The next Hawaii destination on our list was Kauai, the garden island. We planned to not rent a car here, however after talking to some fellow travelers and since we did not have too many days here we spontaneously got a vehicle.
Hanalei and the Napali Coast
Upon arrival we pretty much straight away headed to the Wailua Falls, definitely not a must see, before heading up the coast to our hippie accommodation. After a month of camping we enjoyed just chilling for an afternoon and getting a rest before some days of hiking.
The next day we left early to hike a trail at the Napali coast. The most popular hike is 11 miles which ends at a campsite where you spend the night before heading back the next day. However, the campground is booked out way in advance so you have to book with at least a couple of months anticipation. Since we were not that organized we hikes a trail along the breathtaking coast before turning inland to the Hanakapi´ai waterfalls. Even though you encounter a lot of people, especially on the first part of the track, a hike in this area is an absolute must. The trail first leads you along the coast until you cross a stream and reach a beach. Here you can go on towards the waterfalls or choose the long Kalalau Trail.
We really enjoyed the jungle hike, which includes several stream crossings and light rock climbing. All the 4 hour one way effort is worth it when you reach the final destination and have a snack and a splash at the waterfalls. When arriving back at the trail start you can enjoy a well deserved break the beach. With a coral reef 3 meters into the water it is also a really good spot for snorkeling. We then headed towards Hanalei Bay which is the main tourist town on the Island. One spot not to miss is the view from the Hanalei Pier over the Napali Coast Mountain Range. Next we made our way to the Koke´e National Park.
Koke´e State Park and Waimea State Park
The next day we planned another hike and were not sure which one to choose because there are so many in the area. We definitely recommend staying at least 3 days in the park and doing two hikes for they are supposed to be very different. After talking to a ranger we chose the Alakai Swamp Trail, a 6 mile round way with always changing landscapes. It is recommended to start the trail latest at 7 am because at around 10, 10.30 am the clouds start to cover the view at the destination of the trail. We began the hike way later than that but since it was so highly recommended we decided to risk it.
You start from the Pu’u O Kila Lookout which right away gives you a stunning view of cliffs and the Napali Coast Line. Further you make your way up and down through a lush rainforest and then at the final stretch you go through the swamp land that gives the trail its name. When we arrived at the final lookout we were really lucky because we had two short periods where we could enjoy the view over Hanalei Bay and the coastline. A few moments later the fog came back and covered the view entirely. After waiting another ten minutes without the view improving we decided to head back.
After returning to the car we drove towards the lookout of the Waimea Canyon, the great canyon of the pacific. We did not really research this area and so we were amazingly surprised by the breathtaking view over the canyon and the coast in the distance.
The next day we were waiting for the confirmation of Ales helicopter tour, which is supposed to be one of the best experiences here because you can see 20% of the island on land, the rest is only visible from the air. However, we were disappointed that none of the companies could confirm a time and in the end Ale could not book an hour with any company. So we spent the day renting bikes and going along the Kapa´a coastline, enjoying a nice dinner in town before heading to Starbucks to steal internet to watch Game of Thrones in the car and then we spent our last night at the airport to catch an early flight back to Oahu, our final destination in Hawaii.
After arriving at Honolulu airport we head straight away up towards the north coast where we booked a campsite in the Malaekahana State Park. After the check in we headed to the quiet Kawela Beach Park for a nap by the beach. Afterwards we headed to Laniakea Beach and loved our close encounter with the massive Green Sea Turtles that soak up the sun lying on the beach. After a quick stop at the beautiful Waimea Beach we went back to the campsite and good the first taste of floodings that increased the next day.
When we woke up we had no idea what was about to happen to us that day. We planned a big road trip to visit the popular snorkeling spot at Hanauma Bay. But when we arrived after the 1.5 hour drive we found out that the park is closed on tuesdays. We then moved on to the Waimanalo beach, where Ale wanted to revisit her memories when she went to Hawaii the first time. We were not too impressed with the main beach but then we found Sherwood Beach where we could enjoy the sun a bit.
We decided to return our car that day instead of the next. On the way to the airport the heavy, tropical rain storms started and did not stop until the night. So we were really happy not to camp in that storm and also enjoyed the comfort of a hotel bed after 6 weeks of camping.
On our last in Hawaii, we just hiked up the Diamond Head for an 360 degrees view Honolulu and the surrounding areas. The afternoon we enjoyed the hotel pool and prepared our luggage for the trip to Australia.