I have now moved on from Kauai onto my last destination: Fiji. I wanted to be sure I did Kauai justice, so here are some of the highlights from my trip! I think you'll see why Kauai is called the Garden Isle!
Another lovely view from the road. Lush, green vegetation everywhere!
Maniniholo Dry Cave
Along the north shore of Kauai, at the base of a cliff, there is a huge, cavernous cave. If you feel adventurous, I hear there are even some smaller caves and tunnels to explore.
Waimea Pier (Why-may-uh)
There are only 2 piers on Kauai, and I was fortunate enough to be staying just a few minutes from this one in Waimea. I visited this pier every day of my week on Kauai. In fact, many of my favorite sunset pictures from the last post were taken from here.
|Just before sunset|
In all fairness, this incredible bush flower isn't unique to Kauai. In fact, it was all over O'ahu as well. The smell was so intoxicating, I would often pick a blossom of the ground (never from the tree) and smell it relentlessly as I walked or rode somewhere. It has become one of my favorite smells.
The "Cool Pool"I don't know what this swimming hole is really called, but it is located near Wailua, Kauai. It's a small river-fed pool, with a large tree with platforms and ropes to help you just into the refreshing water. I didn't venture onto the platforms, but did have a few goes on the rope swing! It was a treat!
|Here, fellow traveler Martin, from Estonia, ventures from the highest platform.|
Remember that song: "Puff the Magic Dragon?" Well, as the song goes, "he lived by the sea.... in a land called Hanalei." Unfortunately, the singers mispronounced the town's name, but nonetheless, this area inspired it! It is easy to see why! Jagged, but lush mountains, green everywhere, valleys, peaks and meandering rivers... The whole time we drove around this area, all I could think of was Avatar! I half expected fantasy creatures to come flying out of everywhere! (Little did I know, but I heard later, that Kauai was used in Avatar, in addition to Jurassic Park, Tropic Thunder, Pirates of the Carribean and more!) I wasn't the only one inspired by the landscape!
|Hanalei Bay: a lovely, crescent shaped beach trapped between these mountains|
|Hanalei mountians, exaggerated on an overcast day.|
The Queen's Bath
Along the north shore, tucked away into a cul-de-sac of wealthy retirees, you can find the Queen's Bath. When we went, it had just rained, making the clay mud pathway extremely dangerous. Fortunately there were no accidents, but I definitely removed my flip-flops, faring far better barefoot. It was a long, slow walk to the bath itself, and I arrive just as the sun was setting. I regret not having more time, but I was thankful that I opted for safety first. I did get a few shots though.
This lovely river valley is named after the characteristic red dirt. The brown river winds it's way all the way to the ocean, leaving this lovely valley behind.
Ok, so obviously I didn't really visit Mars, but goodness, with these pictures, I certainly could say I did! Kauai is so iron-rich, that the soil everywhere is a bright red color as it rusts. It will stain your feet, and it is even used to make these dyed shirts! The "Dirt Shirt," they call it. It made for some lovely photos.
Waimea CanyonOk, Americans. You may have thought that the Grand Canyon was the only thing like it in the world... The bittersweet news is that not only is there another canyon like it, but it is within the US! Though it's layers of color more closely resembles the Badlands, it certainly gives the Grand Canyon a run for their money! Sadly, the day we visited was lousy weather. Visibility was poor, and the light was flat. Photographers of the world, know that means for some weak landscape shots. I did the best I could.
Rainbow Eucalyptus TreesI don't know that there is much to say about these... they speak for themselves! Occasionally, you are lucky enough to see these trees from the side of the road. The brown bark of these eucalyptus trees peels, revealing a fresh, light green new layer underneath. As it is exposed to the elements, the new bark changes color, turning shades of red, purple, orange, and eventually brown, when the process begins again.
Na Pali CoastTo me, by far the loveliest part of Kauai was the Na Pali Coast. Thanks to its volcanic origin, this rugged landscape is so dramatic. It is common to see small waterfalls, green valleys, and caves as you wind your way around. The mountians themselves are only accessible by hiking trail, which sadly meant I had to look from outside. Instead, I joined a day tour by boat, zodiac to be specific. Four hours of holding on for dear life to the guide ropes so as not to be bucked off one of the huge waves. I have 4 skinned knuckles to prove it! Despite the physical demands of the adventure, it was an amazing day.
|The Na Pali coast at morning light|
|One of the caves, large enough to drive in. If you look closely, you can see another zodiac inside.|
|Our boat full of 16 guests marveling at the Na Pali Coast|
|Working on my headstand at sunset at the Polihale Beach, which marks the end of the Na Pali Coast.|