cloudy and wet up there but in the morning you will have the best chance to get a good view. Go to the Koke'e museum where you can get a hiking map for a small donation and updated information on which trails are opened. Some beautiful hiking trails are the Awa'awapuhi trail which leads you through the Awa'awapuhi valley to a beautiful lookout over the coast, the Alakai Swamp trail which leads you through swamps and wet forest to the Wainiha Pali rim and the Pihea trail which leads you along the rim of Kalalau Valley. 

Afterwards drive back to the Waimea Canyon. This Canyon also called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific is definitely one of the highlights on Kauai.  Hike one of the shorter trails around the canyon or to one of the lookouts. 

Once back in Waimea, make sure to stop in the Shrimp Station. It is not a real restaurant and only has a few tables in front of the station but the shrimps are delicious and very decently priced. 


Wailua Falls
Wailua Falls

2. Wailua River Valley area

Explore this beautiful river by kayak or boat. The beautiful and romantic Fern Grotto, which can only be reached by boat, is an unique experience. When you are lucky they might even be playing traditional Hawaiian music in the Grotto.

In this area you can also admire two easily accessible falls, the Wailua Falls and the Opaekaa Falls. Visit the Wailua Falls early morning as you will have a good chance to see a rainbow and take a stunning picture of the falls. Also the Opaekaa Falls will provide you with great photo opportunities.


Coastline
Coastline Kauai

3. Na Pali Coast State Park

This famous and stunning coastline starts at Ke'e Beach and goes till Polihale State Park. It is impossible to visit the Na Pali Coast by car but you can admire breathtaking views on the coastline by taking a boat, kayak or air tour.

The best way to explore the Na Pali Coast is by hiking the Kalalau Trail, the only Trail on the Na Pali Coast. If you want to complete the trail from Ke'e Beach to Kalalau Valley you will need a camping permit. Most people hike the trail till Hanakapiai beach after which you can continue hiking to the Hanakapiai falls. The Hanakapiai falls are the perfect place to eat your lunch and have a swim. This hike makes a great day trip, make sure to bring enough food and water. 


Hanalei Pier
Hanalei Pier Kauai

4. Hanalei Beach and Pier

Hanalei Beach is a a great place. You can take surfing lessons, a boat tour or just go for a swim while admiring the impressive cliffs. The parking lot is located next to the old Pier. Every evening the locals gather together here to have a drink and when you're lucky maybe even to play a bit of music. Make sure to take some drinks with you.

A popular place to have dinner in this area is the Postcards Cafe in Hanalei which has some very good fresh fish dishes. It is recommended that you make a reservation as otherwise you might end up waiting more than an hour. 


Kilauea Lighthouse
Kilauea Lighthouse

5. Kilauea Lighthouse

The Kilauea Lighthouse definitely is a very picturesque photo spot. You can learn a lot about the birds and wildlife on Kauai in this refuge. From December to April it is also the perfect place to spot whales. The refuge opens at 10 am and entrance fee is USD 5. It is definitely worth a visit but to be honest the best photo spot for the Lighthouse is just before you enter on the parking lot.

I really enjoyed our stay on Kauai and the stunning views from the coastline. It sometimes reminded me of the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Both coastlines are magnificent, very impressive and still very different. 



Freya - Holiday Nomad



26 comments:

  1. I have very fond memories of visiting Hawaii with my family when I was 8. I would love to go back. There is a lot to do there. My favourite activity was snorkelling and seeing all the gorgeous fish. You've captured some great outdoor activities... of which there are TONS! x

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    1. Hi Colleen, yes it is a great place. There are indeed tons of activities to do on Hawaii. Kauai was the first island we visited after which we went to Maui and the Big Island. So a few more Top 5 posts to follow later :-)

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  2. This must be a beautiful place.

    Your capture explains that.

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  3. I love Hawaii and looking at your pictures I realise it has been too long!!! Have to go back...

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    1. wish I could go back as well :-)

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  4. I have been to Honolulu only and your photos really made me want to explore Hawaii in its fullest!

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    1. there are so many beautiful islands in Hawaii. Kauai is definitely one of my favorites.

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  5. I've never been to Hawaii, although I've read a lot about the history, and your photos make it look a little like Lord Howe Island in Australia!! Fantastic!!!

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    1. Thanks ! I hope to be able to visit Lord How Island in Australia one day.

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  6. Very beautiful pictures Freya. Hawaii is so exometic. Wish to visit once in my life time.

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    1. Hope you will one day, it's really beautiful

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  7. Great Article Freya Renders! Really captures the majestic beauty that is Kauai! You have talent!

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    1. Hi Eric thank you very much for your nice comment.

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  8. Hi Freya,
    I saw your post title on Changes in Latitude. I needed a bit of Hawaiian susnshine this morning!
    I am a transplant from the US living in France. I grew up on Oahu and of course,photos online take me back there. I was in Honolulu this past June.

    Aloha to you and Thanks for the share.

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    1. Aloha Barb, thanks for stopping by. I went to Maui, Kauai and Big Island but did not make it to Oahu yet, hope to do so one day. From Oahu to France must be quite a difference.

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  9. I've only been to Hawaii once, and what time I was there was spent on the big island. I remember it as a place where a person could get lost, yet happy. I would love to visit Kauai, and someday I might (one of my partners has a time share there). Thank you for this delightful photographic tour!

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    1. I have been to the Big Island as well which is great but Kauai is a really beautiful place as well and much greener than the Big Island. Kauai is definitely one of my favorites after Maui.

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  10. oh my god, so lush!!! Enormously jealous of you right now.

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    1. it's a great place, definitely worth a visit if you have the chance.

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  11. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I think that about sums up Hawaii?

    Another place I've been to but have no memory of (was 6), one of my sisters went a few years ago, and a friend went for her honeymoon. Their photos made me really want to go myself someday! When I do I'll be sure to check back here for your recommendations because they sound fantastic! ;O0

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    1. I really loved Kauai, so beautiful over there.

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  12. Gosh Freya, looking at these pictures it was like just yesterday for me. All of the sights bring back good memories. One thing that was a bit odd is the native islanders were especially...umm...a bit aloof on Kauai. Also, know as "the stink eye". We stayed at the Princeville Resort on the north side and got married on the beach. It was right after the bad hurricane they had there back then.

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    1. We stayed a couple days in Princeville as well and it was so beautiful there, so romantic getting married on the beach there.

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  13. Thanks for sharing. Am writing a blog post for work about Hawaii. Really needed the inspiration! :-)

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    1. you're welcome, looking forward to read your post

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Freya - Holiday Nomad