First: A disclaimer about my Hawaiian spelling and pronunciations- they may be insultingly wrong…I did my best.
Ahh, the sound of roosters every morning and bright red dirt on everything we own. Kauai was good to us. We arrived late afternoon to a very relaxed feeling Lihue airport- also where we saw our first of many wild chickens.
After an incredibly pleasant experience picking up our rental Chevy Malibu- we then mapped out our location for lodging at the house we booked on airbnb. We chose to stay up on the north shore of Kauai in Princeville. And after exploring the majority of the rest of the island, the north shore was my favorite. The Hawaiian islands are diverse in their climates and can change from wet, tropical rainforest to desert within just a few miles. The north shore of Kauai is lush, green, and absolutely beautiful.
We got to the house we were staying at in a neighborhood just next door to the St. Regis and the golf course. Not exactly the kind of travel we were expecting considering we are essentially backpackers on a budget, but we got a great deal.
The house was newly built and in the traditional plantation style with 5 bedrooms downstairs, and common space and kitchen upstairs. Robbie, who rented us his master suite in the house was much younger and more British than what we expected. We were immediately curious is to how he was able to have this amazing property and “business”.
Turns out the house was his parents retirement destination and he was so fortunate to be able to live there and help out by renting the rooms. It was really fun staying there for a week, and we got to know Robbie and his friends as well as other travelers coming through. Because of the awesome kitchen, we were able to get groceries- from the local Foodland, and farmers markets close by.
On our first night there, we were invited to dinner at Alexs friend Nicks house. Nick swam with Alex at University of Florida, but was born and raised on Oahu. He is now living on Kauai working for the St. Regis and enjoying learning more about sustainable living and farming on his girlfriend Biancas family homestead. When he invited us to come up to the Kalehewai Ridge property, we were so excited to see how they were living. Nick and Bianca and her father had built one of those kit homes on the property apart from the large main plantation house. This one was shaped like a barn, with a large deck and was really cool on the inside. They cooked us the most amazing Korean style bbq with fresh Kimchi, Bok Choy from their garden, and an introduction to the Hawaiian diet staple, Hanalei Poi. We had a great time catching up and learning about everyday life on Kauai and the farm.
Princeville is located just up the hill from Hanalei Bay- and around the corner from the Napali coastline. We spent an entire day starting at about 930 am hiking up to Hana’kap’i’ai falls. It is about 4 miles in and back so 8 miles total on incredibly rough, muddy, and rocky trails with river crossings and some steep inclines. However, when you reach the falls and get to swim in the cold fresh pool at the bottom it is worth the long difficult hike.
We visited several other local beaches around the north shore, the guys got some surfing in (of course).
We also got to go up to the other side of the island to Koke’e and camp in the hills. Nick and Biancas family friend have an awesome little cabin on some very secluded property where they like to go up and camp. We couldn’t get the keys that particular day we were heading up, so we pitched tents on the property under the carport, and set up camp there. No running water or bathrooms around- so we used the outdoor facilities for everything. It was amazing how much colder and different the climate was up there.
After coming back down from camping, since we had checked out of our first house the two days before, we stayed up at the farm with Nick and Bianca and her family for the night. They were so welcoming and awesome. We cooked dinner in the main house with Biancas mom Lou, a sports massage therapist, and horse trainer, her dad Mark, a builder/roofer and big wave surfer, her 2 sisters, neighbors, sisters boyfriends and neighbor kids. We learned about how they ended up in Kauai from California and acquired and developed the amazing home and property they had. Also, the family had taken a break and decided to leave Hawaii for a couple of years to try life in New Zealand- which is one of our next destinations..
The next day, we got up and headed back to the airport. After a week on Kauai, it was time to head over to Molokai where we are currently with my cousin and her family- husband Ryan, and almost 2 year old Bobby. More on this soon- but Some Kauai photos from Alex first!
With lots of love,
Dana and Alex