I woke up to a gorgeous morning on Kauai with a walk on Hanalei Bay calling out to me. Just down the road from Princeville, I was slowed for a few minutes by the flag people stopping traffic on the hill where they are reinforcing the road. I found the first parking lot full at 8:00 but the second virtually empty. There were a handful of people on the sand and a few novice surfers waiting for the summer “surf” to arrive. Plenty of boats were anchored in the bay with kayaks and paddle boards floating by. The water was crystal clear. It was a pretty idyllic scene, so I thought I would share a few photos with you.
Here’s a unique way to watch the sunset! On the Sunset Cart Tour you will drive around the beautiful Princeville Golf Course on one of their cushy golf carts capturing incredible photos from various stops along the 18 hole Makai course. The best part is that you don’t have to be a golfer! And, no reservations are needed so you can wait until you are pretty sure the weather is going to cooperate.
Two hours before the sunset, people start gathering at the Princeville Golf Shop. First stop is the Makai Grill where guests order a few refreshing beverages, at Happy Hour pricing, to fill their on-cart ice chests. Then the carts are doled out and and guests jump into their designated cart for the one and a half hour late afternoon experience.
The line of carts, led by a Princeville Golf Course pro or employee, meander through the course, designed by Mr. Robert Trent Jones Jr., on smooth paths, stopping at five especially scenic spots. The guides (Tom, Randy or Andrew) talk story about the north shore flora and fauna, including the many different kinds of sea birds soaring over the ocean. Queen’s Bath, The Kilauea Lighthouse, Puff the Magic Dragon, Anini Reef, numerous North Shore beaches including Secrets, Lumahai, Haena, Anini, Hideaway, Waikoko and Hanalei Bay will be pointed out along the way. The Hawaiian state bird, Nene, and the seasonal Laysan albatross with their chicks, are extra, visual treats to see on the golf course. Photo opportunities abound.
A must-see for anyone visiting Kauai, especially if you are a bird or whale lover, is the Kilauea Lighthouse. It is a photographer’s dream location. Sweeping, panoramic, whitewater views, with sea birds circling above and burrowing on land, one can not help but get an impressive shot of the beauty that makes Kauai so special. Even more exciting are the humpback whales that cruise by in their pods during whale season (November to April). It is not uncommon to witness humpback whales breaching or pounding their fins on the surface of the ocean at this north shore whale sanctuary.
If you are staying at Honu Point, the Kilauea Lighthouse can be seen from the house. It sits 180 feet above sea level on the most northern piece of property on Kauai. The original lighthouse (circa 1913) is no longer in use but it is an historical landmark. Today a modern light shines out to sea. Here is an early morning winter view from Honu Point.
I had heard that Captain Andy’s Na Pali Coast Sunset Dinner Sail is a great way to celebrate any occasion. So Tom and I decided to give it a go for our wedding anniversary. We had been on a two hour sunset sail off the coast of Poipu with Captain Andy’s many years ago but this was a four hour excursion and it went down the Na Pali coast.
There are three of Andy’s boats that go down the Na Pali coast for a sunset dinner cruise. The two custom 65′ Star Class luxury catamarans are the best. We were on the Southern Star which is a sister ship to the Northern Star (pictured above). There were about 50 people on board along with the crew who were ready to serve.
There is seating in the front of the boat, inside a cabin and in the rear. In order to avoid a lot of wind and water spray we found some extremely comfortable seats around a table in the back of the boat.
Lots of visitors who come to Kauai want to hike to a waterfall and I have just the one for you. In fact, on this hike you get two falls for the price of one hike and it is free. Ho’opi’i Falls is on the Kapa’a Stream.
The trail can be very muddy with lots of mosquitoes if there has been a lot of rainfall. The two times that I went to the falls were in the middle of summer and it was dry and pleasant. This video, taken in July 2017, by Clifton Passow, will give you an idea of what the trail is like:
Anini Beach, on the north shore of Kauai, is one of my favorite beaches. It is a long stretch of coastline protected from the breaking waves by a shallow lagoon, perfect for snorkeling. The trade winds blow directly onshore making the environment very comfortable for sunbathing. Choose from the boat launch and wind surfing beach where there are public bathrooms and picnic tables
or claim a quiet inlet of sand as your own.
When I woke up this morning and saw clear skies and sunshine I knew I needed to step away from the computer for awhile and go on a much needed walk. What better place than Hanalei Bay; where the lush, green mountains meet the sea!
Arriving at the bay around 9:00, or so, I found a few people who had the same idea. There was a soft breeze and the sun was slightly veiled by the clouds – perfect for sun bathing. Warning: Don’t let the clouds fool you. I got my worst sunburn on a day just like this.
I felt rather conspicuous carrying my iPhone with me but I wanted to take photos so you could vicariously walk with me. Enjoy.
Wailua Falls and ‘Opaeka’a Falls are two of the most accessible falls you are able to view on Kauai, Hawaii. They are both breathtakingly beautiful in their own way, especially after heavy rains in the mountains. This week I decided to drive a few miles out of our way to check out both falls. We have had an exceptional amount of rain this week and so we knew the falls would be especially impressive. We were not disappointed.
This is a photo of what Wailua Falls typically looks like. It often has two streams overflowing the ridge. In fact, years ago our grandkids walked out to the top of it and looked over. A real Kodak moment.
If you are ready to experience Kauai as the ancient Hawaiians did, be sure to visit Limahuli Valley on the north shore of Kauai. This beautiful valley looks much like it did 1,500 years ago when the Hawaiians called it home. Limahuli Valley is one of of the last easily-accessible valleys with intact archaeological complexes, native forest, pristine stream, and the presence of the descendants of the valley’s original inhabitants caring for it. It is one of the five gardens of the non-profit National Tropical Botanical Garden.
I got to play tourist for a day on Monday as my niece came to visit and we decided to take that long drive to Waimea Canyon and Koke’e State Park on the westside of Kauai. I know, it is hard to leave the north shore, even for a few hours, but on a clear, sunny day the reward is worth it.
The drive is over two hours long. After leaving the highway in Waimea and heading toward the interior of the island one starts to wonder if you are still on a tropical island. Gone are the palm trees as the elevation begins to climb. Scrub brush turns into trees and pretty soon you are in a forest with hiking trails galore. As you drive the 20 miles from sea level to the last lookout you climb 4,000 feet in elevation. The temperature is 10 – 15 degrees cooler, but on our hot, Hawaiian day it was perfect.