Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Hawaii 2019: Kauai Part 3

Oahu | Kauai Part One Part Two Maui Posts | Maui Oceanfront Marathon Report

We had two more full days in Kauai before heading off to Oahu.  We decided our last day would be a beach day at the resort leaving us one more full day of island touring.  We’d start this day heading east and north with the island’s north side as our goal.   Our morning started at Little Fish Coffee Bar near the hotel.  The line was extremely long but we figured out they offered online ordering and saved ourselves around ten minutes.  Dave tried his first açaí bowl that was filled with granola, bananas, chocolate chips, berries, peanut butter, etc.   This dish legalized ice cream for breakfast.  Photo of the cafe below is stolen from the internet.

We started our tour by chasing waterfalls.  The GyPSy Guide App was a great help navigating to some of the locations that were a little stray from the main road.   Wailua Falls were first.  These are the waterfalls from the Fantasy Island TV show opening.   They were pretty, but the alignment of the overlook didn’t really allow for great photos, especially with the lighting at this time of the day.  Opaeka’a Falls was our next stop.  By this time it was a bit overcast and drizzling.

We enjoyed our ride through the town of Kapa’a and made mental notes of where to stop for snacks on the way back.  The drive up the east side was very nice with lots of lush vegetation and well-maintained properties hidden behind that lush vegetation.   The Kileau National Nature Reserve was next on our list.  The government shutdown had just ended which allowed us to buy a National Park Annual Pass vs. the individual entrance fees.  We needed a new pass for later in the year so win-win.  The refuge is small but still worth seeing.   The cliffs with the crashing waves were pretty, the lighthouse was cool, and the bird activity at the nearby island was fun the watch.  

Now for the fun part. GyPSy told us about an area in Princeville called Queen’s Bath. It was supposed to be a pretty place to see waves crashing on lava rocks. The guide did say the path could be challenging. We arrived at the area to find the parking spaces all taken.  We waited for a space that happened to be in front of a locked gate on the fencing surrounding the forest.   Somehow we were oblivious to the fact the gate was locked for a reason.  Other tourists directed us to the gap in the fence and we proceeded down the path.   Much of the path was full of ankle-breaking roots exposed by heavy rain wash.   On the plus side we got to see a waterfall.   The bath itself was nice to look at but we could tell it would be dangerous to go too far out.   After snapping some pictures we went back up.   Near the cars we finally found the handwritten danger sign tallying the deaths in the area.  

It was time for a drink.

We found Tiki Iniki in an upscale Princeville shopping center. We fell in love immediately.  The retro vibe was all over the menu artwork, the bar was full of interesting artifacts (including some Disney World Polynesian Village Hotel items), and the right mix of exotica and surf music playing.  Since we still had a lot of driving to do Dave stuck to a beer instead of an umbrella drink.  We did go home with a souvenir for the mug collection.

Our next stop was the town of Hanalei and a visit to its famous bay.   One thing Dave enjoyed about traveling around Hawaii was he better understood the artwork and names on Kona Brewing beer labels.   The town of Hanalei was really cute, but a bit crowded.  The beach on the bay was not as impressive as we expected, maybe it was the lighting and slight overcast impacting our impression.   We had lunch at Tahiti Nui, another tiki bar of sorts.   This was Home to Holly’s favorite Mai Tai of the trip.  Dave picked up a fun swim suit at Billabong.

On the way back we needed a bathroom break and stopped in Kapa’a.   We had a very difficult time finding restrooms and ended up buying a beer in a dive bar so we could be “customers”.   We made a shave ice stop at Hee Fat General Store.  JoJo’s was still our favorite. 

There was one more activity we were hoping to participate in before heading back to the Sheraton.   The Koloa Rum Company's tasting room had its last sampling at 4pm.   We walked into the store a minute beforehand and were told we were out of luck.   We lingered for a few minutes and they decided they could squeeze us in.   The free tasting offered several tiny tastings of their different products and offered a snack.  The tour guide told us a bit about the rum and how the Hawaiian language almost disappeared a few decades ago.  We didn't enjoy any of the products enough to fill the luggage, but they were good quality products and the store is worth a visit.

Dinner that night was at Eating House 1849 from Roy Yamaguchi in the nearby shopping center.  The Sheraton was nicely situated to give easy access to the shopping center and restaurants at the other resorts.  Holly really enjoyed the ramen noodle dish.


The next day was our designated beach day.  We took a quick trip in the morning into the town of Koloa to fill up the gas tank and browse a few of the shops.  There aren't too many stores in Koloa, but there's enough to entertain you for about an hour. 

We spent the afternoon on the beach and in the pool.   We talked with a couple that "borrowed" a dog from the local humane society.  It's a great program where tourists can borrow a dog for a few hours and take it on hikes or spend time at the beach.

Dinner tonight was at Red Salt in the Ko'a Kea Resort.   This is where Dave got some bourbon-based drink with the addition of gold flakes.  Pinkies up!    They gave us a nice window table away from the big groups and we were able to enjoy a great meal of mahi over black rice.  Red Salt was a great place to have our final Kauai meal.   

We enjoyed our time on Kauai.   The island had a lot of diverse activities to choose from and we are sure we could find more to do on a return trip.  At this point in the trip we were feeling Maui was more to our liking vs. Kauai.  Friends had really built up our expectations of Kauai to be so tranquil and laid-back.  We seemed to have had that feeling more on Maui.  People also told us we were likely not to enjoy our next destination, Oahu, as much as the others.   We were actually quite surprised at how much we enjoyed Oahu.

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