Those who know me well are aware of my obsession with traveling. Most of my goals in life are spiritual in nature, but I do have a few Earthly goals and most of them are related to travel: (1) Step foot on all 7 continents, (2) Step foot in all 50 states, and (3) After completing 1&2 just start traveling to every place that is left on the map! Obviously, there will never be enough time or money to complete #3 (or maybe even #1 or #2) but I can die trying!
I haven’t added any new states to my map in a while so I decided to visit Hawaii (currently at 38 states out of 50). I chose the island of Kauai because every head-turning photo of Hawaii I had ever seen were all of a landmark located on this island. Below are some of the photos I took of this stunning place. I hope you enjoy them!
Our first morning there we visited the beach behind our hotel! Here is a little B&W action of that beach:
I had heard from a few people that you CANNOT visit Kauai without seeing it from the air so I booked a helicopter tour. Here we are taking off. Up, up and away!
One of the highlights of the helicopter tour was a landing at the base of Manawaiopuna Falls – commonly called Jurassic Falls because it is featured in the movie “Jurassic Park.” It is 400 feet tall and photos just don’t do it justice! Here are photos taken from the base of the falls and from above.
One of the top things on my list of things to see in Kauai was the Na Pali Coast. It can only be seen by aircraft, boat, or by a 12 mile hike (yikes). I really wanted to see it from the air, which is one of the reasons I chose to take a helicopter tour. I apologize for the many reflections and glare from the glass that are visible in the photos. Shooting through glass in a moving vehicle is difficult! Maybe you can still get an idea of how stunning it is.
The Waimea Canyon is also known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and was given that nickname by Mark Twain. It certainly is grand and, though much smaller than The Grand Canyon, still rivals its beauty!
Ok, this place ranks way up there in the “Slap Yourself Amanda – you really ARE seeing this” category. This is the Kalalau Lookout in Kokee State Park. We were about 4,000 feet above the sea. I tried to zoom in and take a photo of the waterfall that was cascading down the side of the mountain (below left), but you still can’t really tell how gorgeous it was. It’s one of those things you just have to see yourself to appreciate.
We were surrounded by beautiful flowers and trees everywhere we went. Here are just a few of the trees we saw. I don’t know what the one on the left is called but I freaked out when I saw those cascading yellow blossoms. The one on the right is a closeup shot of the trunk of a rainbow eucalyptus tree. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANYTHING SO WILD???
We drove to the town of Poipu, and along the way we passed through what they call the “Tunnel of Trees.” Way cool.
There were several Catholic churches on the island. The one pictured below is the oldest Catholic church on the island – St. Raphael Church built in 1841.
I enjoyed visiting Wailua Falls. Beautiful white birds with long feathery tails were flying close to the bottom of the falls. They looked like angels! I also met the fellow on the left while visiting the falls. He was selling papayas and avocados and weaving hats. We had an interesting conversation about the Bible. As I left I asked if I could take his photo and he obliged.
You will find a waterfall within driving distance of anywhere you stay on this island. This one is Opaekaa Falls and it tumbles into the Wailua River, which then flows out to the sea.
I really wanted to attend a traditional Polynesian Kalua Pig Roast while I was there. I finally found one and it was awesome! They roast the pig in an underground oven. When the pig is ready they start the feast by blowing a conch shell, which in ancient Hawaiian culture signified an important event was about to take place. They then scrape back the dirt until they reach the pig. They pull it out and voila! Supper time.
Here are a few shots of dinner and entertainment. The food pictured is the Kalua pork (yummy) and a Hawaiian dish called poi (not so yummy).
We spent one morning on Tunnels Beach. A cute little sea turtle decided to swim close to the shoreline and pay us a visit!
The old town of Hanalei has so many historical locations. It was hard to see them all but I am certainly glad we stumbled upon the old Waioli Huiia church – built in the mid-1800s. Gorgeous!
We happened upon a free hula show in the city of Lihue. There were four young ladies who were attending the local hula dance school and putting on a recital that was free and open to the public. They are so gorgeous!
Our last day on the island we spent the morning at Lydgate State Park. We had it all to ourselves and it was so relaxing to watch the waves roll in. All too soon thereafter it was time to bid this beautiful island paradise farewell. I am so happy I decided to visit Hawaii. It is a magical place and wonderful memories were made!