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Kaua’i - Part 1

Beach relaxation at the West Coast

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The second island we visited in Hawaii was Kaua’i. We allocated the most time, a total of 10 days, to Kaua’i, because we read it had the most to offer in terms of hiking and activities. Since we had trouble finding affordable accommodation on the island, we elected renting a camper instead, giving us more flexibility and the chance to experience the beautiful nature of Kaua’i by day and night. Our camper was not a modern house on wheels, but an old Nissan Frontier with a small gas stove and camping chairs in the trunk and a fold-out-tent on the rooftop.

For the first three nights, we booked a campground in Koke’e State Park. The state park is located behind the famous Napali Coast of Kaua’i around 1000 meters above sea level. It contains some of the best hikes on the island through the steep, green valleys. The drive up to the park was very scenic. Lookout points along the road provided spectacular views of green rainforest, red soil, roaring waterfalls and bright rainbows.


As we got closer to the campground, a misty rain begun and it got stronger as we approached. After unsuccessfully waiting an hour or two for the rain to stop, we started erecting the tent in the rain. Luckily, the mechanism is extremely simple and it takes only a minute. Then, we cooked dinner while the wind blew plenty of rain on our backs and ate the meal in the car. Throughout the night, the rain poured down and the wind ferociously pulled at the seams of our tent. By the morning, the inside of the tent was quite wet as well, the weather was still the same and we had not slept much. We packed up the wet mess that was our tent and left. As we got farther from the campground, the weather improved and after a while it got sunny and warm. A bit farther down the mountain, we attempted a short hike called the Canyon Trail, but after half an hour of descending down a slippery slope of red mud, we gave up and turned around.


We chose to write off the last two nights of our booking in Koke’e State Park and instead drove to Kekaha Beach at the West Coast. The beach was recommended to us by our car rental company. It’s not an official campground, so there are no facilities, but camping on the beach is allowed. Sam had to learn some new mechanical skills for this, locking the front wheels and deflating the tires. Then, we drove a few kilometers along the beach to a secluded spot under an ironwood tree and put up our tent. By the evening, the tent and everything else had dried in the hot afternoon sun. We spent the next two nights there in fantastic weather, just relaxing. We read books, jumped in the sea from time to time (proper swimming was not an option due to strong currents and large waves) and strolled along the beach. For dinner, we grilled hamburgers and ate them to a bottle of Cabernet, while watching the sunset. It was amazing to fall asleep and wake up right on the beach, with no other people in sight.


After the two nights on the beach, we took another shot at Koke’e State Park. The weather was a bit better, but it still was rainy at the top and the best hikes were terribly muddy. We did end up doing a short hike into the valleys a bit farther down from Koke’e where the weather was good and the trail was sufficiently dry.


Then it was beach time again. This time we drove all the way to the western end of the road, to Polihale State Park. Kaua’i has one main highway which almost circles the island, but one short segment from the West to the North is missing. That’s where the famous Napali Coast is located. We put up our tent at the northernmost part of Polihale Beach, right were the impressive cliffs of the Napali Coast start to raise out of the water. The next two days we did much the same as at Kekaha Beach, except we exchanged the Cabernet for Mai Tai’s and the hamburgers for Thai curry. It was not as empty as Kekaha Beach, but the beach was even more scenic. And because it is an official campground, there were also much appreciated showers and toilets.


Four days at the beach brought back the considerable energy lost that rainy night in Koke’e and we were ready for more active adventures again. The first one was a boat tour to the Napali Coast. We were lucky that the sea was unusually calm that day, so we could really enjoy the fantastic views of Hawaii’s most scenic coastline. We also saw spinner dolphins along the way and on the way back to the harbor, we even got our first short view of a humpback whale.


Posted by samandmarta 06:13 Archived in USA

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