Kauai: Getaway on the Garden Island

It’s no secret on this blog that the Hawaiian Islands are near and dear to my heart. To me, Hawaii is perfection and I’ll never get tired of visiting. It also happens to be the most convenient tropical destination to get to from my home in Vancouver… which means that I’m often able to squeeze in quick trips without dipping into my vacation time.

Most recently, I was able to “convince” my frequent travel buddy, Mindy, into a 4 night adventure on Kauai, my 4th island in the chain. We did our research in advance and knew that the relatively small island would be easy enough to explore in a short trip and the Easter long weekend gave us the perfect opening in our work schedules to make it happen.

Dreams Come True – Helicopter Tour

Sunshine Helicopters

Loving our front row seats!

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View of the Na Pali Coast

We were able to secure free accommodation on the island thanks to Mindy’s loyalty points so we agreed that we could splurge on a 1 hour helicopter tour of the island, checking off a big bucket list item for Mindy (her first time). Our pre-research paid off as we were able to book seats in the front on Sunshine Helicopters, giving us an unobstructed view! If we were going to spend the money, we wanted to make sure it was worth it.

And luckily, the weather cooperated too, which was a legitimate concern considering Kauai is home to one of the wettest places on earth, Mount Waialeale.

Waimea Canyon

One place we definitely wanted to visit was Waimea Canyon, also known as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” What we didn’t anticipate was feeling so lazy that we seriously considered just driving to the lookout and calling it a day. Fortunately, we were able to pump ourselves up and decided to tackle the popular 4 mile Canyon Trail and we were so glad we did! The moderate hike offered panoramic views of crested buttes, rugged crags and deep valley gorges and even the Waipoo waterfall. This is a must-see if you ever find yourself on Kauai.

Exploring the North Shore

Kilauea Lighthouse

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Hanalei Bay

A key to enjoying the Hawaiian islands is to rent a car. This time we splurged and rented a Jeep to give us the classic top down experience. One day we ventured to the Northern side of the island to check out Hanalei Bay, the Princeville Resort and the Kilauea Lighthouse. We did some classic hotel gate crashing when we couldn’t get a table at the Princeville Resort’s famed restaurant and explored Hanalei’s gorgeous sandy beach. It’s a beautiful side of the island and well worth exploring.

Pro tip: Make sure to apply sunscreen regularly if you’re going to drive around in a jeep – we definitely got crispy without even realizing it.

Best Beaches

Shipwreck Beach

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Brennecke’s Beach

Of course, no trip to Hawaii would be complete without some solid beach time. We set our sights on two spots – Shipwreck Beach (for sunset) and Brennecke’s beach (for surf). We attempted to enjoy a sunset at Shipwreck Beach, but unfortunately the clouds rolled in, making it a little lackluster. However, we did accidentally end up crashing a wedding on the beach instead, which was a lovely distraction.

We also visited Brennecke’s beach during the day to play in the waves, which ended up being so large that we stayed pretty close to shore. The rip currents in Hawaii are not to be underestimated so we erred on the side of caution. But, it was still a fun way to beat the heat!

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This was also the trip where I learned my Hawaiian name, which part of me really wanted to adopt permanently, but for now, aloha from Wikelani :)

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