Hawaii Diary: 2. Kauai


1. Maui
3. Big Island
Place: Kilauea, Kauai



Flight from Maui to Kauai

In the morning we packed and were already at 9 am at the airport, because last sunday there was a very long queue in front of the security check. We gave the car back without problems, at the check-in there was no one before us, and the queue at the secutity was very short today. So we were already at 10 am at the gate and we used the two hours before the flight for reading and writing diary. On Island Air flights there is free seating, and because we were the first in queue we got good seats in the front with a great view. The plane was a DHC 36 seater high plane model, the only stewardess on board was a very pretty polynesian, married to the pilot, so this flight was a kind of family operated business. It was a great flight with good views along the coasts of Molokai and Ohahu and the big city of Honolulu. At 1 pm we landed at Lihue on Kauai. The rental car was this time a Nissan Rogue, smaller than the Santa Fe and only 2WD, but also OK. On our way to the north coast we went shopping at Kapaa. Mostly drinks and snacks, because we were in a B&B for the next days: Californian wine: Fat Cat and Silver Ridge Cab Sauv and Mont Pelier Chardonnay. And a beer variety pack of the Kona Brewery: Longboard Lager, Fire Rock Pale Ale and Koko Brown. The latter is flavoured with coconut, which, lets say, needs getting used to! The Hale Luana B&B in Kilauea was easy to find. It lies beautifully in a exclusive residential area with large properties and a view to the distant sea and to the green mountains. Elizabeth, the owner is a painter, so the room was nicely decorated with her own paintings. The only thing was, it was raining after we arrived. Later in the evening we explored the area a bit , from Kilauea Lighthouse to Princeville.

Relaxed flying with Island AIr
Take off in Maui
Rainy evening near Kilauea Lighthouse








Place: Kilauea, Kauai



In a land called Hanalei ...

Elizabeth served us a delicious breakfast at the terrace: Fried eggs, homebaked scones, good coffee, ripe pinapple and orange juice. Then we drove east along the coast towards the famous NaPali Coast. Today the weather was good, and Hanalei Valley with it's Kalo fields was in full sunlight. Kalo is the hawaiian name for Taro, from which the Hawaiians produce their favourite side dish, Poi. After Hanalei the road leads on around many curves and over numerous on lane bridges to the end of the road at Kee Beach. Unfortunately there was no parking space left, when we arrived there at 10am (it was sunday!) But back at Tunnels Beach there was still parking availiable, and the good thing is, because parking space is linited, the beaches are never crowded. First we made a walk along the beach to one side, then we went to the other side for relaxing and swimming. I was also snorkelling twice and saw many big fish and a turtle. We had lunch at the Kilauea Bakery, a delicious grilled panini. After a short drive up Kahili Holo road, a residential area, where there are only properties of several acres, we drove back home for a rest. In the afternoon we went to one of the "secret" locations described in the excellent guidebook "Kauai Revealed" from Andy Doughty. It goes like this: Turn of from the Highway into Koolau road, after xx miles turn left into unnamed dirt road (sign post "Beach Access". At the end of the road take the path down to "Larsens Beach". We followed this description and found a scenic beach, nearly exclusively for us. It wasn't for swimming, too dangerous currents, but a beautiful evening walk. Back at the B&B we had some pawpaw and a couple of glasses Fat Cat cab sauv from green plastic "glasses", the only disadvantage of Hale Luana B&B we could discover so far (;-)).

