Kauai is an island for the senses – velvet-green mountains roll down to meet the ocean, fringed by swaying palm trees; it’s like something out of the movies, and it is: South Pacific, Jurassic Park – you wouldn’t be surprised to meet Elvis strumming a guitar or one of those dinosaurs (I know which I’d prefer). Secluded and laid-back it has everything you could want on a holiday in Hawaii – canyons, waterfalls and pristine beaches, outdoor adventures, sailing, snorkeling, and sunset luaus. The only problem is deciding what to do first. Here are some suggestions:
Day 1: Into the Mountains
To get a feel for the incredible landscape of The Garden Isle, take a sightseeing flight over Kauai. You’ll see Waimea Canyon, dubbed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific; Waialeale Crater, the wettest place on Earth and waterfalls and coastline to fill any digital camera’s memory. If planes are too tame for you, make like a bird yourself on the ziplines, harnessing up and riding high above rivers, canyons and waterfalls of Kalihiwai Valley. Or if you just prefer to be amongst the peace and wonder of nature, bike or hike through Waimea Canyon or to Kalihiwai Falls. To bring the adrenaline back under control in the evening, enjoy a traditional Hawaiian luau.
Day 2: Water, Water Everywhere
You have two choices here: the
river or the sea. If you fancy a bit of kayaking, head for the Hule’la
River and paddle deep into the heart of the jungle. Or go to the Wailua
River and paddle and hike your way up to the shadow of Mt Wai’ale’ale
and catch your breath by a spectacular waterfall before heading back. If
you prefer ocean to river, spend the day paddling around the pristine
and hidden beaches of the South Shore. But if it’s the waves that have
always called to you, here’s your chance to learn to surf, on the North
Shore’s Hanalei Bay beaches.
Day 3: Cast Off
Now that you know Kauai a little better, it’s time to set sail and explore the surroundings. Just offshore lies Ni’lhau, the Forbidden Island, privately owned and fiercely protected, it is only open to those who live there or tour parties who come to snorkel among the unique coastal formations. On the way there and back, see the seacaves and waterfalls of the majestic Napali coast. Or if you prefer to stay closer to home, snorkel and sail, or swim and lounge on the beaches of Kauai before setting sail on a sunset dinner cruise.
Even without the croonings of Elvis, Kauai’s going to leave you deeply in love.