Adventures on Kauai'i's South Coast
For our last adventure in the Aloha state, we traded under-the-sea opulence for 1980’s Hawai’i meets Caribbean cabana. Covered in sand and sunscreen from our morning surf lesson, we packed up our soft-top, blasted KISS radio, and headed south for Poipu beach.
We were bound for Kiahuna Plantation, a collection of wooden holiday bungalows and units on a beachside resort. By no means is the location secluded or isolated, but in mid-June we did not feel it was overrun with excitable children covered in ice-cream. For the price you pay, we high-fived ourselves for our plebian tastes. Our unit came with its own private balcony, and not one, but two long couches so we didn’t have take turns fully reclined for reading. The resort is covered in a wash of hibiscus flowers, banyan trees and birds of paradise. We were definitely not in London anymore, Toto.
Our plans for the next three days involved a wonderfully repetitive cycle of beaching, reading, eating and sleeping, interrupted here and there with a smattering of sight-seeing. Given the numerous times I had rustled Sam awake for sunrise adventures, I was allowed only one early morning start on this last stop. I was sure to be choosy. So at 6am on our first morning southside, husband grumbling from a lack of caffeine, we set off with our cameras looped around our necks to watch the sunrise over Waimea Canyon, the second largest in the country.
The views were unquestionably worth the early wake-up call (just look at his smile!) We stopped along the way at many lookout points, soaking it all up. The canyon is so vast, it seems juxtaposed with the small size of the island. Then we continued along the twisting, turning road, up past the observatory to Kalalau lookout point, hoping to catch a glimpse of arguably the most famous views of the island. Only one in every three days is there visibility down to the ocean, and alas, it was not our day. Nor for the dispirited fellow tourist we met up there, who had made the trek several mornings in a row, hoping fruitlessly for the snap that no doubt would complete his holiday album.
Stomachs now rumbling, we started the slow drive back down along the canyon to Waimea's village for a late breakfast of pumpkin pie (for me) and grilled cheese (for him). If you’re in this part of town, you ought to pay a visit to the Ishihara Fish Market on the way out. We stocked up on pineapple slaw and chilli prawns for a barbecued dinner later.
The rest of our time down south was spent ambling along the many beaches and rocky cliffs, filling up on local favourites of lilikoi cocktails, nachos and Puka Dogs (who knew pineapple mustard could be so good?!), turtle spotting and swimming with the fishies. The pace of life is satisfyingly slow, where you’ll get FOMO for not reading on the beach.
Kauai’s south coast is the suburban little sister to O’ahu’s Waikiki. Big name hotels dot along the shoreline, with sprawling bars and beach huts flowing onto the sand. Our evenings were spent plonked in between flame torches, watching the sun go down over surfers and turtles waddling ashore.
Although my time in Hawai’i mostly involved wearing a bikini, that failed to deter me from working my way through the local delicacies. Malasalas are the islands’ answer to the mainland’s penchant for doughnuts. Originally of Portuguese origin, they are delightfully fluffy, deep-fried balls of doughy bliss. On our way back to Lihu’e airport, we grabbed a half dozen covered in cinnamon sugar to sweeten our moods upon departure.
Our ten days split between O'ahu and Kauai'i felt like forever, which is always a satisfying feeling. Tanned and rested, we were ready to head back to reality. Mahalo, Hawai’i, for a paradisiacal honeymoon.
With Love, Kate
(P.S Check out our time on the North Shore - probably our favourite stop if we had to choose one - here)