Kalo-Fields in Hanalei Valley
Hale Luana B&B
Our colourful new alcoholic beverages









Place: Kilauea, Kauai



Kalalau Trail - hiking at the Na Pali Coast

Today we asked for a early breakfast at 7:30. At 8 we were on the road to Kee Beach, so we were early enough to park there. We went on a hike on the first section of the famous Kalalau trail along the NaPali Coast. You could go there on a three day hike to the very end, but we just hiked to Hanakapiai Beach and back, which was a day trip. The trail leaded steeply and winding uphill and along the coast, with phantastic views along the coast. At places the trail was very muddy and slippery, we were happy about our walking boots and the hiking sticks. But we could see all kinds of equipment, from thongs to people with bare feet, but carrying a surfboard. After two hours we reached Hanakapiai Beach, a very scenic place. Despite the warning signs, that swimming is dangerous here, there were about ten people in the water. We didn't go in, but had our lunchbreak there. The way back was more strenuous in the midday heat, so we were happy to cool down at Kee Beach with a swim and a cooled coconut. Snorkelling was a bit disappointing compared to Tunnels Beach, i saw less fish, but perhaps didn't go to the right spots. On our way back we had a early dinner at Hanalei in the Dolphin Restaurant: (Seafood Chowder and Fish Tacos, very good). Then we drove home, with a short side trip to Anini Beach. We closed the evening with a Koko Brown and the rest of the coconut.

Dramatic views at the Na Pali Coast
Red Cardinal
Wild orchids
Our destination for today..
..Hanakapiai Beach
Surfers are not discouraged
..by this sign
or a muddy trail
Kee Beach




















Place: Kilauea, Kauai



Trip to Kapa'a

Another delicious breakfast, this time without hurry: banana pancakes and pawpaw. After that we drove along the west coast south. Before Kapa'a we turned inland into Olohena road, Hauiki road and Waipola road. A very scenic drive, but it was all built up, however in very big properties. Back towards the coast there are beautiful Opeaka'a twin Falls, on the other side we had a view over Wailua river. Where the road meets the coast again, there is Lydgate Beach Park, with high surf and a lot of driftwood. For swimming there is a pool seperated by a rock wall. Then we explored Kapa'a, and Sonja foud some nice fabrics in the quilt shop. We had lunch at the rustic Cafe Coco, a recommendation of Brigitte. The food is delicious (New Orleans Gumbo (seafood chowder) and Ahi sandwich), but if you sit outside you have to use the insect repellent which is provided, otherwise the moskitos will have their lunch on you! At 2pm we were back at the B&B. In the afternoon we visited Secret Beach, which you will only find with a route description: Shortly after Kilauea towards Princeville turn right into 1st Kalihiwai rd, then immediately take the next dirt road to the right. Park at the end and walk down the steep path through the wood. There is Secret Beach, a great surfing beach, nothing for us for swimming, but one of the most scenic beaches we saw, with a great view to Kilauea Lighthouse. There should be lava pools accessible if you go on the rocks to the right of the path, but we found the surf too dangerous and the rocks too slippery with seaweed.

The green iInland of Kauai
Opeka'a falls
A "native" stands guard..
..over Wailua River
Driftwood at Lydgate Beach
Cafe Coco
Secret Beach
Surfer at Secret Beach














Place: Koloa, Kauai



Relocation to the South Coast

After a last great breakfast from Elizabeth on the terrace with a seaview, we packed and headed off south. We bought some food in Kapa'a. On the way to Lihue we did a side trip to Wailua Falls , another scenic twin waterfall. At noon we arrived at Chris Cottage in Koloa. It was not completely cleaned yet, but we could drop off our baggage, and drove down to the sea to Poipu, which was much more touristy than Kilauea. We were hungry, so we looked for a restaurant and found Brenneckes Broiler at Poipu Beach. The view was great, but the food was average. We spent the afternoon with shopping (found some nice T-shirts at Crazy Shirts). At 3 pm we were back at the cottage and everything was finished. It's nicely located in the garden, under the shade of huge trees, with a modern interior and everything you could possibly need. Because its in the jungle, there are mozzies, you have to use some repellent if you go outside. After unpacking we first loaded the washing machine, then had a walk around the premises. There were plants of all sorts, trees, banana, pawpaw, pomelo. We closed the evening with reading, writing post cards and a glass of californian viognier.


