Travel idea: Visit Kauai, Hawaii

Author: Canadian Living


Travel idea: Visit Kauai, Hawaii

The pilot's friendly banter, just audible over the whir of the helicopter's propeller, guided passengers' eyes to the panoramic island views of K’aua'i below. The rugged crags and cavernous valley gorges of the 3,000- foot deep Waimea Canyon revealed themselves in a slow-motion kaleidoscopic release as our aircraft executed a series of graceful 360 degree rotations over what has long been dubbed "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific."

We were also rewarded with a birds-eye view of the long-dormant Olokele volcano before soaring offshore above the Pacific Ocean, where we took in the full breadth of the Na Pali Coast.

Fun for the whole family
Known as the Garden Isle, Kaua'i is the northernmost of the main Hawaiian islands; an oasis of lush vegetation dotted with bridges and winding roads connecting some of the world’s most isolated beaches. It's also a mountainous island, best navigated by a combination of air, land and water transport. A family outing to Kipu Falls includes all three means of travel: visitors kayak three kilometres up the Hule'ia River, disembark for a short hike to find themselves, at trails end, airborne on a zip-line adventure.

A popular form of water travel on K'aua'i is a riverboat cruise up the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto, a historic cave cloaked in over-sized ferns and perpetual mist. For a combination wind-and-water adventure, visitors can travel with Trevor Cabell and Travis Bonnel on their beloved Kuupaaloa, a 45-foot traditional Hawaiian sailing canoe. Though you'll be drenched by ocean spray, up-close encounters with dolphins make it worth your while.

See the beautiful coastline by water
Another way to appreciate the nearly-inaccessible (by ground) and beautiful 20-kilometre stretch of Na Pali coast is by water. Day trips with Capt. Andy's Sailing Adventures pretty much guarantee you'll see sheer cliffs and volcanic rock along the picturesque coast line – not to mention a few humpback whales.

A bonus
: most boats drop anchor at a tropical reef where snorkelling (for beginners to advance) becomes your passport to underwater ecosystems. Hiking trails on the island run the gamut from the relatively easy three-kilometre Kuilau trail, which offers romantic views of mist-topped Mount Wai'ale'ale in the distance, to the more challenging 15-kilometre Kalalau Trail. It's just one more way of getting around K'aua'i Island. Aloha!

Check out these websites if you travel to Kauai:
Na Pali Coast Guide
Island Helicopters
Island Sails Kauai

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Travel idea: Visit Kauai, Hawaii