Place: Koloa, Kauai



Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali Coast from above

For breakfast we had 100% Hawaiian Kona coffee - tasted great. After 9am we hit the road for Kokee State Park and the Waimea Canyon. Around 10am we arrived at Waimea Canyon Overlook, the impression was a bit like the Grand Canyon, but the intense green of the vegetation gave it a special touch. But the best views awaited us at the end of the road, where we had a magnificent view of the Napali Coast. We walked the Pihea Trail along the rim, which was easy at the beginning, but towards the end more amd more muddy and steep. There was a great view of Kalalau Valley and the sea 1300m below us. Actually we intended to walk on into the Alakai Swamp, but the descent was so slippery and steep, that we turned around. We had lunchbreak on our way back, with one of the best views of our life. We could not get a glimpse of Mount Waialeale, one of the rainiest spots on earth (12 Meters of average preticipation per year!) because of - right! - the clouds. Then we worked our way back along all the lookouts at the road down to the sea. The light was different from a view hours before, so it didn't get boring. In Port Allen we booked a helicopter tour for the next day..

Waimea Canyon
All the rain is flushing..
the island back to the Sea
The Na Pali Coast from above
This direction is Mt. Waialeale
Tree Ferns thrive in this climate
Jagged cliffs
A blooming Ohia tree














Place: Koloa, Kauai



With the helocopter around Kauai

It rained frequently this night, also in the morning there were showers pouring down, and we would have our helicopter flight today! But luckily the weather was a bit sunnier, when we checked in at Inter Island Helicpoters in Port Allen for our adventure. The Helicopter was a Hughes 500, 1 pilot, 4 passengers and no doors, for a great view and no glare in the pictures. Thats why we wore long trousers and a rain jacket. Sonja was on the safe seat between the pilot and me, i had the right seat and right of me was..nothing! Fasten seat belts and off we went. The flight was amazingly smooth, even when there were some gusts. The altitude was mostly 100-200m above the ground. Thanks to a headset with noise-cancelling it wasn't loud at all and we could hear the comment of the pilot clearly. After a short time i got used to the abyss beside me and i started photographing like mad, but you had to keep the camera within the protection of the windshield, otherwise the wind pulled too strong. The weather wasn't perfect, but the combination of rain and sun gave the views also something special. First we flew over Waimea Canyon, whose upper parts were behind some haze of rain. We saw spectacular waterfalls there. Then the route was over the Waimea Canyon Ridge Drive and west to towards the Na Pali Coast. Between low-hanging clouds and razor-sharp ridges overgrown by green, we dived down to the sea, then along the coast to the north. Sometimes the pilot turned inland to explore one of the deep and narrow uninhabited valleys to show a especially beautiful waterfall or the remnants of ancient settlements. We saw a sea cave with a open ceiling and a rock arch at the coast. Until here leads the famous Kalalau Trail, whose first part we did on monday. Finally we came to already known areas, the Hanakapiai Beach, where the walking trail was easy to spot. Then we flew along Kee Beach, Tunnels Beach and Ha'aena, where the super-rich have their (95% of the year empty) holiday homes. Then the pilot turned inland, over the inaccessible wilderness along the eastern walls of Mount Waialeale (the 12m rain one). Now it got wet, we came through some showers and low clouds. The advantage was: all waterfalls were in full flow (at this point i stopped counting them). Finally we came back to the south coast, where we had a view of a especially impressing waterfall, known from the movie "Jurassic Park". Finally our pilot landed the helicopter accurate by the centimeter on the trailer, on which the heli is pulled into the hangar for maintenance. That was the shortest hour of my life! As predicted, we climbed out of the helicopter with a silly grin on our faces! We spent the rest of the day at Poipu Beach, swimming, snorkelling and relaxing.

All aboard!
Waimea Canyon
The upper cliffs of the..
.....Na Pali Coast
Honpu Arch
Honpu Valley
Spectacular waterfall at Na Pali
Ha'aena and Tunnels Beach
Hanalei Bay
The east wall of Waialeale
and another one..
Jurassic Park scenery
something different: rainbow from above
Coffee plantation
Wow, what a experience!



























Place: Koloa, Kauai



Trip to the West End

This morning we drove to the west, as far as the roads lead, to Polihale Beach. Our first stop was the local farmers market in Kekaha. About 5 elderly women sold produce from their gardens on the platform of their pickup trucks, very rustic. We bought 2 nice ripe pawpaw and another - well - green thing we didn't know. The last 3 miles to Polihale Beach were a sugar cane road in very bad condition. Our car wasn't 4WD, but had a higher clearance, so we drove slowly on. Near the end we parked the car under a huge tree and walked the final 5 minutes to the beach. The reward was one of the most beautiful beaches on our trip. About 50 people (it was saturday!) and some cars spread along a 5 km long beach, with the cliffs of the Na Pali coast in the background. Big surf, but a small pond behind a fringing reef was good for cooling down (it was too shallow for swimming). But even in this pond you had to watch out because of strong currents trying to pull you onto the coral blocks. Around noon the merciless sun was too much for us (the sand too hot for bare feet) so we drove back. In the local fish market in Koloa we bought some delicious fish specialities: Poke Korean style and Seared Ahi with sesame (local tuna, fried very hot and short, so that the inner part is still uncooked). That was our late lunch, for dessert we had Creme de Papaya, a brazilian recipe: Just put pawpaw and vanilla ice cream in the blender, and that's it! In the afternoon we drove down to Poipu Beach for a swim and snorkel.

Farmers Market
What a beach!
Polihale Beach
Koloa Fish Market with typical american small car
Seared Ahi and Poke Korean Style
Beach chickens..
...at Poipu Beach














Place: Koloa, Kauai



Hike in Waimea Canyon

Today we drove to Kokee State Park once more and went on a hike along the rim of Waimea Canyon. It was easy, 3hours there and back to Waipo'o Falls, with plenty of time to sit and enjoy the scenery. First down a 4WD track, then on trails through beautiful forest. Partly we felt like being in Australia, because of the many gum trees and their smell. Finally we came to a ledge with a phantastic view into the canyon. Across the canyon we saw a rock arch, which looked like a ancient ruin or a movie setting out of Indiana Jones, but we guessed, because of the location it has to be a natural phenomenon. After walking on a short distance, we came to the upper end of Waipo'o Falls, which was not very spectecular, unless you lean over the edge and watch the water falling down some 100 meters. On our drive back we called in at Poipu, to buy two nice freshwater pearl necklaces, one for Anita and one for Sonja. In the supermarket in Koloa we bought delicious freshly made sushi (most of the inhabitants of Koloa look if like they had japanese ancestors) for dinner. We spent the rest of the evening at Poipu beach, watching the sunset.

Ohia tree at Waimea Canyon
UFOs (Unidentified flower objects)
Waimea Canyon








Place: Koloa, Kauai



Our 25th wedding anniversary

After breakfast we drove down to Shipwreck Beach (whose shipwreck is long gone) for a walk along the cliffs east of Poipu. There were lithified sand dunes from which the wind and the sea carved weird shapes. Around noon the sun got very hot, so we took the inland path for the way back in the shade of the casuarinas. Back at Shipwreck Beach we took the beach chairs out of the car and sat in the shade to watch the waves, the surfers and the beach beauties. We were hungry, so we went to Lappert's Ice Cream and had one Brownie Sundae - a full lunch for two! In the evening we had our anniversary dinner at Josselin's in Poipu. The restaurant was a bit loud, but the food was great. They serve a sort of tapas, not spanish, but pacific rim style. We had seven different dishes, every single one a (positive) surprise. Sonja was driving today, so she had a alcohol free Lychee Sangria and i had a heavy Lahaina Maitai. A wonderful completion of our 25th wedding anniversary.

Crystal clear water
Eroded lithified xand dunes
Waves with...
and without surfer at Shipwreck Beach
One of the beach beauties


















And we move on to the next island: Big Island